How to Improve Your Digital Skills

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learning at your own pace, taking online courses, and finding other resources can help you improve your digital skills. Explore the importance of digital skills and tips for improving your digital literacy.

[Featured Image] A person works at his desk, typing on his laptop and learning about digital skills.

In today's highly technological society, digital skills have become an indispensable asset for individuals to navigate digital devices proficiently, communicate seamlessly in online environments, and efficiently manage digital data. Certainly, competency in diverse digital tools used globally by businesses is an important requirement. Continue reading to learn what digital skills are and how you can improve them.

What are digital skills?

At the most basic level, digital skills are defined as the skills necessary to use computers, digital communication, online applications, and other digital devices. These skills are needed in many of today’s jobs.

Digital skills for the workplace

Many workplaces have consistently required employees to have digital skills throughout the years. Electronic communications, computers, and digital devices all drive the need for workers to hone these skills. Read below to learn more about the different types of digital skills you can encounter throughout your career:

Remote working skills

The need for digital skills, while already growing, has increased dramatically since 2020. The AWS Global Digital Skills Study found that 87 percent of employers say the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the pace of digital adoption in their companies [3]. This can be seen clearly with remote work, which emerged when health concerns sent many employees away from the office to work from home.

With remote work, communicating with teammates, managers, and clients is primarily done through digital communications channels and often requires new technological skills. Remote employees also require virtual collaboration skills, such as using project management tools, and comfort in communicating through instant messaging software.

Communicating via video call and screen sharing

Because many meetings now take place over video calls, today’s workers should know how to use video conferencing software. Not only do you need to know how to get on a video call, but also how to communicate effectively during one, share screens, use chat, and otherwise make the most of the meetings that take place on video.

Using the cloud

The AWS Global Digital Skills Study reports that using cloud-based tools will be the most in-demand skill by employers by 2025 [3]. Because so many businesses keep their data in the cloud, it’s important to know how to safely navigate cloud-based tools, such as SaaS, IaaS, and others.


Businesses regularly face threats to their data security. Even employees who don’t work in technology fields should have a working knowledge of how to protect data and stay safe online. The weakest link in a tech system is the people who work with it, so employees must be aware of common cyber threats and how to recognize and avoid them.

Creating spreadsheets and other documents

Basic digital skills include using common business documents, like Google Docs, Microsoft Word, PDFs, and others. Knowing how to create spreadsheets, connect to the internet, and screen share during a video call can also be critical.

Using online calendars

Another segment of business that’s gone digital is calendars, especially in terms of scheduling meetings. Many employees need to know how to use an online calendar, send and change meeting invites, and monitor their own meeting invites.

Digital marketing

Common digital marketing skills include knowing how to effectively use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to make a business rank higher in search engine results pages. Some jobs today require more specific digital marketing skills, such as lead generation, lead capturing, and lead nurturing.

Social media

Social media skills are important digital skills for many businesses. Having the skills to use social media well means effectively reaching potential clients or buyers. It’s also become more critical in recent years as customers and clients often take to social media to provide feedback.

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How to boost your digital skills

Let’s explore a few ways to make learning digital skills easier.


Identifying the skills most essential to your current position or desired career is a helpful starting point. Doing so helps provide focus on the digital skills you should prioritize first. For example, if you want to work in website design, you should start by learning a programming language like JavaScript or Python. However, if you work in data analytics, you might be better off learning R or SQL, common languages used in the field.

Choose a learning format.

College courses, digital bootcamps, online classes, certifications, and self-paced education are all viable options for learning new skills. Determining the format that works best for your learning style and the time you have to devote to practicing can help increase your odds of successfully completing your goal. For example, on Coursera, you could get a thorough introduction to artificial intelligence and machine learning with a course like AI for Everyone offered by DeepLearning.AI. Alternatively, you could sharpen your business analytics skills with the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate.

Research additional resources.

Finding a mentor can be an effective way to learn some of today’s in-demand skills. Look for someone who is already an expert on the skill you want to work on, and ask them for their guidance. You may also be able to find online groups, blogs, and online tutorials to help add to your list of available resources.

Practice consistently.

It’s essential to start small and work your way up because consistency, regular study, and putting what you learn into practice are critical for building lasting digital skills. Doing so can also help cement your ability to take that knowledge and transfer it to various scenarios, making it easier to bring your new skills to any job or hobby.

Why is it important to improve your digital skills?

Digital transformation—the process of adopting digital technology throughout a company—is affecting every industry, and the number of businesses increasing their use of digital technology is only going up. According to Statista, spending on global digital transformation is forecast to reach $3.4 trillion by 2026 [1]. In addition to this, jobs that require a bachelor’s degree and pay a living wage require applicants to have baseline digital skills.

How does improving your digital literacy help you?

At the most basic level, improving your digital literacy will likely increase your chances of getting hired. The market has a great need for workers with strong digital skills, and in fact, half the global workforce will require reskilling by 2025 as the adoption of technology increases, according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report [2].

Getting training for any digital skills you lack can have many benefits, including helping you access information more easily and efficiently. It can also help you communicate with others using online tools, something that’s necessary in most of today’s job settings.

Another way that digital literacy can help you be more employable is that potential employers are more confident you’ll know how to handle their company’s data safely and securely. In today’s business world, where so much of a company’s data is online, knowing how to interact with that data in ways that keep it safe in the cloud and through networks is a critical skill.

Overall, knowing how to use the digital tools many companies require can improve your value to a business and help you feel more confident.

Next steps

You can pursue many ways to learn or improve the digital skills that will help you get jobs and advance. Figure out what areas you need more help in, and then you can ask someone to teach you, seek out and watch videos, or read books about specific skills.

There are also classes that teach tech skills. You can study digital skills online with Coursera, such as through Google’s Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate or the State University of New York’s Applied Digital Literacy Specialization.

Read more about the critical skills you need to survive and thrive in the era of digital transformation with Coursera’s Essential Skills Playbook.

Article sources


Statista. “Spending on Digital Transformation Technologies and Services Worldwide from 2017 to 2026,” Accessed September 25, 2023.

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