Digital literacy, or the ability to use computers and software on the job, has become one of the most important skills in the workplace. But recent data show that many workers—even younger workers—feel lacking in their digital skills, and it may be holding them back. Fortunately, there are many free resources available to build valuable professional skills.
The Digital Divide
Young adults seem to be so connected with the latest technology they have been nicknamed “digital natives,” for better or worse often viewed as inseparable from their smartphones and social media. However, it seems there is more to the story.
A study by Rasmussen College found that Millennials tend to be even more fearful of the Internet than older generations. Some of this could easily be attributed to the fact that Millennials are more aware of the dangers and pitfalls of technology, but the study also reveals a gap in their skills.
One in four millennials want to improve their skills with professional technology, and 10 percent say that they’ve passed on applying for a job because they lacked confidence in their digital literacy.
Easy, Free Resources
If you are part of the growing group of job seekers both young and old who would like to improve their technology skills, why not get started with some free online learning? Here are just a few resources that you can use:
- The website GCF Learn Free offers classes in everything from computer and Internet basics to specific programs like Excel, and even advice on purchasing a new smart phone, all at your own pace.
- Alison.com offers courses in a wide range of professional skills, from MS Office and Adobe software to basic typing and search engines.
- If you’d like to develop or advance technical skills, you can try the Microsoft Virtual Academy.
- Your local Goodwill may offer digital literacy trainings, too.
You can get more advice for building your skills on GoodProspects. The discussion forums or a virtual career mentor can help you find just the right resource for developing the skills you need to get ahead.