Fernando Thompson
Expert Contributor

The Importance of Developing Digital Skills in the Future

By Fernando Thompson | Tue, 11/22/2022 - 09:00

Today, it would be very difficult to imagine a world of work without digital platforms. Companies and institutions around the world are clear that, in order to survive and advance, they must put digital transformation at the center of their business strategy. This has the consequence that companies and institutions around the world require a new profile for members in their work teams, where in addition to having a specialty in certain areas of knowledge, they must have a strong base of digital skills. The pandemic brought with it great changes in the world of work and we will continue to see even more radical changes, where the use of digital platforms and artificial intelligence will become the rule. 

Thinking about that future, it is very important that we all develop or strengthen our digital skills, regardless of whether we are in college, our first year of work or if we already have more than 20 years of experience and are in management positions. In summary, companies will need people who have abilities and skills ranging from creativity and critical thinking to empathy, abstraction and mathematical reasoning, the ability to listen, express themselves correctly with a wide lexicon, be able to present ideas in writing in a clear and orderly way, actively use their brain, reading, learning, have the ability to self-criticize, develop negotiation skills, service orientation, emotional intelligence, the ability to analyze and solve problems, and knowing how to work in a team.

Here is a more detailed look at some of these skills: 

Administrating information: If anything characterizes today's world of work, it is the large amount of information that is generated as part of our work. Continuously generating Power Point presentations, Word documents and Excel files is just a part of the daily dynamics of all of us, and that's not counting the administration systems or digital platforms we use. Under this scenario, it is very important that you have the skills to manage and organize all this information, get the most out of it and, above all, use it in your decision-making processes. It might seem trivial, but very few people have the right skills to manage all the information they use in their day to day.

Digital communication: The pandemic brought with it an increase in the use of videoconferencing platforms and collaborative tools for teamwork. The great challenge we face is to make proper use of all these platforms, to communicate, interact and collaborate efficiently with digital platforms. I am not talking about being able to make a video call with Zoom or share a presentation, but about using the full potential that digital tools offer.

Digital leadership: Even as many organizations are returning to their workplaces, in their offices and similarly in schools, the organizational culture will have changed and it will continue to be necessary to manage and coordinate teams remotely. This "new" way of working represents a great challenge for everyone and we must develop skills to work and meet goals, despite the distance, especially by using collaboration platforms to our advantage. Organizations could reduce more than 30 percent of the hours spent on operational work if we took advantage of the full potential offered by Microsoft 365 or Google's G-Suite. The great challenge is how to use working time on activities that generate the greatest value. No matter what career you have studied or are studying, it is always vital that you remain up to date on the digital tools of your profession or trade and that you know how to use them.

Continuous learning: The ecosystem of the digital world is so extensive and dynamic that it is really difficult to keep up with all the changes, updates and new tools that appear every day. If you really want to succeed, you must integrate learning into your weekly process, spending time improving your digital skills, updating yourself and finding new ways to improve your work processes using technology. Unfortunately you will never be able to say that you know everything, but take advantage of blogs, learning modules and videos; in fact, a server makes part of these resources available to you for free on the internet at soyfernando.com

Learn to program: There is a false belief that only people in the information technology area should learn to program, and this is totally far from reality. I know physicists, mathematicians, actuaries and accountants who are highly skilled in programming. To get the most out of digital platforms and cloud services, it is important to exploit the APIs or interfaces and services they offer, and this is only possible if you have programming skills. You'd be surprised at how much you can do with a few lines of code and tools that you surely use, such as Word or Excel. Artificial intelligence will have a greater relevance in the business world in the next 10 years, but do not expect it to be a black box or a magic crystal ball: you will have to code to take the first steps.

We can hardly talk about the  world of work in the medium term without  the digital world. Regardless of your area of ​​knowledge, strengthening your digital skills will always make you stand out from many other profiles.

If you don't want to be relegated or marginalized from business opportunities or good job opportunities, you will have to develop your digital skills and get ahead to be prepared and earn a decent living in a future full of exponential changes.

Photo by:   Fernando Thompson