The texture of employment is fast changing and I think there is no need to explain too much about what this is, or why it’s happening. It’s happening. That’s all you need to know.
As businesses change in their needs, so do your skills. And the skill that every employee needs to go out and acquire right now, is in tech. But what on earth does this mean? What IS a “tech skill”?
We’ve broken it down into 10 segments so that you can get an easier grasp of what this is and what it entails and why you should get deep into learning it as soon as you can.
- Numeric literacy
Ever wondered why you should are being tested on esoteric topics such as algebra, triangulation and graphs back in school? Well, numerical literacy is the building block of tech. It is not merely being fluent with numbers, but also the skills that numbers bring about: logic, organisation and order.
It needs one to understand how to be critically evaluate information. Quantitative literacy allows us analyse and apply arithmetic operations to tackle real world problems.
It doesn’t matter if you were never “good in maths”, it is just as important to understand the role mathematics play in the world. We are never too old to go back to basics. Even if it means picking up a Primary school textbook on algebra and fractions. These things form the foundation, a basic understanding of how tech works.
Even if your work doesn’t involve actual coding, it is important to understand how coding works. It will give you a highly efficient problem solving perspective of a situation. Similar to numerical literacy, coding will teach you about logic, organisation and order.
Part of the package of coding includes skills such as: programming languages, infrastructure, network architecture, systems analysis, usability, testing and troubleshooting. These are skills that have applicability no matter what the nature of your work is.
- Data analysis
Almost every industry today relies on data. Whether it is data from clients, products or tracking human behaviour, we need to understand data, how it is collected, how it is processed and how to make sense of it all. Employess who know how to collect, organise and interpret data have a strong business edge.
Skills in data include: understanding algorithms, analytical skills, calculating, statistics, data mining, database design, quantitative research and reporting.
- Project Management
Project management trains one to order priorities, keep a tab on resources and driving projects to a good finish. It also requires one to be an effective leader, to learn how to delegate tasks and how to measure the success of each project.
The skills involved are largely “soft” skills and includes an understanding of skills such as benchmarking, budget planning, performance review, project planning, quality assurance, quality control, scheduling, task delegation and management.
- Social media fluency
If you’re in the field of marketing or business development, it is important to be well versed in this field. And no, it doesn’t mean knowing how to use Facebook and Instagram. Teenagers use both those apps but it doesn’t make them fluent in social media.
One needs to understand script writing, content production, lead generation, search engine optimisation, analytics and yes, a strong knowledge of society and culture and how those behave on a non-verbal digital platform.
- Computer security
In a world of scams and cunning security breaches, almost everyone needs to be versed in operational security and at least a working knowledge of how common hacks and attacks are being carried out. If you’re working for a multi-national company, it would be a travesty of employment not to know how to protect trade secrets of your employer. If you’re working for non-profit organisations, you have to know that your organisation is a potential target of mischief and vandalism at all times.
- Web development/management
Even if you are not a programmer yourself, or you do not build websites, it is important to know the basics of how websites operate, the PHP language and a working knowledge of common Content Management Systems. You need to know these to exploit the full business potential of your online footprint. Websites are not just brochures and to see them as such would be severely under utilising the presence of your site.
You need to know analytics, tracking, HTML, PHP and a knowledge of how servers and networks operate.
- Database management
Many businesses work with data regularly. This could mean email marketing systems, customer relations management systems, or even merely just dealing with simple comma separated values (such as those that Facebook analytics commonly generate), you have to know how to work with all this data and not make a mess of it.
- App and software knowledge
At the very least, one needs to have an awareness and understanding of how the popular apps out there can help with businesses. There is everything from productivity to polls, from file management to FinTech tools. Being well versed in these tools allows an employee to get plugged in and work in their must productive, efficient manner.
And no, merely knowing Word, Excel and Powerpoint will not cut it. Every single person in the workforce is presumed to know how to use these products already.
- Tech developments: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Machine learning and robotics
On a longer time horizon, these technologies will play a greater and greater role in the business field. These are complex tech skills that are able to bring closer the gulf between man and machine. Although not immediately applicable to most fields today, it is hard to say when and how these technologies could suddenly disrupt and revolutionise our world (again).
We live, after all, in a world of autonomous machines, flying cars, predictive technologies and robots capable of comprehending human speech. We are, what we call the “Worker version 4”.
We are not merely competing with humans now, we are competing with machines for our jobs. But with technical, adaptive and technology skills, think of yourself as collaborating with the machines, rather than competing against them.
If you are interested more about being the worker of the 21st century, the Worker 4.0, have a look at the following links: