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Published on March 30, 2021

6 Reasons Why Taking Up Digital Skills And Knowledge Is Crucial

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6 Reasons Why Taking Up Digital Skills And Knowledge Is Crucial

Digital technology has forever transformed every aspect of modern life and will continue to do so. No matter our age or disposition, we may as well admit that we’ll need to acquire new digital skills for the rest of our lives.

It may be that part of our ambivalence toward technology stems from the fact that many of us have to learn digital skills on top of staying current in our chosen fields. Whenever frustration grows to a boiling point, it’s often because it feels as if technology is getting in the way of what we want to accomplish.

When it seems like technology is slowing things down where it promised to speed them up, it’s time to step back and ask, “is the problem with the tech or with me?”

Be open to the possibility that the problem could be on either side or perhaps a bit of both. If you’ve resisted developing new tech skills, here are six reasons why you need to overcome your reluctance so you can thrive in an evolving workplace.

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1. A Dirty Digital Footprint Could Have Consequences

Over the last several years, employers have demonstrated that they’re willing to discipline or even terminate employees who can’t manage themselves in the digital realm. There have been countless cautionary tales of high-profile executives, politicians, movie stars, and motivational speakers losing their livelihoods because they didn’t think before posting something on social media.[1]

Businesses, for their part, have begun managing their liability by proactively scouring the digital footprint of job applicants before they make hiring decisions. Colleges and universities are heading off future disciplinary problems by adding social media scans to their enrollment procedures. And that’s not even talking about the rise of “cancel culture.”

The best lesson is to keep it classy online and add a regular self-monitoring checkup to your routine. There is now an entire industry of digital footprint-scrubbing services, but a less-expensive option is simply to self-regulate. Start by asking a trusted friend to Google your name and find the most potentially embarrassing post, photo, or other information they can within 10 to 15 minutes. Identify (and delete) your bad judgment calls before someone else does.

2. You Need to Know the Tricks—and Tools—of Your Trade

Entire industries are being rapidly transformed by tech. Future job applicants will be expected to know both their field and its most commonly used tech tools on their first day. Unfortunately, the speed of technological change can result in a college or trade-school graduate landing a job only to discover that the skills they were taught last year have since become obsolete.

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Fortunately, many new initiatives are rising up to meet this challenge. In Los Angeles, for example, a partnership between grassroots organization MARTY and Hawke Media resulted in the creation of the first-ever digital marketing academy.[2] Whether your field of expertise is HR, PR, or something else altogether, there are likely digital skills workshops you can take advantage of. As tech continues to make inroads, the need to stay digitally current—in addition to having mastered textbook concepts—will increase.

3. Effective Communication Requires Understanding Audience Expectations

Hopefully, by now, you know that sending a message in ALL CAPS makes it look like you’re shouting. You might also have noticed that it’s becoming customary to text someone before calling and ask, “can you talk now?” Gone are the days when the phone would ring, you’d have no clue who was calling, and you’d pick up anyway.

What constitutes appropriate communication by phone, text, Slack, email, social media, or any other channel comes bundled with audience expectations. Those who know which channel to use in a given situation and abide by the unspoken rules will thrive in this new landscape.

When entering any new digital environment, spend a week or two as a cultural anthropologist. Observe what the digital natives do and act accordingly. Stay humble and open to correction. Hold off on cheeky humor and good-natured sass until you understand the world in which you’ve landed.

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4. Without a Solid Tech Foundation, You’ll Be Left Behind

Back in junior high, our math teachers would warn us about the importance of making sure we fully grasped a particular concept before moving on. The idea was that whatever came next would build on what we’d already mastered, so we’d better have it down cold.

Today, innovations in digital technology are being released so rapidly that more than a few late adopters will be left behind. If you haven’t mastered Google Sheets, for example, or don’t know your way around common project management software, then create your own learning opportunities. Online course platforms like Udemy and Coursera can help you get up to speed.

As more and more everyday products and services lean into digital platforms, those who make the effort to stay current with digital skills will more quickly adapt. If your current workplace demands technology skills that you don’t have, ’fess up to a sympathetic supervisor and develop a concrete plan and timeline for acquiring them. Your determination to fill your tech gaps will be a point in your favor.

