In a recent study labeled Closing the Digital Skill Divide, the National Skills Coalition discovered that an overwhelming majority of jobs (more than 9 in 10, in fact) now require digital skills. And these skills aren’t restricted to the tech sector, either, with almost all industries and job roles — from teaching to healthcare, and from entry-level to boardroom-level — demanding a high degree of digital competence.
In the not-so-distant past, digital skills may have referred simply to computer literacy — being proficient in frequently-used software programs such as Microsoft’s Office suite, for example — but many modern job roles demand so much more.
The type of digital skills required will depend on the nature of the role, of course (a content writer won’t necessarily be expected to be familiar with programming languages), but a wide breadth of digital skills is now a prerequisite for the majority of jobs.
From data analytics to digital marketing, digital skills cross over into almost every sector. But which are the most in-demand skills? Which digital abilities are likely to stand out on your CV and increase your chances of securing your dream role?
Let’s delve into 5 of the most in-demand digital skills in 2023.
1. Digital Marketing
With the digital marketing industry expected to reach $807 billion by 2026, it’s hardly surprising that it’s considered such an important skill in 2023. Digital marketing covers many areas, of course, with modern-day marketers increasingly expected to be proficient in several of these.
In-demand digital marketing skills include:
- Social media marketing. Data collected from LinkedIn by Marketing Week found that social media is considered the most in-demand skill for marketers. Being proficient in platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn itself is seen as a crucial digital skill, helping businesses to reach new audiences, increase brand awareness, and foster a sense of community.
- Search engine optimization (SEO). According to the performance SEO agency Seeker Digital, organic traffic has the potential for incredible ROI, so it’s no surprise that SEO (the practice of driving organic traffic to websites through techniques such as keyword optimization, link building, and technical SEO) is an increasingly sought-after skill.
- Content marketing. Bill Gates is credited with coining the phrase “content is king”, and this adage has never been more prevalent than it is today. Content marketing is a critical skill because it helps to drive brand awareness and establish a business as an authority in its industry. It can take many forms, such as blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, and more besides.
- Email marketing. It may be dismissed as old hat by some, but email marketing is still important (and surprisingly cost-effective) in 2023. Understanding the intricacies of email marketing can help businesses build their subscriber bases, tap into valuable customer data, engage their audiences more effectively, and ultimately increase traffic and conversions.
Want to level up your digital marketing knowledge? Check out our guide to the best digital marketing courses.
2. Data Science and Analytics
While Bill Gates argued that content is king, it may have to share its throne with data (in fact, data has been dubbed “the new oil” by some). In many ways, data is like the pulse of a business. It provides factual insights about everything from customer behavior and preferences to operational efficiency and market trends.
If data is indeed the new oil, then data scientists and analysts are the miners. Today’s business environment is fiercely dynamic and competitive. Businesses need to move fast, but they also need to move smart. This is why data analysis is so important: it provides the insights that allow businesses to navigate this landscape with confidence and agility.
Success in business is increasingly built on a data-driven approach to decision-making. But while it’s one thing to obtain valuable insights, acting on them effectively is another thing altogether. Data scientists and analysts have the capability to turn raw data into actionable drivers of key business decisions.
3. Software Engineering
From simple websites to complex machine learning algorithms, almost every industry relies on software in some way, meaning the demand for software engineers who can create, maintain, and improve these systems remains consistently high.
Companies across all industries are increasingly embracing digital transformation, and software engineering is at the heart of this shift. Businesses need software engineers to build new digital products, enhance existing ones, and maintain critical systems.
Software engineers solve complex problems through the creation of software tools and programs. They need to acutely understand users’ needs and build software solutions to address them. They write algorithms, debug issues, perform testing and quality assurance, and may also oversee a project’s implementation and manage a development team.
4. Web and App Development
Today, building an online presence is crucial for businesses. It’s no longer enough to just have a website or an app; businesses need their digital experiences to be well-crafted, user-friendly, and responsive across devices. As a result, skilled web and app developers are in high demand across a number of industries.
Web and app developers also play a crucial role in shaping the user experience. The usability, accessibility, and aesthetic of a website or app can directly impact a business’s success, while a shift to a “mobile-first” approach (accelerated by the fact 60% of internet traffic comes from mobile devices) has led to a surge in demand for mobile app developers.
Web and app development are often split into two main parts:
- Front-end (client-side) development involves creating what users actually see when they visit a website, including all the design, interactive elements, and layout.
- Back-end (server-side) development involves everything that goes on behind the scenes that allows the website or app to function, including server interactions, database management, and the logic that ties the front-end to the back-end.
5. Digital Design and Data Visualization
Digital design and data visualization may involve different skills, but there’s ample crossover since they’re principally about making complex information easier to understand. For one thing, digital design isn’t just about making things look pretty — as the late Steve Jobs once said: “The design is not just what it looks like and feels like. The design is how it works.”
A large part of digital design is understanding user needs, solving complex problems, and ultimately making the digital experience work better. Digital designers are key because they play an essential role in the overall user experience.
Similarly, data visualization is about taking something seemingly complex and presenting it in a simpler, more visually-engaging way. It’s valuable for businesses because it can help them uncover trends, patterns, and correlations that may go unnoticed in a spreadsheet or a database.
Ultimately, the easier it is for key decision-makers to understand data, the quicker and more accurately they can make those key decisions. Better still, presenting data visually can also be a great tool for communicating with customers, investors, and the general public.
With digital skills in increasing demand, more and more businesses are placing high value in these specialist areas of expertise. Whether it’s digital marketing or data visualization, equipping yourself with a range of digital capabilities can make you more marketable to an employer and help you accelerate your professional growth.