As more and more jobs move online, it is becoming apparent that employers are looking for employees who are fluent in digital literacy. These skills are essential in the digital world we live in today and stand out on a resume. Read on to find out what 5 digital literacy skills employers want to see.
WHAT EXACTLY IS DIGITAL LITERACY AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
The term “digital literacy” first made its appearance in 1997 by Paul Gilster. He defined it as “the ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers.”
While this gives us a snapshot into what digital literacy is, it can be expanded upon to consist of four main points:
- Finding digital information
- Evaluating digital information
- Creating digital information
- Communicating digital information
If you’re fluent in digital literacy you will use these skills while navigating computer programs and online to accomplish workplace-related goals.
Practically speaking this could look like the following:
- Writing and answering emails
- Easily navigating various search engines
- Creating digital documents
- Understanding basic computer software
- Ability to troubleshoot basic computer problems
The Covid-19 pandemic shed light on the growing need for these basic computer skills. Many more jobs are now requiring digital literacy skills as more tasks and meetings are moved online. Apart from that, our modern world is constantly changing and adapting to new and improving technologies. It is important for those entering the workforce to have a basic knowledge of digital literacy.
Let’s take a look at 5 digital literacy skills that employers want to see.
1. RESEARCHING INDEPENDENTLY
The ability to research online is a needed digital skill in the workplace. This means that you need to have the necessary skills to conduct online research and find the appropriate data and conclusions.
The changing nature of technology presents an opportunity for you to show your ability to research and constantly improve your skills. Employers want to see their employees take charge of the limited information they’ve been given and become an online sleuth to complete their tasks. Independent researchers also know how to correctly evaluate information and decide whether or not studies and sources are legitimate.
No matter what field you may be entering, the ability to research independently is crucial to success in the digital age.
2. UNDERSTANDING BASIC TECHNOLOGY
Not only is it important to be able to conduct good research, but it is essential that digital literacy skills branch into understanding basic technology. A basic understanding of computer hardware and software will help you problem-solve without having to waste a lot of time while trying to figure out what to do. Different employers will need different things, but it is still important to have a basic understanding of the following:
- Operating systems (Windows and MacOS)
- Communication platforms (Zoom, Skype)
- Presentation software (PowerPoint)
- Office suites (Microsoft Office, Word)
- Spreadsheets (Excel, Google spreadsheets)
- Cloud-based storage (DropBox, Google Drive)
3. ADAPTATION TO CHANGING TECHNOLOGIES
With the exponential growth of computer technology, there is a great need for workers who can adapt quickly to all these changes. This is an important part of digital literacy since technological changes happen constantly. Computer speed doubles every one and a half to two years, phones constantly evolve, and computer software gains new features making it important for you to adapt quickly to changes.
As you enter the workforce and learn what expectations your job holds, digital literacy will allow you to quickly and efficiently learn new software and technology as it rolls out.
4. COLLABORATION TOOLS
Apps and computer software now help workplace communication and collaboration. These digital tools help employers get information to and from their employees. Navigating these apps and software ensures that communication is happening in a company. These digital literacy skills are especially important for those who do remote work.
5. ABILITY TO TEACH OTHERS ABOUT TECHNOLOGY
Crosstraining and teaching others is a huge part of digital literacy. It is important that you understand the programs you are teaching well enough to explain them to others. You might have to show someone how to navigate different computer programs or set up their collaboration tools. It helps you and your employer when you have the skill sets to train other employees.
HOW TO GET DIGITAL LITERACY SKILLS
How can I prepare my child for a future with digital literacy skills? 21stCentEd has a course in digital literacy that helps give them the tools they need to adapt to the modern workplace. It teaches them how to navigate computer hardware/software and apps, troubleshoot basic computer problems, and even how to write their own computer code. All this and more are available in this course. As our world continues to move more and more work online, digital literacy skills are an essential addition to your child’s education.