5. You Need to Keep Yourself and Others Safe Online

Email phishing, identity theft, ransomware, and a wide array of other threats have become a settled fact of life online. According to Statista, money lost to phone scams alone jumped from $10.5 billion in 2019 to $19.7 billion in 2020, nearly doubling in just one year.[3]

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As online mistakes become increasingly common and costly, the value of those who use their digital skills to protect themselves and others will skyrocket.[4] Make sure you stay current on acceptable uses of technology in every setting. Rather than learning the hard way, take the advice of cybersecurity experts and follow the best security technology practices. Whenever you don’t understand the logic behind various security protocols, ask. You’ll be far better equipped to follow rules you understand.

6. Digital Skills Will Be Needed to Help Break Down Barriers

Digital skills are like any other tool—they can be used for good or bad. As the online world continues to reveal fractures across cultures, the need for people who use their digital skills to build bridges will increase.

Apply commonsense communication guidelines in the digital sphere. Adding your own personality to communication is a good thing but only up to a point. Seek out past posts that could cause unnecessary division and consider deleting them. You may feel very strongly about a controversial issue, and that’s fine. Just be aware that your supervisor may have something to say if your stance begins costing the company revenue.

Final Thoughts

As you sharpen your digital skill set, keep in mind that the lines have begun to blur across previously separate realms. Pressure is mounting to get more of our work done online. People aren’t as free to separate their work identity from their after-hours conduct.

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The rules seem to shift slightly with the introduction of every new, popular platform. The best way to adapt is to stay current, stay sharp, and regularly review your online conduct.

More About Digital Skills and Knowledge

Featured photo credit: hj barraza via unsplash.com

Reference

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Kimberly Zhang

Kimberly Zhang is the Chief Editor of Under30CEO and has a passion for educating the next generation of leaders to be successful.

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Last Updated on August 11, 2021

10 Best Self-Improvement Classes in 2021

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10 Best Self-Improvement Classes in 2021

Even during the midst of a pandemic, self-improvement is still a crucial aspect to our lives today. There are tonnes of articles that you could be reading from our site or from others. However, the articles aren’t able to provide the depth and the growth you need when compared to courses or programs.

So if you are looking to step up your own self-improvement and invest in yourself and the life you want to lead, here are some of the best self-improvement classes to consider.

But before getting to that, here is the criteria that we use to determine these courses. All of these qualities have been present in the best self-improvement classes we could find:

  • Little commitment – All these courses can be done in the comfort of your own home and at your own pace as well. Most of these courses recommend spending a few hours each week on their material.
  • Prestigious – These courses are done by recognizable institutes with good reputation on their education quality.
  • Leverage on skillset – Each of the courses focuses on one area of your life, however it also helps develop other areas of your life at the same time.

1. Lifehack Mastercourses & Free Classes

Lifehack isn’t just a blog but rather a hub with all kinds of resources at people’s disposal. You may already be familiar with our particular workbooks, but we also provide courses of our own.

Firstly, there’s a free course that will guide you to break your procrastination loop and start taking action to get what you want. Ending procrastination is essential to multiplying your time, energy, and the overall quality of your life. Here you can learn more about the free class:

Our second set of courses are the courses where we help you break free of your limitations to become the best version of yourself. These courses aren’t free, but each course goes into extensive detail on everything from motivation, overcoming challenges and staying focused to improving your overall learning capabilities, controlling your emotions and mindset:

2. The Science Of Well-Being

Yale University has been around for over 300 years at this point and one of the most popular classes in that time span is this one: The Science of Well-Being. After all this time, Yale is providing this course to everyone for free.

In this class, Yale Psychology Professor Laurie Santos introduced this class as “Psychology and the Good Life” in spring 2018. The class was designed to help students in navigating anxiety, depression, and stress in their lives. The class at the time was so popular that roughly a quarter of Yale undergraduates enrolled in it that spring.

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Going into more detail about this course, this 4-week course is designed to provide a step-by-step process for boosting happiness. The course heavily focuses on positive psychology – what misconceptions we have about happiness and what has been scientifically proven to make us happier.

Enrol in the course here.

3. Learning How To Learn

Another notable course to consider is the Learning How to Learn course. On the platform Coursera, it is one of the most popular and loved courses on the platform with nearly 2 million students enrolled since it’s been there. It’s taught by the distinguished professors Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski.

The premise of the course is what you’d expect, the goal of this course to teach you to learn more. It’ll ultimately lead to you training your brain to effectively process information and learn complicated subjects even. All of this is done through various tools and methods – from stories to goofy animations like surfing zombies, metabolic vampires and an “octopus of attention”.

