What Are Digital Skills & Why Are They Important? (2023)

Believe it or not, digital skills have been necessary for the workplace for decades. For as long as there have been computers, servers, and electronic communications, there has been a need for digitally inclined professionals, like IT specialists and employees who can safely eject a floppy disk.

Digital skills are defined as the ability to find, evaluate, use, share, and create content using digital devices, such as computers and smartphones.

These days, the digital skills required in the workplace are a bit more advanced, and companies expect the vast majority of their employees to have them, not just a select few. Technology is at the center of our lives, and as our dependence on the internet and digital communications increases, our workforce must keep up with the evolving skill demand.

Why Learn Digital Skills?

Digital transformation is on the rise and affecting every industry imaginable.

Farmers are no longer merely sowing seeds and harvesting a crop; they’re using sensors and information technology to automate, monitor, and regulate their systems to become more profitable, efficient, and sustainable.

(Video) What Are Digital Skills (& Why Are They Important)?

Food delivery apps now help restaurants provide their menu options to hungry patrons without them having to leave their homes. This adds a complex layer of responsibilities for restaurant workers who now must manage orders through digital devices, as well as any in-person interactions.

Even real estate, a traditionally face-to-face industry, relies on digital skills. Virtual walk-throughs are available to prospects looking to relocate, and signing documents remotely with services like DocuSign is a quick and convenient way to finalize an agreement.

What Are Digital Skills & Why Are They Important? (1)

The mass shift to online business operations in recent years further accelerated the need for digitally literate workers who could help traditional businesses successfully transition to and grow in an e-commerce world.

Without a firm command of digital skills, there is no way to propel innovation and remain competitive. Employers realize this, so they’re prioritizing candidates who can showcase their digital literacy. By developing better digital skills, employees have a chance to contribute to their communities, future-proof their careers, and explore a wide range of professional opportunities.

(Video) Digital Skills 101: Understanding What They Are and Why You Need Them

Here are some statistics showing the increasing demand for digitally literate professionals:

  • 24% of employers think finding employees with the right skill set will remain their biggest challenge over the next five years.
  • 50% of all employees will need reskilling in the next five years.
  • 85% of Americans believe that digital skills will be important to success in today’s workplace.
  • According to a study published about digital skills for career progress, “the number of jobs requiring digital skills is predicted to increase 12 percent by 2024.”
  • 94% of business leaders expect employees to acquire new skills on the job.

What Skills Are Necessary for Entry-Level Positions?

When you stand out in the modern workplace, you improve your chances of excelling in your career. Whichever career path you choose, keep in mind that there are always new skills to learn and new technologies to master.

For entry-level positions, the bare minimum digital skills required include the ability to carry out tasks, such as:

  • Communicating via email
  • Researching information online
  • Handling sensitive information in virtual ecosystems
  • Safely using cloud-based collaboration tools like Google Drive, DropBox, and Microsoft Teams
  • Creating and managing spreadsheets and online documents
  • Basic device management like connecting to the internet or installing software updates
  • Screen sharing during a video call
  • Using online calendars and efficiently managing your schedule (and possibly others on the team)

What Are the Critical Digital Skills?

Depending on your career trajectory, you may need additional skills that pertain to your specific role. Digital skills in the workplace can include original content creation, e-commerce, network and information security, UX/UI design, digital marketing, social media marketing, and data analytics.

(Video) Why Digital Skills Matter | David Timis | TEDxTârguMureș

Advanced digital skills range from data visualization and basic programming skills to data engineering. While these may be more advanced, you can obtain them with hands-on training and consistent exposure.

McKinsey research has identified foundational skills that will “help citizens thrive in the future of work,” below is a sample of their findings.

What Are Digital Skills & Why Are They Important? (2)

Which Digital Skills Do I Need?

According to Investopedia, “many of the highest-paying jobs are positions that require a significant amount of education, professional training and advanced skills.” If you want to cover your bases as quickly as possible, here is how you can determine which digital skills you should focus on building.

  1. Research the industry or profession you’re curious about and read through job descriptions to understand which skills you already have and which you will need to build.
  2. Understand how you can add value outside of automated systems and AI. As automation becomes the norm, our roles must adapt to the digital environment.
  3. Join LinkedIn groups in your desired industry to keep tabs on trends and what skills professionals are talking about. LinkedIn groups are also a great place to build your network and ask real professionals your burning questions.

How to Develop or Improve Digital Skills

Almost a third of the workforce lacks the foundational digital skills employers are looking for, meaning a large population of professionals need reskilling. According to weforum.org, those who are unemployed have placed a greater emphasis on learning digital skills, including information technology and data science.

(Video) Why You Need Digital Skills For Lifelong Employability | And How To Build Them

Whether you’re looking to sharpen your digital skills or you’re hoping to enter the workforce with a strong resume, you can benefit from further training. Here are some methods for developing digital skills that don’t include attending a traditional four-year program.

