Earlier this year, a report authored by UK Lords entitled "Make or Break: The UK’s Digital Future" warned that digital skills will either help Great Britain reach new levels of prosperity or bring the country to the doldrums of mediocrity. That’s how important digital skills have become for today’s and tomorrow’s generations.
See Also: Digital Skills are Key to Career Success
In many Western countries, there is an apparent digital skills gap. In the United States, for instance, there are 200 million workers that are a part of the digital workforce, but only about 10 percent rate themselves very highly in regards to proficiency.
A website called Digital Skills Gap highlights the importance of maintaining such skills and how the lack thereof is creating a productivity crisis. In fact, according to the website, labor productivity growth has slowed to its lowest level not seen since prior to the digital revolution. Employers are realizing that their workforces are failing to keep up with the set of expertise needed to compete in the current globalized economy.
Over the past couple of years, there has been a strong public relations campaign urging everyone, both young and old, to start learning new digital skills that will be crucial to market one’s human capital. Indeed, it takes a lot more than just knowing Microsoft Office or social media to maintain one’s competitiveness.
Here are four ways to start building your digital skills for tomorrow:
1. Take Advantage of Free Academies
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars or put yourself into debt in order to learn new digital skills. From understanding how to code to learning how to create a mobile app, there are numerous free resources and online academies that can educate you and help grow your digital skills. Here are a few websites that you can start taking advantage of today:
2. Start Reading the 'For Dummies' Series of Books
Since 1991, when the first "DOS For Dummies" book was released, the "For Dummies" series of books have been immensely popular. For more than two decades, the company has published everything from personal finance to dog training, from learning to speak Mandarin to understanding C++. Browse through its large collection and find out what you want to learn.
Here are a few recommendations when it comes to digital skills:
3. Sign up for Part-Time Courses at Schools
Unfortunately, not everyone can learn independently and on their own. For many people, it’s best to learn in a classroom setting with an instructor. If you fall into this category then look for courses in your area that teach you about social media, mobile technology and computer programming. You can always sign up for part-time courses at colleges or universities in your area.
Or, if you lack the time, then you can take advantage of correspondence courses. The school will send you materials, instructional audio and video recordings and schedule tests in your vicinity.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
Once you have attained rudimentary skills, you must practice on a regular basis. Remember, you can lose a skill if you never use it. Whether it’s just for fun or a paid freelance assignment, you should always apply your newly found knowledge, skills and expertise. You can always master this digital acumen and learn more skills by actually putting them into practice. It’s worthless if you refrain from putting everything you have learned into action.
Over in Hong Kong, children learn how to code after school. This puts us to shame. Instead of going home and playing video games, elementary aged children are learning a complex language like Java, C++ and HTML. The digital industry is fast-moving and is constantly evolving. You don’t want to be left behind in your career. No matter what field of study or work you are in, it’s always important to have in-demand skills, and this happens to be tech-related right now.