Enrol in the course here.

4. Mindshift

Another course developed by Dr. Barabara Oakley is this course: Mindshift. If you’re planning to take the course Learning How To Learn, this one builds off of that popular course. Overall, it’s meant to help learners boost their career and life by shifting their mindset to a learning one.

Dr. Oakley firmly believes that any person can train themselves to learn at any stage in life. She believes that from personal experiences but also how this course is designed. Through this course, you learn how to be seeking out mentors to learn from, how to avoid common learning pitfalls, career ruts, and the general ruts in life.

By the end of this 4-week program, you’ll have access to new tools and strategies to face any career challenge and seek better methods to surmount new learning curves.

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Enrol in the course here.

5. De-Mystifying Mindfulness

Mindfulness is something that we’ve all been trying to obtain in recent years and people are noticing it. Whether we strive for this for therapy, lifestyle choice, or for other technology, many of us consider this a pastime we do in solitude at this point.

But despite the number of us practicing mindfulness, not many of us fully grasp it. De-Mystifying Mindfulness is a course designed to help people get up to speed with it through various methods. This course gathers information from various disciplines in science, social sciences and humanities to help unlock and understand mindfulness in its various forms.

This is a truly unique course as it’s rooted in experiential learning mixed with evidence base of what mindfulness can do to people. And a conceptual base of what mindfulness might actually be.

Enrol in the course here.

6. Achieving Personal And Professional Success Specialization

The best way to explain what Achieving Personal And Professional Success Specialization is. is that it’s four of the most popular courses taught by Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania wrapped into one Specialization. Through these four courses, you’ll be able to maximize your potential and be more successful in both personal and professional life. You’ll learn various techniques and exercises that this school teaches.

Going into more detail the four courses consist of these four:

  • Success – learn about defining goals, understand how goals connect to long-term images of yourself.
  • Communication skills – tools to improve communication with others. You’ll also learn to take other people’s perspectives, where trust comes from, and build relationships.
  • Leading the Life you want – skills that allow you to lead in the four domains of life: work, home, community, and private.
  • Influence – how to develop it and become more effective in achieving organizational goals.

Enrol in the course here.

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7. Think Again

Reasoning is another important aspect of life. Think Again is all about teaching you how to reason and argue well with people without raising your voice and getting flustered. It’s four short courses that explore the logic behind arguments, how we construct arguments and deconstruct them, how to identify and evaluate arguments, and what makes a good argument.

Specifically, you’ll learn about the vital rules to be following in thinking about any topic at all and common and tempting mistakes that people fall into all the time when providing reasoning.

Enrol in the course here.

8. Neuroplasticity

Amongst the scientific and psychology circles, this has become quite the buzzword: Neuroplasticity. The concept promises to rewire our brain and improve everything from health and mental wellbeing to our quality of life. Gregory Caremans teaches the concept of Neuroplasticity and how you can take action and use this to your advantage in the course Neuroplasticity. Through it, you can develop mental flexibility, change habits, stop procrastination and even alter memories.

Gregory is a psychologist with a Master’s in communication and is specialized in Neurocognitive and Behavioral Approach. And even though he comes from a complex field, his course is instructed in such a way that you can easily use this information and apply it in your daily life.

Enrol in the course here.

9. Become A SuperLearner® 2

Similar to Learning How To Learn, this Udemy course Become A SuperLearner® 2 is all about learning faster and unlocking the vast potential of your mind. This course is different though in that it focuses more on improving your ability to learn new skills, provide advanced memory techniques, long-term retention and application of information.

Another way to think about this course is that it looks into cognitive and neurological factors that make learning easier and more successful with longer retention of information.

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Enrol in the course here.

10. Get Beyond Work-Life Balance

The final course on the list is Get Beyond Work-Life Balance. As this course suggests, this is all about getting skills that help you to achieve balance and have effectiveness in both aspects of your life. This applies to both people in leadership roles and for individuals.

The course focuses a lot on the importance of inclusive leadership in creating flexible and productive work environments. Beyond this, the course provides a lot of research and real-work examples from various situations to deliver information and strategies you can apply in your life.

Enrol in the course here.

Final Thoughts

There are all kinds of courses that you can use to further enhance your life – be it personal or professional. And the beauty of personal development courses is the fact they are designed to be applied in your life more readily. You can begin to see the impact and change when applying this information from courses to real life.

As such, we encourage you to try out these courses. They could very well change your life.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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