Self-Learning: We’ve talked all about how technology is part of our lives, so we must acknowledge how critical it is in helping us learn. There is a vast amount of information on any topic you can think of online, making basic skills easier to acquire. Connecting with professionals in your field is another great way to supplement your self-learning and understand which skills need more refining.

Free Online Courses: For a more structured experience, you may want to explore free online courses that let you learn at your own pace at a slightly deeper level than self-learning. You may not get all of the advanced material you need to land your dream job, but it’s a step towards gaining basic knowledge and essential digital skills.

Certificate Programs: Universities, like UNLV, offer dedicated certificate programs that deliver intense, in-depth instruction to ensure students are equipped with the digital skills and training to get them hired in today’s workforce. Our cybersecurity bootcamp and software development bootcamp offer accelerated courses led by industry experts and help you find the right job for you with professional career coaching. You can even increase your professional visibility with our exclusive hiring partner network.

(Video) Why digital skills matter

The need for digital skills will only increase, so if you need to gain skills fast, there’s no better time to get started than now! Learn more about the UNLV Digital Skills Bootcamps by getting in touch with our admissions advisors. They’ll walk you through your options as you discuss your career goals and educational needs. You don’t have to commit right away. You can test-drive our program for 30 days to get a feel for our learning environment before making up your mind. The future is here. Let’s conquer it together!


Why are digital skills important? ›

Essential digital skills are a step towards learning lots of other new things. They can improve your confidence to use technology for work, learning and daily life. Many jobs today need digital skills. You need them even for jobs that do not ask for high levels of qualifications or experience.

What are digital skills? ›

Digital skills are defined as the ability to find, evaluate, use, share, and create content using digital devices, such as computers and smartphones.

What are the six digital skills? ›

This framework categorises digital skills in six key areas:
  • ICT Proficiency.
  • Information, data and media literacies.
  • Digital creation, problem solving and innovation.
  • Digital communication, collaboration and participation.
  • Digital learning and development.
  • Digital identity and wellbeing.

What are the 8 digital skills? ›

So we should jump into discovering the main 8 employable digital skills for students and businesses.
  • Social Media. ...
  • Search engine marketing (SEM) ...
  • Data analytics. ...
  • Content marketing. ...
  • Email marketing. ...
  • Social selling. ...
  • Video. ...
  • Research and online resources.
Mar 17, 2022

Which digital skills do you really need? ›

What are the basic digital skills?
  • Using a computer. Being able to use a computer is the bare minimum when it comes to digital literacy skills. ...
  • Navigating the internet. ...
  • Staying safe online. ...
  • Communicating online. ...
  • Creating and editing online documents. ...
  • Paying for products and services online.
Jul 25, 2022

What are the 3 main skills of digital literacy? ›

Digital literacy is always evolving as newer technologies become mainstream, therefore it includes, but is not limited to: practical technical skills. collaboration skills. social and cultural skills.

How do you describe digital skills on a resume? ›

The best way to list your software skills is in order of importance and competence. For example, Adobe InDesign (6+ years), JavaScript (3+ years.) Make sure to also avoid clichés or buzzwords, such as “social media skills” or “Microsoft word”.

What are the components of digital skills? ›

There are 22 items that are divided according to the four components in the digital skills instrument (DSI), namely, information literacy, computer and technology literacy, visual literacy, and digital communication/collaboration skills.

How do I start digital learning? ›

  1. Step 1: Choose a Platform to Build Your Online Courses.
  2. Step 2: Validate Your Online Course Idea.
  3. Step 3: Find a Profitable Topic for your Online Course.
  4. Step 4: Your School's Branding and Website.
  5. Step 5: The Tools You Will Need.
  6. Step 6: Connect the Analytics and Know Your Numbers.
  7. Step 7: Sales & Marketing Features.
Aug 11, 2022

Where can I learn digital skills? ›

10 Best Reliable Websites to Learn Digital Skills Free
  • Udemy. For those are new to online learning and don't know where to begin. ...
  • Coursera. ...
  • Khan Academy. ...
  • Akanne Academy. ...
  • Lynda.Com. ...
  • MIT OpenCourseWare. ...
  • EdX. ...
  • Open Culture Online Courses.
Jan 25, 2022

What are the four common digital techniques used? ›

There are four types of digital transformation: business process, business model, domain, and cultural/organizational.

What are the 4 digital skills everyone will need for the future of work? ›

In a business context, you'll need to be able to access appropriate data, work with data, find meaning in the numbers, communicate insights to others, and question the data when necessary.

Which skill will be most required by 2025? ›

The same report predicts that the following skills will be in high demand by 2025:
  • Process Automation.
  • Business development.
  • Digital Transformation.
  • Information Security (including the cybersecurity subset of information security)
  • Software and Application Development (UX/UI, blockchain programming)
  • Internet of Things.
Nov 29, 2022

Which digital skill is best for future? ›

Upskilling is the Future of Education
  • Digital Marketing Certificate.
  • Conversion Rate Optimisation Certificate.
  • Digital Communication Certificate.
  • Growth Marketing Certificate.
  • Growth Strategies Certificate.
  • Social Media Marketing Crash Course.

