Published: 29 October 2020
We live in a digital world. Workplaces have relied on technology like computers and the internet for decades now.
Which means to enter the marketplace, you need to have a certain level of technological awareness and ability.
Luckily, university is the perfect time to learn, develop and grow these skills so you can graduate with everything you need to land that dream job.
So, what are the key digital skills employers are looking for and how can you make sure you have them?
What knowledge you need will, to some extent, is based on the job you want.
A person working in IT must know more about computers than someone in HR.
But there are certain skills that are used no matter what role you take on.
According to UNESCO digital skills can be defined as those that use ‘devices, communication applications and networks to access and manage information.’
That covers a lot of things, so we’ve broken it down further into ‘basic’ and ‘advanced’ knowledge.
You can think of basic skills as things that Millennials and Generation Z will see as second nature.
But some people who haven’t grown up with the internet might struggle to use.
Foundation skills: e.g. Using a browser, connecting to the internet and keeping passwords secure.
Communicating: e.g. emails and social media
Handling information: e.g. using a search engine and knowing not all digital content is reliable
Transactions: e.g. sending money online, buying things from the internet
Problem-solving: e.g. using forums, chats and search to find solutions
Being safe and legal online: e.g. password protections and data storage
Advanced digital skills
Once you understand these abilities, it’s time to look at more complex tasks.
Having a few of the skills below can help you specialise. For example, understanding how to use social media could open the door for a career in marketing.
Think about learning some of these:
- Digital marketing: Pay-per-click, email advertising and banner ads are just some examples of the tools a digital marketer need.
- Social media: This goes beyond knowing how to post on Facebook. Look into management tools, performance measurement, new channel research and paid vs organic posting
- User Experience (UX): This is about how a web page or app is designed to make it easier and more enjoyable for a visitor.
- Web analysis: Tools like Google Analytics and Moz let people running websites understand their users and adapt their content and design to better fit what people are looking for. It’s also a vital tool for helping you to rank a webpage higher up a search engine’s results.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): An incredibly complex and involved field that is about machine learning and automation – essentially giving the basic tasks to computers to complete and freeing up human time for more complex roles.
Whether you’ve always had the internet or you're just learning some of these skills now, digital technology is not only an important part of work and life, it can be a fun, engaging and highly useful tool.
Take the time to research some of the skills we’ve mentioned in this article. There are plenty of resources online for you to learn more.
Start by looking at our Careers website where we advertise free digital skills courses.
The University of Sunderland Library also has a Digital Literacy Skills section for you to explore.