10 Essential Skills For Digital Literacy

Mary Joseph
Mary Joseph June 11, 2023
Updated 2023/06/11 at 3:30 PM
10 essential skills for digital literacy

10 Essential Skills For Digital Literacy

In today’s modern work environment, having digital skills is crucial. There is a minimum level of essential digital skills that are necessary to secure a job at the present time. Even if you’re not employed in the technology industry specifically, digital skills are required in various job sectors, including retail, finance, manufacturing, healthcare, and virtually every other field.

That’s why it is more important than ever to enhance your digital literacy skills, master the fundamentals, and enter the workforce with confidence.

Acquiring new skills is not an instant process and requires time and dedication. However, it doesn’t have to be an intimidating endeavour. We are here to provide you with more information about digital skills, their significance, and how you can enhance your digital skills before starting a new job or returning to work after a career break.

With the increasing shift of jobs to the online realm, it is evident that employers are seeking individuals who possess strong digital literacy. Proficiency in these skills has become crucial in our current digital-oriented society and can greatly enhance one’s resume.

What Is Digital Literacy Exactly And Why Is It Significant?

Digital skills encompass the proficiencies necessary for operating digital devices, communication applications, and networks, enabling individuals to effectively handle and exchange information through various tools like computer programs, smartphone apps, and spreadsheets.

Likewise, digital literacy skills denote the capacity to navigate and interact online, implying one’s competence in utilizing digital devices and employing them in typical professional scenarios.

Digital skills have been crucial in the workforce since the advent of computers and floppy disks, and their significance has only grown with the increasing popularity of smartphones and rapidly advancing technologies.

However, due to the rapid pace of technological advancement, it can be difficult to stay abreast of the constantly evolving skills required to fulfil one’s daily responsibilities.

In 1997, Paul Gilster introduced the term “digital literacy,” referring to the capacity to comprehend and effectively utilize information from diverse sources and formats when presented through computers.

This definition provides a basic understanding of digital literacy, which can be further elaborated upon by focusing on four key aspects:

  • Discovering digital information
  • Assessing the credibility of digital information
  • Generating digital content
  • Communicating information digitally

Proficiency in digital literacy involves employing these abilities while navigating computer applications and the internet to achieve professional objectives.

In practical terms, this might involve the following:

  • Engaging in email correspondence and responding to messages
  • Effectively using different search engines for information retrieval
  • Generating electronic documents
  • Grasping fundamental computer software functions
  • Capable of troubleshooting basic computer issues

The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the increasing importance of these fundamental computer skills. With the shift of numerous tasks and meetings to online platforms, digital literacy abilities are now in higher demand for many jobs. Additionally, in our ever-evolving and technology-driven world, it is crucial for individuals entering the workforce to possess a foundational understanding of digital literacy.

10 Essential Skills For Digital Literacy

Conducting Independent Research:

Being proficient in conducting online research is an essential digital competency required in the professional realm. It entails possessing the necessary expertise to effectively explore the internet for relevant information and draw appropriate conclusions.

With the dynamic nature of technology, there exists a favourable prospect for individuals to demonstrate their research prowess and continually enhance their abilities.

Employers seek employees who can take the initiative in navigating through the vast sea of limited information available online, effectively playing the role of an online detective to accomplish their tasks.

Moreover, individuals who can independently investigate also possess the capability to discern the credibility of studies and sources by employing proper evaluation techniques.

Irrespective of the industry one intends to venture into, the capacity to engage in independent research is pivotal for success in the digital era.

A Basic Understanding Of Technology:

It is crucial to possess proficient research skills and also imperative to have a comprehensive grasp of fundamental technology in terms of digital literacy. Having a basic knowledge of computer hardware and software is essential as it enables efficient problem-solving without unnecessary time wastage. While specific employers may require varying skill sets, it remains essential to have a foundational understanding of the following:

  • Operating systems like Windows and MacOS.
  • Communication platforms such as Zoom and Skype.
  • Presentation software like PowerPoint.
  • Office suites including Microsoft Office and Word.
  • Spreadsheets such as Excel and Google spreadsheets.
  • Cloud-based storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive.

Adaptation To Evolving Technologies:

Due to the rapid advancement of computer technology, there is a significant demand for individuals capable of swiftly adjusting to these developments. This aspect plays a crucial role in digital literacy, given the perpetual nature of technological transformations.

