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Digital Skills Required by the Job Market

This article introduces young people to basic and advanced digital skills, their importance, their need for it, how it can be acquired and improved.

Undoubtedly our lifestyle has changed due to several factors. It was followed by changes in the methods, mechanisms, and tools of performing tasks, as digitization has become the basic framework.  

Our need for digital skills has emerged through several aspects, including crises and emergency circumstances, employment requirements from large and small companies alike, in addition to the digital specializations recently proposed in universities. It also includes the development of academic curricula in most countries, especially developing ones, and adding digital skills and elements in various academic subjects.  

To capture the opportunities provided by digitization, both the public and private sectors began to turn digital skills from optional to mandatory requirements for employees or future applicants. Global experts expect an increase in job opportunities for people with advanced digital skills. 


What are digital skills? 

UNESCO defines digital skills as a set of capabilities to use digital devices, communication applications, and networks to access and manage information, enabling people to create and share digital content, as well as communicate, cooperate and solve problems to achieve effectively and creatively in life, learning, work and social activities in general. 

Although opinions differ on the most important of these skills, there is complete agreement on many of them, including basic and advanced levels, which are supposed to meet the needs of young people that are close to graduating, going into work, or those who have already started.  


The importance of digital skills and the growing demand for them 

Acquiring digital skills will undoubtedly improve your career prospects and give you the strength to persevere in it, as the demand for those who possess these skills increases dramatically, following global developments in digitization, and the increase in demand. The importance of acquiring these skills is evident in some studies and researches. Statistics in the UK showed that 82% of job opportunities require digital skills. In addition, other studies have also proven that the income of people who possess these skills is 25% higher than those who do not and may even reach 40% if the employee possesses advanced skills. Our climb of the career ladder, and our promotions, have become linked to the digital skills we possess. 

Moreover, digital skills can also improve the professional life of people who wish to work independently, and diversify their sources of income to cover the huge expenses of modern life. Acquiring them will allow you to compete in all work contexts, and may aid you in developing your business instead of paying huge sums of money to digital development companies.  

Therefore, you must be aware that there is a point in the not-too-distant future, at which all professions and jobs (except skilled trades and crafts) will depend on having basic digital skills as a minimum, so you have to take bold steps towards learning new digital skills or refining the ones you already have, in order to reap the long-term benefits of success. It all requires proper planning, training, patience, and passion to achieve success. 

The Covid-19 pandemic probably highlighted the extent of our need for these skills on a personal and professional level, however, the next period requires more awareness of the importance of these skills and the necessity of acquiring and developing them constantly. Therefore, you need to be aware of the digital skills that employers are looking for in order for you to be prepared for the job market. 


Digital skills employers seek 

The most important areas of basic digital skills:

  • Basic skills involving the ability to use digital technologies, such as using Internet browsers, how to connect to the Internet, and using some simple digital applications used on the personal and professional level. 
  • Digital communication skills, such as sending emails securely, including attachments, and sharing and interacting on various social media platforms. 
  • Skills of handling, accessing, and searching for information and content, using different search engines, in addition to being aware that not all content posted online is reliable. 
  • Simple operations skills, such as creating accounts for renting or purchasing goods or services offered online, knowledge of different safe payment methods, and filling out required online forms. 
  • Digital security and safety skills, which means keeping your Internet presence and interactions with content safe and legal, it also includes your ability to understand best practices of storing data, sharing it, maintaining its security, and updating passwords. In addition, your ability to take the necessary precautions against viruses and breaches. 

It’s safe to say that these digital skills are ones that you need in your daily professional or personal life, and will be sufficient to some extent for a specific group of workers. On the other hand, people who aspire to work in the digital sectors or sectors that rely entirely or mostly on digitization, in light of the continuous growth of the digital sector, will need to possess more advanced and sophisticated skills, often related to specific areas of digital work. Below are the most important areas of advanced digital skills. 


The most important areas of advanced digital skills:

  • Digital marketing skills: No one can deny that the Internet changed marketing trends, and moved them to higher levels of performance. These skills include the skill of paying per click-through ads, directing search engines, in addition to the skill of marketing via e-mail and many others. 
  • Advanced skills in managing social media: Simple and advanced digital skills related to social media are essential for economic, social, and other projects; Because of its effective role in our daily and professional life. 
  • User experience skills, or what is known as UX, it is simply the art of ensuring that applications, websites, and other digital channels are familiar to the user, and provide an enjoyable experience. 
  • Web analysis skills: It is a set of digital skills that are based on an accurate collection of user data and behavior and understanding it, analyzing all data, and providing accurate and clear reports. It contributes to improving performance and making appropriate decisions. It also has the ability to track the successes and failures of service providers or vendors and evaluate their performance. 
  • Skills of employing artificial intelligence: Artificial intelligence is playing an increasingly important role in modern businesses. The predictions it can make about how people will behave in any given context is key to their acceptance of whatever you are marketing. 

There is a number of other advanced digital skills that will not be discussed now, such as content marketing, data visualization, website and app development, search engine marketing (SEM), video production, and others. 


Acquiring and developing digital skills 

There are many opportunities available to acquire and improve basic and even advanced digital skills. You only need to take the first step, as long as you are convinced of their importance, your urgent need for them, and how easy it is to obtain them. You can achieve that through several methods, the most important of which are: 

  • Attending free online courses: It is one of the best resources that you can benefit from to acquire and improve your basic digital skills, or even some advanced skills. 
  • Reading paper or electronic resources related to digital skills: You will find many of them contain summaries of years of experience. 
  • Taking advantage of exchanging experiences in your family and work environment: There are many people around us who have preceded us to develop their skills and invest them in their lives and work. Take every available opportunity to learn from them. Be proactive, inquiring, and asking, do not expect anyone to offer you knowledge and skills without asking for them. 
  • Adopting measures, even if they were simple, towards employing digital tools in your personal and professional life, and making them a daily habit: This may contribute to increasing your level of digital capabilities over time. The more effort you make to use digital technologies and the internet in your life, the faster your skills will improve. 
  • Improving the ways you communicate with others online: This is essential for reaching what you want effectively, so make sure that you have an email address, or more than an easy-to-use service such as Gmail, not only to use in communication but also to register for many website and application services. Also, get free video conferencing services such as Skype, where you can communicate and collaborate with colleagues, friends, and family in different ways. 
  • Increasing your online presence: This presence through social media platforms, for example, has become an essential element in increasing the level of communication, getting to know more people, building professional relationships with them, and keeping up with the latest news. It is also important for the companies you work for or with. 
  • Passing on your expertise and digital skills to others: After developing and refining your own digital skills, the best way to preserve them and gain a deeper understanding of what you know is to pass them on to others, either through your work environment or through designing your own curriculum and publishing it through various channels. 
  • Continuously using your digital skills: If you don't, you won't be able to keep up with the latest developments in the digital era, and you may even forget how to do basic things. 
  • Constantly following-up on digital developments: It is an essential element in maintaining, improving, and developing your acquired digital skills. 


Finally, if you are looking to start a career, change your job, grow your business, or get a promotion, ignoring the acquisition and improvement of digital skills can have unfortunate results in the long run. Be sure to start now, not a little later. Digital development is accelerating, competition is at its height, and your chances of winning a job are directly proportional to the extent of your basic digital skills as a minimum, so make reaching advanced skills your goal, to guarantee that you are worthy of promotion, or immediately employable when you apply for a job. 

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