What is example of digital? ›

Digital technologies are electronic tools, systems, devices and resources that generate, store or process data. Well known examples include social media, online games, multimedia and mobile phones.

What is the most important skill that a digital literate person should have? ›

It requires critical thinking skills, an awareness of the necessary standards of behaviour expected in online environments, and an understanding of the shared social issues created by digital technologies. Or alternatively: digital literacy = digital tool knowledge + critical thinking + social engagement.

What is the difference between digital skills and digital literacy? ›

Digital literacy focuses more on understanding, while digital skills focus on knowing. For example, digital teaching skills include exploring different applications, downloading images, and using different methodologies to use these applications and images.

Can you give some examples of digital skills used creatively? ›

Digital creativity is about using digital tools and technologies to explore creative ideas, apply different approaches, and find new ways of displaying your work and research. This could be taking a photo, recording a video or doing something fancy in a presentation.

How do you measure digital skills? ›

Most studies measure digital skills by using large-scale surveys in which respondents must estimate their own skill levels. Self-reports have significant validity problems (Merritt, Smith, & Renzo, 2005). Ideally, the levels of digital skills should be derived from actions performed online.

What is digital learning in simple words? ›

Digital Learning is "learning facilitated by technology that gives students some element of control over time, place, path and/or pace."[ 1] ipad_learning. Time: Learning is no longer restricted to the school day or the school year.

What is digital learning examples? ›

This means that online courses, conducting internet research, even watching online videos, or using digital tools and devices face-to-face with their teacher in a traditional classroom are all considered digital learning.

Why should we learn digital learning? ›

In digital education, students can easily access recorded lectures and use them as a reference. This helps them understand the subject better and speed up the entire learning process. It is also very convenient to access additional reading materials and other learning sources.

What is the easiest digital skill to learn? ›

If that sounds appealing to you, then let's talk about which digital skills are in demand that you can easily learn online, the jobs (and salaries) they prepare you for, and where you can learn many of these skills for FREE.
1. Web and App Development and Programming
  • JavaScript.
  • PHP.
  • SQL.
  • CSS.
  • HTML.
  • Python.

What skill can I learn online for free? ›

Explore Free Online Courses
  • Data Science & Business Analytics. FREE. Business Analytics with Excel. 4.6405K Learners4 hrs. ...
  • Cyber Security. FREE. Ethical Hacking for Beginners. 4.6160.5K Learners3 hrs. ...
  • AI & Machine Learning. FREE. Machine Learning. 4.5110K Learners6 hrs. ...
  • Software Development. FREE. Getting Python Interview Ready.

What are 3 examples of digital technology? ›

Simple Examples of Digital Technology
  • Video technologies for working from home.
  • GPS, What3Words and Location.
  • 5G and Virtual Reality.
  • Smart homes.
  • Cloud and SaaS.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Deep fake and AI.
  • Bitcoin and blockchain.

What are the 3 most popular forms of digital communication? ›

Of all the various different forms of digital communication, the three that are most popular are generally considered to be, in no particular order: texts, social media, and video chat.

What are the three 3 main components of digital transformation? ›

The three major building blocks with which companies are digitally transforming customer experience are customer understanding, top-line growth and customer touch points.
  • Customer Understanding. ...
  • Top-Line Growth. ...
  • Customer Touch Points. ...
  • Process Digitization. ...
  • Worker Enablement. ...
  • Performance Management.

How can I improve my digital work? ›

7 Ways to Make the Digital Workplace Even Better
  1. Identify and deploy tools that can help you improve. ...
  2. Promote a culture of learning. ...
  3. Create an employee training plan. ...
  4. Involve employees in the adoption process. ...
  5. Hire and retain a digitally savvy workforce. ...
  6. Embrace new work models.
Nov 1, 2021

What is the 21st century digital skill? ›

Popular European frameworks are that of 21st century skills, introduced by the OECD, which refers to digital literacy, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, collaborating and communicating (OECD, 2013).

Why digital skills are important in education? ›

Digital literacy skills allow you to find, use & create info online in a productive & useful way. Having an understanding about digital literacy means you're able to use technology safely and it helps you avoid its dangers.

Why are digital skills important for youth? ›

Digital technology can help enhance education, reduce youth unemployment, and promote socioeconomic development, but for youth to benefit from these opportunities, all young people must be equipped with a range of technological skills and have affordable access to connectivity.

Why is digital skills important for employability? ›

Findings highlighted that digital skills can be a interpreter of employnment, the level of digital skills necessary to achieve these jobs is very high as one might imagine. In the rising economies perspective, digital skills are linked with high status jobs mainly combine with other reasons such as higher education.

Why digital skills are important in 21st century? ›

A company's capacity to adapt stands and falls with the ability of its employees to help actively and creatively shape its digital transformation. This is where the process of systematically establishing and improving digital skills plays a key role.


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