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Essential Digital Skills
Digital Skills Essential For University Students Across The Globe
Analytical skills? Check.
Communication Skills? Check.
Digital Skills? Hmm.
Do you consider digital skills necessary? Everyone else does. Other than the creators of fantasy novels and sci-fi movies, no one would have predicted fifty years ago how our lifestyles today would revolve around hand-held devices and the digital world. Technology has become so integrated in everyday life that we can hardly remember what the world looked like before our multi-device, constant-connectivity fantasy future became today's reality.
It’s expected that technology will become even more intuitive and ingrained in our daily life, and this leads to one important conclusion: the better equipped we are to handle this technological shift, the better our adjustment to it. Some digital skills are no-brainers; for example, today's 5- and 6-year-old children know how to type and surf the web, a skill that adults might require a bit of studying and effort to fully master.
Digital skills are part and parcel of higher education, and an important part of life for university students. Learning these key aspects of the 21st-century technology that surrounds us can only benefit students in their pursuit of knowledge.
1. Up in the Cloud
For anyone who has frantically tried to rewrite a paper at the last minute because it wasn't properly saved the first time around, it is immediately obvious how frustrating it is to lose valuable files.
Knowing how to choose, use and benefit from a Cloud service can save you from many future problems. Given that we create and use online content on a daily basis, from images to audio files to apps and personal details, backing it up all in the Cloud is a skill you should (already) have.
2. Image Editing
You might think a lawyer would never have to use an image editing software, but you can’t know this for sure, can you?
Better be safe than sorry, and learn the basics of image editing. Even free editing software programs generally have the features of more advanced software, so practicing on freeware will allow you to know how to decently edit images should such a need ever arise.
3. Microsoft Office
Microsoft’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint are essential processing tools for virtually any profession.
Creating presentations and spreadsheets are skills that many employees will assume you already have, so knowing your way around these applications will save you time and effort and allow you to come across as a competent professional, no matter the field. If you haven’t then you can start learning basic keyboarding using Ultimate Typing software.
Google and other open-source office suites are becoming widely used in education and the corporate world, and being familiar with these tools can only further improve your overall digital literacy level.
We're not proposing anything too advanced, so don’t panic!
You don't have to be able to code the applications you use, but in many cases a bit of knowledge helps you use those applications better. According to recent trends, programming will soon become an indispensable literacy skill.
As the ubiquity of the web and computers keeps increasing at an ever-accelerated pace, we can only speculate on whether ten years from now college graduates will have to be aware of basic to intermediate coding skills, and if classes in coding will be offered to secondary school students along with other keyboarding essentials.
For now, you can make do by learning the basics of HTML5, the markup language used for creating and presenting online content.
The HR manager interviewing you next Monday will Google you, and so will your new-date-turned-lover. Another very essential digital skill is managing your online image. Branding is no longer a corporate concern, because people can also create, manage and promote their personal brand online.
Whether you are a chef, an engineer, or a blogger, people will assess, judge and build an impression based on your online brand - or lack thereof.
That’s why it’s important to own your personal website or portfolio, establish a professional LinkedIn account, and keep up a robust social media presence, predominantly on Twitter and Facebook. It's also important to learn how to hide or delete any content that might harm your reputation.
The web offers a sneak peek as to who you are, so make sure you’re wearing your best!
6. Banking apps
Online banking is gradually becoming mainstream. People that used to be skeptical about the safety of online transactions are now more likely to purchase goods and services online, check their bank accounts and transfer money or pay bills.
The convenience, security and sheer effectiveness of online banking requires basic awareness of how online banking apps and other software work. Being aware of basic online banking functions ensures your finance is handled effectively and securely.
7. Creating and Curating Content
From creating infographics or spreadsheets and editing or cutting videos, online content creation covers a wide range of applications, and its benefits are innumerable.
But apart from simply creating online content (visual, audio, audiovisual), content curation is emerging as another essential digital literacy skill in the 21st century. The ability to collect, assess and create meaningful and worthwhile collections of various content formats is expected to become even more pronounced in the years to come.
While digital natives, people who were born in the digital age, will have no trouble obtaining digital literacy, for the rest of us, the digital immigrants, a more conscious effort is needed to become competent digital citizens, capable of coping with and making the most out of our daily, web-centric practices.