What are digital skills?
According to UNESCO, Digital skills are defined as a range of abilities to use digital devices, communication applications, and networks to access and manage information.
With digital skills, people are able to create and share contents in digital form in order to exchange information and collaborate to solve problems.
From solving the problems through the use of digital skills, people improve their creativity, become more effective and have a great sense of self fulfilment in their lives, learning, skill, work, social activities and relationships.
What are the levels of digital skills?
There are two broad levels of digital skills and it is important you decide on which level you want to take your digital skills to.
The two levels of digital skills are:
1. Entry level digital skills
The Entry-level digital skills is digital skills abilities at the basic functional skills level. The skills equip you with knowledge to make basic use of digital devices and online applications that are widely considered a critical component of a new set of common and basic skills in this current digital era to complement your traditional reading, writing, and numeracy skills.
2.Advanced level digital skills
This is a level with digital skills abilities that is above the entry level.
At the advanced digital skills level , you are at the higher-level abilities that allow users to make use of digital technologies in empowering and transformative ways such as professions in ICT.
Major digital transformations such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, big data analytics, change skills requirements and, in turn, impact capacity building and skills development for this new era digital economy.
Just like the entry level digital skills, to make your digital skills relevant to the society, digital skills must complement other abilities and for the advanced level, you must have strong literacy and numeracy skills, critical and innovative thinking, complex problem solving,ability to distrupt in innovative ways, collaborate with others, and non-destructive socio-emotional skills.
What are basic digital skills?
At the entry level basic digital skills, there are 5 essential foundation digital skills you must possess. These are
1)Ability to use devices and handle information. For example, ability to use a browser, connecting to the internet
2)Ability to create and edit digital content.
3)Ability to communicate by exchanginginformation in digital form.For example, ability to send emails securely, upload attachments,participate in the social media etc
4)Ability to execute transaction.For example, can make or recieve electronic transfer payments.
5)Ability to conduct your activity in a safe and responsibile manner. For example, ability to create and secure passwords, avoid creating and sharing contents that are fake news, hateful, inciting etc.
What are digital tools?
Digital tools are software programs, mobile applications, websites or online resources that can make tasks easier to complete with the use of digital skills.
With digital skills even at the basic level, you can use your browsers and search engines on your devices connected to the internet to access a lot of information about digital tools from anywhere in the world for as long as you have the digital skills, digital tools and internet.
What are digital skills you need to state on your CV?
These days,employers now conduct a significant amount of their activities in the digital space. So an employer looks out for digital skills featuring on your CV.
To increase your chances, the following digital skills you have acquired should be stated on your CV:
Smart devices usage.
In this digital age,you must be able to use touch-interactive smart devices that are generally connected to other devices or networks wirelessly using protocols such as GSM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 5G, etc. and can operate to some extent interactively and autonomously.
Search Engine Optimization:
You must know how your digital skills and activities create digital footprints that increase the chances of your employer’s business coming up and ranking high during searches for businesses in that industry.
Programming and Web Development.
Imagine a prospective employer seeing on your CV that you can develop and maintain websites, mobile apps etc.
Although this used to be more under advanced level digital skills but things are changing very fast these days now that even someone with basic digital skills abilities can learn and understand programming and how such knowledge can be used for web development.
If an employer sees you have an advanced knowledge of programming and web development, you are regarded even more valuable.
Social Media Management Systems.
The social media world has come to stay and still growing as access to internet continue to increase.
The use of the popular social media platforms for the benefit of the employer is becoming a critical area value is now being created sometimes even for free.
When you have the skill and proven experience to use the social media to make more sales for your employer,it shores up how you are perceived by the employer.
Your digital skills ability to remain security conscious and organize your activities without leaving room for security breaches that lead to a negative effect on your employer is highly regarded.
If you have the skill and proven experience, let it show on your CV.
Why are digital skills important?
It raises your chance of being hired or landing a lucrative job if you work as a freelancer.
It gives you a pathway and opportunity to use your digital skills to create disruptions that create future jobs.
Digital Skills enable businesses to run 24-hr round the clock January to December businesses.
With digital skills, individuals, businesses and even governments can interact and collaborate to solve problems.
Businesses can use it to get more customers, build relationships and handle before , during and after sales enquiries using different digital channels.
