Digital skills are relevant to almost every job today but our clients still give feedback highlighting the need for higher level understanding in candidates. Even in everyday software such as the Microsoft Office suite, true expertise can result in far greater productivity, efficiency in managing a workload and increased collaboration ability. If you want to develop your career digital skills can make you a really valuable employee and if you ignore them, you may end up on the road to redundancy.
Focus on the relevant software
Quality not quantity is the key here. A huge list of software that you are familiar with is less valuable than a short list in which you can demonstrate real expertise. Understand what software competencies are crucial for your profession. Focus on these first and don’t get distracted. Having a good awareness of the software being used in your field, even if not you don’t use it directly, can improve your understanding of the bigger picture which is seen as a great benefit by employers. For example, an understanding of accounting software that generates Excel reports may be useful even if you don’t use the programme yourself but do need to extract data for analysis.
Identifying where to invest your time
Learning software or a new device can take time. Although there are programmes that have stood the test of time, competitors are emerging all the time and by the time you really hone your expertise, there is a chance it will have become redundant. Adobe’s Creative Suite, for example, is fast being caught up by slicker and much cheaper competitor, Affinity. However, this doesn’t mean your Adobe skills are not transferable as many of the tools and processes are remarkably similar. Avoid investing too much time in brand new software that hasn’t been adopted by at least a few big companies. There are so many newcomers to the field there is inevitably going to be some natural selection, and unless you’re a real expert, it’s best to wait until the cream rises to the top!
How to improve your digital skills
There really is no excuse nowadays for being behind in your digital skills. The opportunities to learn are everywhere. LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com) is an excellent place to start. They provide vast amounts of courses from absolute beginner to seasoned expert in a wide array of subjects. Udemy.com also has world class tutoring. Most of us only scrape the surface of what a programme can do and luckily for us there are a plethora of people out there who discuss the possibilities. Necessity is the mother of invention and if you have a tricky problem or just a long-winded repetitive task to perform there may well be someone on the other side of the world who can help.