Tech

9 Indispensable Digital Skills You Need to Succeed at Work


Do you have the required digital skills to last long in your career? Digital skills increase employability and future-proof your career. With more companies going digital, you need the skills to access information and communicate online. Check out the top digital skills you need to succeed at work.


1. Computer Skills

Close up of laptop, smartphone, and computer mouse

With increasing digitization comes the demand for workers with computer skills. Basic computer skills include operating a computer and smartphone, using a mouse, searching online, and using common tools such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. Many companies require workers to have these skills for work.

Unfortunately, there is still a considerable computer skills gap in the US. A shocking report from the National Skills Coalition found that 38 percent of workers with zero digital skills and 43 percent with limited digital skills are employed in jobs requiring moderate or complex computer skills. Workers resort to delaying tactics or asking for help from colleagues or family members, significantly reducing productivity.

2. Digital Reading

person looking at laptop screen showing a map, text, and graphics

Digital reading is different from reading print. You can still apply the reading strategies you learned in school. However, the digital space exposes you to unique sources such as hypertext, images, videos, web forums, and social networks. Workplaces will increasingly use these digital sources to accomplish tasks more efficiently.

You need advanced reading skills to make sense of the information you receive from different channels. According to the book Learning to Read in a Digital World, you need to develop the following advanced digital reading skills:

  • Search and navigation skills to identify relevant web pages and links.
  • Synthesizing multiple pieces of information in different digital formats.
  • Evaluating information and deciding if they’re credible or not.

3. Communication

man explaining something on a computer screen to three people

Communication is consistently one of the in-demand skills you need to land a job. This is unlikely to change in the near or far future. Every workplace requires you to clearly express your ideas, actively listen, ask relevant questions, and adopt a respectful posture. These skills are just as important when done virtually.

You can never go wrong with constantly improving your online communication skills. Many employers use digital apps such as Slack, Skype, Zoom, and Gmail to communicate. With more jobs opening up in the remote space, communication will remain a vital skill you will always need at work.

4. Digital Problem-Solving

man working on a laptop and external monitor

Can you solve everyday workplace problems using digital technologies? The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) assesses digital problem-solving skills by simulating simple tasks such as asking adults to organize emails in folders or returning a lamp to an online store. To succeed in digital problem-solving, you need basic computer skills, communication skills, and common sense.

5. Content Curation

woman using a laptop and searching for words on Google

The word “curator” brings images of someone looking after museum artifacts. In the virtual world, a content curator collates and selects the best digital content. Beth Kanter’s Content Creation Primer explains that content curators sift through and organize relevant content before sharing it in a meaningful way with others.

Content curation is important if you want to succeed in the digital workplace. For instance, you must be strategic if your boss asks you to research a specific topic. With all the information available online, you need to know what to include and what to leave out. Afterward, you also need to decide which online tool will work best to present your findings.

Popular Social Media Apps and Icons on a Smartphone Screen

Millions of professionals, recruiters, businesses, and potential clients use social media for work. It’s one of the best ways to market yourself online as a job seeker. Without social media skills, you’ll miss out on the benefits these platforms can give you to reach your career goals.

Social media can be a huge distraction. However, there are tips to help you waste less time on social media and use it to your advantage. Choose a platform and explore how it can help you widen your network, learn new skills, and apply for new opportunities.

7. Digital Content Creation

Graphic designer working on a white desk

Knowing how to develop content opens up doors to more jobs. Almost every business needs a digital content creator to reach more customers. Even if your job doesn’t require creating content, you can still use these skills for your social media pages. These skills can even lead to a freelance career as a content creator or influencer.

Digital content creation involves writing and making graphics or videos. You can learn to do these through free videos on YouTube or free short courses on Coursera. Take time to practice, and you’ll soon be able to create appealing and engaging content.

8. Collaboration

Vector image of two men shaking hands coming out of mobile phones

Learning to work with others is an important life skill. At work, digital collaboration skills are a must, whether you work remotely or in person. Even if you put up your own business, knowing how to work with your employees and deal with clients is essential.

Digital collaboration helps teams solve problems and generate new ideas despite differences in time zones or locations. Tools such as Asana, ClickUp, and Trello extend the workplace beyond the physical walls of the office. You and your peers can collaborate on a Google Doc, learn through Zoom, or brainstorm using Canva Whiteboard.

9. Digital Mentoring

woman taking notes while on a video call with another woman

The problem with some workplaces is that they expect employees to hit the ground running without proper onboarding. The lack of training and mentoring sets people up for failure. Thankfully, companies are now recognizing the importance of mentoring.

Digital mentoring involves using technology such as video conferencing, email, and online scheduling tools. Like traditional mentoring, the goal is to establish a trusting relationship between mentor and mentee and help the latter achieve success at work. Mentoring someone online can be difficult, but it’s always fulfilling.

If you plan to last long in your job, you will probably have the opportunity to mentor a peer or your successor. With more jobs moving toward a “work from anywhere” culture, you cannot wait for face-to-face meetings to help someone who needs it. Familiarize yourself with online tools and invest in courses.

Build Digital Skills by Adapting to New Technology

You will always need digital skills at work. Start learning and practicing if you want to become a strong candidate for more jobs. The secret is to adapt to technology and not be afraid to explore and experiment. You can start by picking one skill that you need to improve.

Moreover, don’t despair if you lack digital skills. You can always ask for help from a trusted friend or seek guidance online. Aside from this, free online learning websites can help you build the digital skills you need to succeed at work.

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