The world is rapidly changing with an ever-changing digital skillset that needs honing. It’s only imminent that we have to sharpen our digital skills as well to remain productive and competitive in the modern age.
I believe that improving your digital skills is a vital achievement for you this year. With the rapid change in technology, you cannot be stagnant in the level of digital skills you have reached so far.
In this post, I will write about digital skills you should have to at least enhance your productivity. An important fact to keep in mind is that there is no ceiling to how too many digital skills one can acquire.
But first, let me try to define it. Digital skills is basically a collection of tech tools and ‘know-hows’ you have at the moment that is helping you to do your work efficiently and productively. It can range from the most basics of computer literacy to be as advanced as working on your own artificial intelligence project. If you know how to send an email, that’s one down. Even using social media is a digital skill.
Now that we have defined digital skills, let us look at the types that would be worth our time and efforts. Just like any other skill, honing a new one requires time, effort, and some financial investments where necessary. I’ll try to keep to the simple ones that are necessary, at least in this COVID 19 era.
Nowadays, you just have to know how to do video conferencing. I worked in IT and I have seen the struggle people who don’t have this skill faced when trying to attend that Zoom meeting, especially when having to call the IT helpdesk to assist when the meeting is starting in 15 minutes. Three of the most popular video conferencing platform at the moment (subject to change) are Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. Despite being different platforms, steps to use them are the same; 1. create an account, 2. schedule/accept a meeting, 3. attend the meeting. I am a huge fan of zoom so I will be recommending them as your go-to video conferencing platform. More details on how to use zoom here: https://explore.zoom.us/resources.
As part of the new normal, online learning has grown in popularity as people turn to the internet to attend classes they should have attended in person. But online learning is a thing, not a skill. I agree, but you do need a combination of certain ‘things’ (aka skills) to do in order to be successful in your online learning journey.
You have to know how to browse the internet — especially the learning management systems, you have to choose the best online learning platforms to learn from, and you have to know how to effectively attend your online lessons.
Online learning providers are numerous, but I recommend two of my favorites; 1. Skillshare, a platform I would recommend you to start with if you want to know just about any particular real-world skills such as photography, cooking, website development, etc. 2. edX if you want to consume content from Ivy League universities like Havard, MIT, Berkeley. edX is the platform you want to go to attend university-structured online learning. In a rapidly changing world, self-improvements with the help of online learning are vital.
Website Design & Development
This is a digital skill that you can learn online and as useful as it seems, it is required if you have a business or want to market your professional self online. Assuming you are a business owner (who wants to be an employee forever right?), your business definitely needs an online presence in the form of a website.
It helps your clients find you and is a powerful marketing tool to have. As a professional self, and especially if you are a freelancer, you can have a personal website as well alongside your LinkedIn profile, where you can blog or basically market/promote yourself. Nowadays, whenever people want to find about you or your business, they turn to google which they assume would bring up your website, and if you don’t have any, well, I can say it’s a bit of a bummer.
Trust me, having basic website design and development skills will be a necessary skill to have. Just like knowing how to email, type documents, etc, at least in the near future.
Online Shopping & Shipping
Alright, why is this even a digital skill? This is the simplest of all digital skills anyone could have and a must-have if you are living in a country where you don’t have any of the major online stores like Amazon, Apple, and Target.
Let say you are living in the Solomon Islands or one of the small island states in the Pacific, but you just have to buy things online. The sad news is, it’s impossible — of course, unless you have the digital skill of shopping online and shipping. Now, you live in the Solomon Islands, and to shop online, you must at least have a debit card with either Bank South Pacific, ANZ Bank, or Bred Bank, which allows you to purchase things online.
You just purchased your item and Amazon asked you where you want them to ship your package to, and to your dismay, they don’t ship to the Solomon Islands. As a digitally skilled shopper, another trick up your sleeve is to use a virtual physical address with freight forwarding companies like Shipito, a US-based freight forwarder that can provide you with a virtual address for your online shopping where your package can be sent to, and forwarded to you.
These are applications that do the heavy lifting of some of your demanding tasks for you, so that can focus on doing what matters most to you in your work. Everyone wants to be productive with the limited time and resources they have in order to produce an optimal amount of desirable work output.
So basically, productivity means getting more work done with effective use of limited time and resources — productivity apps played a huge role in this. Productivity apps are numerous and it can be a note-taking app like Notion, a time tracking app like Toggl Track, a project management app like ClickUp, and most importantly, a collaboration app like Slack.
You must figure out how to use these apps but the good thing is these apps are designed with well thought out user interface and user experience in mind, as well as documentation and free video tutorials on YouTube.
Wrapping it up — improving your digital skills is a plus. It basically helps you keep up and most importantly will help leverage your workflow as you have equipped yourself with valuable skills and tools to help you with your work. Above are the digital skills you need to have in order to survive at least in the digital economy.