The speed of computers doubles approximately every one and a half to two years, smartphones continuously evolve, and computer software constantly introduces new functionalities. Consequently, the ability to adapt quickly to these changes becomes essential.

As you embark on your professional journey and familiarize yourself with the expectations of your job, possessing digital literacy will enable you to promptly and effectively grasp new software and technology as they are introduced.

Tools For Collaboration:

Apps and computer software have become valuable aids for facilitating workplace communication and collaboration. These technological tools assist employers in effectively exchanging information with their employees.

Proficiency in utilizing these apps and software is essential to ensure seamless communication within a company, particularly for individuals engaged in remote work.

To succeed in the digital realm, students need to learn essential skills for managing projects and working in groups. They should receive instruction on fundamental principles of project management and understand how to navigate various online platforms.

By using tools like Base Camp or Trello, along with the collaborative features of Google Docs, students can start exploring effective ways to collaborate online.

Being Able To Teach Others About Technology:

Digital literacy encompasses the significant aspect of crosstraining and instructing others. It is crucial to possess a comprehensive understanding of the software you are teaching, enabling you to effectively communicate its functionalities to others.

You may need to assist individuals in navigating diverse computer programs or establishing their collaborative tools. Acquiring the ability to train fellow colleagues enhances your own proficiency and benefits your employer in the process.

Social Media Knowledgeable:

The significance of social media lies in its versatility, as it caters to diverse objectives based on the individual user, technological advancements, and specific requirements. It is crucial to provide students with guidance and hands-on experience in utilizing different social media platforms.

For instance, students should understand that Twitter serves as a valuable tool for staying updated on the latest industry news, whereas Flipgrid excels in fostering a sense of community.

Using The Internet To Navigate:

Being proficient in connecting to the internet, utilizing web browsers such as Google Chrome or Safari, and effectively navigating online platforms are essential digital competencies.

These skills play a vital role in various professional endeavours, including conducting research, communicating with customers, collaborating with colleagues, and implementing advanced marketing strategies.

In today’s digital age, gathering and managing information online is a fundamental aspect of our everyday routines. Whether it involves conducting a basic search on Google or undertaking a comprehensive research endeavour, the ability to accomplish these tasks effortlessly is crucial.

Internet Safety:

Ensuring the security of your online presence is crucial in safeguarding both yourself and your business in the digital realm, particularly on the internet and social media platforms. It entails understanding the appropriate content to share online, steering clear of online harassment, and exercising caution regarding the information you consume online.

Protecting your digital privacy also entails adhering to legal requirements, company policies, and ethical standards while avoiding any inadvertent engagement in unlawful online activities.

Online Payment For Goods And Services:

Having the ability to perform online transactions is a crucial digital skill that one should possess. This skill allows individuals to engage in online shopping, handle online banking transactions, and utilize various other online services.

These services may include making payments for applications, processing returns, or paying for merchandise.

How To Increase Your Digital Literacy And Skill Set

To enhance your digital skills and achieve digital literacy, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of your existing knowledge and areas where you lack expertise.

The methods you choose to improve your digital skills will depend on your current abilities, and they will vary from person to person. Whether you are starting from scratch or seeking to refresh your skills, there are several ways you can enhance your digital proficiency:

Explore free online classes: Opt for specialized classes that cater to your strengths and weaknesses. You can find tutorials on Microsoft Word, email usage, or even basic spreadsheet functions.

Read books: If you are new to the digital world, consider beginning your journey by reading books. For example, you could try “Digital Literacy For Dummies” or similar resources that provide an introduction to digital skills.

Apply your skills in daily life: Incorporate basic digital skills into your everyday tasks to gain confidence. This can be as simple as performing Google searches, using Google Docs to create your shopping list, or writing emails to friends and family.

Stay updated with technology and digital trends: Subscribe to tech newsletters or magazines to keep pace with the latest trends and expand your knowledge accordingly.

Seek assistance: If you find it challenging to teach yourself these skills, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends or family members who can assist you.

Remember, improving your digital skills is a personalized journey, so choose the methods that best suit your needs and learning style.


As businesses increasingly incorporate new technologies into their operations, employers may look for individuals who possess expertise in digital tools to fulfil their job responsibilities. Digital skills encompass a broad comprehension of fundamental technologies and their application, including online interfaces and mobile devices. Being aware of the specific technological proficiencies essential in your industry can enhance your chances of obtaining employment and boost efficiency in the workplace.

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