Physical information storage and archival systems is now being replaced with safe and secured large scale information management system which is the bedrock of most businesses now.
From the financial services sector to health to ecommerce to aviation, digital skills have proven to be very necessary for their smooth running.
What can I Do With Digital Skills?
You should have the digital skills ability that is relevant and will enable you to navigate, in an efficient manner, the current and future digital technologies.
Your current digital skills should be able to help you update your knowledge quickly enough and to collaborate with others to get a deeper understanding of even existing digital resources and preempt future trends.
2. Search Skills
You must know how to use search engines to gain a deeper understanding of whatever you are working on. Even though Google is the largest search engine platform but it is not the only one.
There are others you should use to search just in case they turn up something currently omitted on Google.com. These other search engines are:
3. Evaluating The Credibility of Info Sources
You must posses the ability to identity and distinguish a reputable website from a dishonest, seditious, hate-mongering , pedophyliic, biased, dangerous or outdated website as your judgement on this count henceforth.
4. Critical Thinking and Creativity
At the advanced level, you must have the ability to query current systems and think critically about how these solutions emerged, their sources and the digital tools that required to deliver on tasks through these current systems.
For example, can they be better, cheaper, faster, safer and more adopted across the broad spectrum of the society?
5. Data handling and processing
So much data can be obtained and processed into information with your digital skills.
Use of applications like MS Excel, for example, can give you a clearer picture of past, current and future trends and you can build up future models and future jobs with clear options for problem solving and opportunities to make money.
5. Communication Using Digital Skills
Your digital skills is complemented by your basic literacy skills so your communication should not misrepresent what it is intended for and should meet the standards set by the digital platform.
For example, in your communication ,you are required to be sensitive to the varying cultural, religious and historical contexts of the other users of the platform to avoid destructive interactions and cyberbullying.
6. Cyber security.
A lot can be interpreted about your real life personality just by collating and interpreting your digital imprints and online activities. So as you deploy your digital skills, do not toy with keeping vital information safe and secure.
There are grave unintended consequences to you and others when you are careless. In some instances, a careless breach can lead to serious financial loses, political subterfuge, social unrests and death.
7 Coding Skills
If you have the digital skills to write programming codes, develop mobile applications or work in HTML, you will have a significant edge over other people when it comes to making yourself relevant digitally in any environment you find yourself.
8.Well grounded in use of Chat and Video Platforms
With the growing popularity of work from home systems, your ability to use your digital skills to efficiently navigate platforms for virtual work place, realtime video conferencing and chat platforms is absolutely required.
Platforms like Google Meet, Zoom, Skype and Google Hangout are not only used for businesses, these tools now have features such as external link that enable you gain access to experts from anywhere in the world, take a virtual trip and even receive telemedicine services.
So whatever application you currently use, ensure you have a deeper understanding of how to use it.
How do you develop digital skills?
On individual level, read up on every digital skill you have. Trends change quickly in the digital world so when you read regularly, you are likely to adjust quicker when trends change and can in some cases, have the first-mover advantage ahead of other who embrace the technology later.
This is vital if you desire to gain new insights especially from industry leaders and experts in that subject.
Stamina: Practice your skills so you don’t rusty and if you currently use your digital skills for something creative and engaging, stay long enough until you get great results.
Collaboration has gone digital and it is not done only by individuals. Businesses collaborate too.
What Can Businesses Do To gain digital skills?
Think about basic skills that all of your employees must have. For example, if their business is in the agricultural sector, what kind of digital skills, apart from the general digital skills(e.g digital skills for weather monitoring, pest control etc), are peculiar to that industry and having it will improve their profits
Reflect on how these basic skills tie in with your organisational goals and objectives. For example, are these skills going to contribute to our bottomline like profits, customer satisfaction etc
Identity and list existing skills gap by evaluating the job roles in your workforce.
Bring in the digital skills to your work force competences. This you can achieve by approving and facilitating learning, training and up-skilling of your staff.
How To Get Expert Training On Digital Skills For Free
@CSEHng cordially invites you to her Digital Skills and Jobs of the Future webinar where you would meet experts thriving in top fastest-growing IT jobs in the world and get valuable insights into Global Opportunities in Digital Economies and more
The free webinar holds on Saturday, October 31st, 2020.
Time: 3:00pm – 5:00pm (WAT)
This is an opportunity to be trained on Digital skills.