What jobs use digital skills?

At Digital Innovators we not only coach our students in digital skills, but we also give them the real-world experience of applying those skills on projects provided to us by our employer partners.

One of the questions we are frequently asked by prospective students is: if I join one of your programmes, what kind of roles and opportunities will this open up for me? Before we answer that question, it’s worth considering exactly what we mean by digital skills.

The Digital Innovators Skills Programme training curriculum is informed by a framework [1] developed by the Joint Research Centre (JRC). This framework classifies digital skills into five key areas:

  1. Information and data literacy. Browsing, searching, filtering, evaluating and managing data, information and digital content.
  2. Communication and collaboration. Interacting through digital technologies and devices as well as understanding the rules of ‘netiquette’ and how to manage your online digital identity.
  3. Digital content creation. Developing digital content as well as integrating and re-elaborating that content. Understanding copyright and licensing issues as well as the basics of programming.
  4. Safety. Protecting devices, your personal data and privacy as well as health, well-being and the environment.
  5. Problem solving. Creatively using digital technologies to solve problems by understanding needs and identifying technological responses

Having looked at this list of essential digital skills, you are probably beginning to see just how important they are, not only in the world of work but also to manage everyday tasks. These skills can be used to conduct tasks such as online shopping and banking, searching for information, storing and organising files such as photos and documents, interacting with government services as well as consuming, and writing content for, social media.

So – what kind of roles could you find yourself taking on if you were to attend one of our programmes? Well, let’s take a look at some recent projects undertaken by our students and explore what skills they demonstrated in tackling them.

A project with the NHS to build a virtual operating theatre to train staff.

The NHS is by far the largest employer in the UK with 1.4 million people on its payroll. The NHS is always looking at ways they can introduce new technology across all of its services to not only improve health outcomes of its patients but also for ways to help improve the working and learning environment for its staff.

Digital Innovators has partnered with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust to develop an innovative virtual operating theatre which allows medical staff to move around the theatre and interact with doctors and nurses who will ask them questions as part of their training. This involved filming inside an actual operating theatre (pre-pandemic) using a 360 camera and then importing the film into a software application to program the interactive elements. This can then be viewed either on a computer screen or via VR headset.

Students working on this project had to collaborate with NHS staff in producing the film then develop their content creation skills to edit this and add the interactive elements. This also involved them in building their creative skills as well as becoming more confident in presenting their findings to the project sponsors.

A project with Vanti to tackle a market research challenge.

Vanti is a Birmingham-based technology company that specialises in the built environment, making buildings and spaces better for the people who use and occupy them. The company is developing a range of smart technology products to help their clients create a flexible, productive, and efficient workplace. 

In order to build the right products for the market and define what products they should develop, Vanti engaged students from our programme to perform an eight-week market research project that looked into what products existed in this space and come up with recommendations on where the company should focus their development efforts.   

This project required our students to follow an agile approach and define a number of sprints which would deliver successive levels of detail in their research. It required collaboration between the students and Vanti, developing content using Microsoft Office products as well as applying what they had learnt in design thinking, critical thinking, presentation techniques and creative thinking to critically appraise the market and produce their findings in ways that would resonate with Vanti’s staff.

Did you know that, on average, jobs which require digital skills pay 29% more than those that do not?

A project with Psytech International to build a well-being and journaling app.

Psytech International is one of the world’s leading developers of psychometric tests and software for the workplace. Their assessments measure a range of different aptitudes and abilities such as general, critical and abstract reasoning, personality and values as well as occupational interests and learning styles.

Journaling, as well as being a powerful wellbeing tool is also a great way to help people recognise their progress and show future employers how they have developed their capabilities and experience over a period of time. The purpose of this project was to take journaling to a new level by building a modern, web-based and/or app journal for learning, personal profiling and development and well-being. 

The students on this project, completed extensive market research, before building a prototype app that focused on encouraging people to keep a journal that was linked to their strengths profile (one of the assessments available from Psytech). The prototype also included features such as suggested learning activities, inspirational quotes, suggested books to read, and tips on how to improve motivation and decrease stress.

This was another project that really showcased our students creative abilities as well as their collaboration, presentation and content creation capabilities.

A project with Birmingham City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority to improve engagement with unemployed people in the region.

Birmingham City Council (BCC) and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) are running a number of programmes that identify people not in employment, education or training (NEET’s) and point them to education and learning opportunities to improve their skills and provide them with opportunities for getting jobs in the digital sector. Given that this is exactly the area Digital Innovators is operating in and we have students who are the target market for these learning opportunities this project was the perfect fit for one of our cohorts of students.

The project involved researching and analysing the websites of the WMCA and BCC as well as those of training providers. It also looked at their social media presence and marketing campaigns. It then attempted to try and better understand their market reach and communication strategies and to devise ways to improve the promotion of funded skills programmes for young people through better collaboration of all involved parties. 

This was basically a research project so employed the collaborative, communication and creative skills of students as well as testing their communication and presentation skills when delivering their findings. As well as presenting the results of this project to both BCC and the WMCA the students have gone on to present at board meetings at both of these organisations giving them valuable experience in working at this level.

All of the projects cited above are examples of the tasks you could be asked to do in existing roles on the job market – roles which require the digital skills we outlined earlier. Due to this real-world experience with employers, a number of the students have gone on to get jobs, either with the employers they have worked with or in other related areas.

Digital Innovators helped me gain confidence and discover my strengths. Without the Digital Innovators programme I never would have discovered Vanti.

Sharanjeet – Digital Innovators Skills Programme Graduate who secured full-time employment with Vanti.

If you are interested in developing your digital skills and gaining work experience with industry leaders so that you can stand out in an increasingly competitive job market – check out the Digital Innovators Skills Programme or join one of our weekly Taster Sessions.

[1] https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC106281/web-digcomp2.1pdf_(online).pdf

This article was written by Pete - Design & Technology Director


Published by Peter Cripps

Software architect, digital activist, blogger and photographer.

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