Today is International Girls in ICT Day, raising awareness of the urgent need for more women and girls to work in information and communication technology.
This year’s theme is "Digital Skills for Life.” Thus, we'll examine some digital skills — optional and required — African women and girls can learn in this digital era.
Learning digital skills is important for African women and girls because it can help them overcome gender disparities and increase their economic opportunities. They can also become more self-assured, resilient, and professional as they navigate the digital world.
Digital and technical skills are essential for success in the digital world. This article examines eight digital skills African women and girls should develop.
1. Entry-level digital skills
Entry-level digital skills or basic functional skills are necessary to have a foundational understanding of using digital devices like computers and smartphones and software applications like email, web browsers, and Microsoft Office tools.
Entry-level digital skills are the prerequisite for acquiring other digital skills and effective participation in the digital economy and society. They allow African women and girls to access information, education, and employment opportunities while maintaining online connections.
You can go to online learning platforms like Udemy and Coursera to learn how to use Microsoft Office tools, particularly Excel and PowerPoint, or Google Sheets and Slides. Visit this link to learn about free Excel courses. You can learn this in 48 hours or one week.
2. Online communication skills
Online communication skills are required to communicate effectively on digital platforms such as email, messaging services, social media, and online forums. One is required to understand online etiquette, how to write professional emails, and use appropriate language and tone.
Online communication skills are essential for networking, forming business relationships, and communicating effectively in the digital workplace. They also support women and girls to participate in online communities, express themselves, and participate in online discussions.
You can learn this digital skill through online platforms such as edX, Alison, Udemy, and Coursera. Depending on prior experience and skill depth, you can learn basic online communication skills in two to four weeks of focused learning.
3. Cybersecurity skills
Cybersecurity skills make people aware of common cybersecurity threats, using safe conduct, how to manage passwords, and avoid fraud and scams on the Internet. It’s a must-have digital skill for African women and girls.
Cybersecurity is a major concern in the digital age. So, learning cybersecurity skills can help African women and girls navigate the Internet safely, protect their online identities, prevent fraud, and fend off threats.
4. Graphics design
Graphics design skills include the ability to create visual content using digital tools such as Adobe Creative Suite or Canva. These skills are crucial for African women and girls who want to produce digital content, such as website and social media graphics and marketing materials.
African women and girls can express their creativity, communicate their ideas online, and create visually appealing content, supporting their professional and personal growth.
Interestingly, every African female can learn the fundamentals of graphics design using tools like Canva. You can learn this digital skill online through YouTube tutorials, Udemy, or LinkedIn Learning.
Depending on the desired level of proficiency, learning these skills could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
5. Digital marketing skills
Digital skills are essential for people interested in the online promotion of goods, services, or causes. In theory, everyone has something they want to advertise online.
African women and girls interested in using these skills to reach their target audience must have a basic knowledge of search engine optimisation (SEO), social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing.
Today, digital marketing is crucial because it enables African females to use online platforms and tools to promote their businesses, goods/services, and grow their clientele, thus maximise their revenue potential.
Digital marketing skills can be acquired through online courses, including emarketinginstitute.org, Alison, FutureLearn, and Udemy. These skills can be learnt in a matter of weeks or months.
6. Data analysis
Data analysis skills are becoming increasingly crucial in several industries, including business, healthcare, agriculture, and education.
This digital skill can help African women and girls identify trends and patterns and participate in data-driven decision-making in their respective fields.
You can learn this digital skill from AltSchool Africa, Class Central, edX, Udemy, and Alison in 6 to 12 weeks.
7. Product design
Product design is one of the digital skills that African women and girls can learn to develop unique, user-centred products that can solve local and regional problems and satisfy market demands.
This digital skill enables African women and girls to design and develop digital products, including websites and mobile apps.
On AltSchool Africa, Udacity, edX, Udemy, and Coursera, you can learn product design in 6 to 12 weeks.
8. Project management
Project management skills enable African women and girls to take projects from concept to completion. This entails organising projects, evaluating threats and opportunities, developing budgets, interacting with stakeholders, resolving issues, and more.
Online collaboration and project management skills are becoming increasingly crucial as remote work becomes more common. With these digital skills, African women and girls can manage projects, meet deadlines, and work effectively in virtual teams.
You can learn the fundamentals on online platforms like Piston and Fusion, FutureLearn, Udemy, edX, and Coursera in 4 to 6 weeks.
Having digital skills helps African women and girls be more creative. They foster critical thinking and improve their problem-solving skills.
Set definite and practical learning objectives before you begin learning these digital skills. Determine the specific skills you want to acquire, your motivations, and the outcomes you want to achieve.
Choose reputable sources as suggested and follow a well-structured curriculum or training programme. Also, practise and apply what you’ve learnt frequently because mastery of digital skills requires practice. Use additional resources or ask for assistance when you need to.
It can be difficult and time-consuming to learn digital skills. So, don't lose heart over setbacks; instead, be kind to yourself. Continue to be persistent and keep a positive outlook on your educational journey. Remember that progress might be gradual and that it's crucial to continue learning and improving over time.
Most importantly, as technology advances, digital skills are constantly changing. So, follow industry news, participate in online communities, or attend refresher courses to keep up with the latest trends, tools, and skills. You can stay current and competitive in the digital world by constantly learning new things.