There has been much talk in recent times about a digital skills gap and the damage that this could cause to the economy. Many businesses and jobs now rely on a much higher level of digital know-how than they did previously, putting greater pressure on educational institutions to deliver the required skills.
For individuals looking for employment or keen to start their own business, this can be particularly worrying. Is it possible to succeed in the modern world of business without a strong knowledge of digital technologies? The answer ultimately depends on the kind of work you want to do and what industry it resides in, but fortunately there is hope for individuals lacking in top-level digital skills.
Acquire the skills you don’t have
If there are particular digital skills you are lacking that you feel would be beneficial to your chosen career, then don’t despair. There are a huge number of opportunities for you to acquire these skills, no matter your current level of knowledge.
One of the options available to you would be to sign-up to an educational course. This could be relatively broad such as a degree in computing, or something more specific like a short course in 3D modelling or web design. Many local libraries may even offer free lessons in some of the more basic digital skillsets.
If you are worried about the financial burden of acquiring new skills, then there is an alternative. Many software packages are available free-of-charge online and represent a great way for you to get acquainted with digital tools in your own time. Often these programs will also come with extensive help documents or tutorials to assist new users. It’s also worth checking YouTube to see if there are videos teaching digital skills. Although self-learning digital skills like this may take slightly longer, it does give you more freedom.
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Outsourcing the skills you don’t have
It is impossible for one person to have an expert knowledge of all the digital tools that are currently available, so try not to be overly worried if you are lacking skills in a particular area. For business owners, the best option to take in this situation is to think of the most cost effective ways for you to fill these skills gaps.
The first step is to invest time and resources into a robust hiring programme. Make sure that your members of staff have the right skillsets to succeed and invest in training programmes in order to get existing employees up to speed.
Another option that is proving increasingly popular amongst businesses is outsourcing processes to external companies that specialise in particular digital skills. These digital agencies are based in all manner of fields, from business website hosting – wizzhosting.co.uk – to digital marketing – Koozai.
One of the benefits of outsourcing skills in this manner is that it could take months to create an in-house team capable of producing similar results, which means that outsourcing digital skills can sometimes prove a much more cost-effective option.
Focus on the skills that you do have
Even if you do not have as many digital skills as you would like, it is important not to dwell on this too much. Instead, try to focus on the skills that you do have and which will still be important to your business career.
Just because we live in a world where digital processes have become hugely important, doesn’t mean that more traditional soft skills aren’t just as valuable. You may have a fantastic ability to solve problems, think creatively, communicate with others, manage your time and work as part of a team. In many ways, these skills are much more important than simply being able to use Photoshop. Many of the skills that you have acquired throughout your life will not necessarily be easily taught to others either, whereas your digital skills gap could be closed through additional training.
The answer to whether it is possible to succeed in business without a high level of digital literacy is both yes and no. No, you probably won’t be able to get by in the modern world of business if you’re incapable of using a web browser, sending an email or using social media in some form. However, for many people, these skills are fast becoming second nature. Plus, there are now entire companies set up for the sole purpose of making digital tools available to those without specialist knowledge. Therefore, if you have a great idea and impressive work ethic, you can succeed in the modern world of business even if your digital skills are not the best.
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