Building Blocks for the Digital Economy

The rise of the digital economy means that jobs across all sectors are increasingly requiring digital literacy skills. Digital technology has been integrated into every part of the way we do business, from the tools we use to the products we make. While digital skills used to be held predominantly by professionals in technical capacities, it is now a common skill set necessary to navigate the professional world effectively.

Parts one and two of this series addressed Business Enabler Skills and Human Skills, as identified in the Burning Glass Technologies report, “The New Foundational Skills for the Digital Economy”. The final category of foundational skills is Digital Building Blocks.1 These foundational skills are crucial for professionals in the digital economy, and they increase in value when used in combination. Burning Glass refers to individuals with all 3 skill sets as “blended digital professionals.” Having blended skill sets enables professionals to thrive in a changing marketplace, as their skills are sought in the majority of jobs across the increasingly digitized economy.

Those possessing Digital Building Block Skills are adept at “...analyzing data, managing data, software development, computer programming, and digital security and privacy.” Digital Building Block Skills enable companies to fully leverage technology to understand and operate their businesses and cover a wide range of applications, such as data management and analytics, information security, computer engineering and application development.

Companies require digital skills to keep pace in the digital economy and the demand for these blended skills is mushrooming. However, fewer than 1 in 5 job seekers claim blended skill sets. The report cites that 33% of job openings in 2017 required digital building block skills. The shifting world of work is eliminating many jobs, but it is also creating many new, predominantly digital, occupations. For example, the migration of data to digital management systems requires information system managers as well as cybersecurity experts to protect the databases. The sharp growth in demand for digital skills from 2012 to 2017 illustrates this shifting marketplace:

  • Digital security and privacy: 75% growth
  • Analyzing data: 68% growth
  • Software development: 44% growth
  • Computer programming: 35% growth
  • Managing data: 24% growth

This increasing need for digital skills means that most professionals today must gain this training while also working in their full-time jobs. With courses and programs in each of the digital categories, edX For Business delivers the solution for your company to develop the Digital Building Block skills needed at all levels of your organization.

1 “The New Foundational Skills of the Digital Economy” published by Burning Glass Technologies.

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