Digital skills: which matter for work?

curriculum vitae

It increasingly looks like Digital Skills are vitally important in the future of work, but which skills are the most vital? Researchers at Nesta have been looking into the skills that are likely to be needed in the workplaces of the future, and recently turned their attention to digital skills.

Originally published in Issue 6 of Hello World: The computing and digital making magazine for educators. Available free at helloworld.cc (Shared under Creative Commons CC BY NC SA).

It increasingly looks like Digital Skills are vitally important in the future of work, but which skills are the most vital? Researchers at Nesta have been looking into the skills that are likely to be needed in the workplaces of the future, and recently turned their attention to digital skills.

They found that the types of digital skills most likely to be in demand are those involved in non-routine tasks, problem solving and creating digital assets. This is similar to their earlier findings about the risk of automation for certain jobs; it’s the non routine and creative work that is much less likely to be automated and therefore to be more in demand.

Example skills given as promising for the future include highly creative ones, with elements of artistic skills such as animation, and multimedia production. They also include design in engineering, involving tackling problems and coming up with creative solutions to them using technology. The increasing digital activity of work means that the skills of building and maintaining IT systems and networks are predicted to be some of the most in demand. Rounding off the top five most promising skills are research and quantitative data analysis skills. As we amass more and more data about our work we will need to understand it, and getting making sense of huge datasets requires non routine analysis and creative approaches.

These predictions were formed from analysis of the skills asked for in vast numbers of online job adverts. 41 million were scraped to form the dataset that led to these conclusions. One of the key findings is that the future of work is not just about digital skills. In fact, some of the occupations that are not categorised as needing a high degree of digital skills such as chefs and teachers are thought likely to grow in the next ten years. Some of the jobs with poor prospects for the future are very likely to need digital skills; which shows that it’s not just any digital skills that are important, but certain sets of them. Those young people developing digital skills involved in non-routine tasks, problem solving and creating digital assets, are predicted to be much better prepared for the future of work.

Nesta’s 5 most promising digital skills:

  1. Animation
  2. Multimedia production
  3. Design in engineering
  4. Building and maintaining IT systems and networks
  5. Research and quantitative data analysis

Read more about this research from Nesta here.

Photo Credit: the Italian voice Flickr via Compfight cc

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
Discovering students’ underlying computational skills
How to give feedback on documents

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.