During the pandemic, we have seen first-hand that many companies have turned to digitization in order to survive and thrive. In fact, companies that adapted to the digital world have not only managed to successfully navigate these turbulent times but have also utilized their digital transformations to vault themselves to the next level. If you lost your job, or want to become a more important asset to your company, now is the right time to build your toolkit and acquire new digital skills. Here are 5 digital skills that will give you a competitive edge in the job market today.
User experience (UX) and User interface (UI) design
The word “design” has long been associated with artists and creative people. However, nowadays, design doesn’t just have to be for those who went to art school – anyone can do it! Design isn’t just about using graphic design tools and playing with pixels, but rather more about understanding users and creating pleasing experiences for them.
In UX Design (i.e., User Experience Design), the role of a designer is to solve problems and make sure the user has a great experience. What does this mean? Imagine you need to order pizza using a delivery app. The entire experience — opening the app, choosing a restaurant, browsing the menu, selecting an item to order, paying for the item, and getting the food delivered — is a user experience that a designer has carefully curated. Users expect standards, speed, and convenience, and it’s up to a UX Designer to be in charge of this. Your role as a UX designer is to find out what the customers want by talking to them and gathering data on their journey. If you want to retain your users (customers), you have to give them what they want – sometimes without them even realizing.
Being a designer is most suitable for someone who enjoys talking to people, gets excited about solving problems, and likes working cross-functionally with different teams. Having a creative mind is a plus if you want to be a full-stack designer and create digital products and interfaces, but it’s not a requirement.
During the pandemic, many businesses have turned to digital tools to boost their marketing activities. Today’s customers are adapting to the online world and spend more time than ever before on their devices. This is where marketers should be spending their time too. If you are still only running traditional marketing, now is the time to upskill and go digital, to reach customers who could buy your products or services if they see you while online.
As a digital marketer, you should be able to understand analytics, so you can evaluate and optimize your digital campaigns. These campaigns can vary from setting up social media, to advertising articles you’ve written (content marketing), to running paid ads to ensure your potential customers see you on Google while searching for related topics. There is a wide range of marketing activities you can run digitally — and the beauty is that you can measure them and attribute your revenues to the right channel, to see where you’re getting the best return on your investment (ROI).
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Data Analytics + Data Science
Tech companies have become increasingly dependent on people who are wizards with data. Every tech company collects data about its users in order to analyze user behavior, and in turn, improve the company’s products. Remember, the data I am talking about here is the good type of data – it’s not personal or sensitive – and actually helps a company understand how their users interact with their products. This is where a data analyst or scientist comes into play.
Your role as a data analyst is to analyze the information collected about customers, and give suggestions on improvements – whether advising a new product launch or suggesting a change to an existing process. If you enjoy working with spreadsheets, data tools, and charts, or enjoy math and statistics, you should absolutely explore these data fields. Data science and analytics are not as widely known in the Czech Republic, but with more and more tech companies popping up, you’ll be incredibly well positioned if you have this skill set while the field becomes hotter and hotter in the near future.
TIP: If you dabble with data today, but want to take your skills to the next level and become an official data analyst or data scientist, check out the Femme Palette IT mentoring program and get paired with an experienced data scientist!
You may have heard that software engineering is the field of the future. With so many new tech companies out there, there is always demand for great engineers. In this field, you can focus on front-end development, where you work with designers and create interfaces for websites and products — i.e., the parts that people physically see and interact with. Or you can work in back-end development, where you make sure things connect the way they are supposed to behind the scenes (e.g., when someone enters a login name and password, you ensure you’ve set everything up so that the login works, and the correct information is sent back to the user).
The software engineering field is dominated by men today, so female engineers have a huge opportunity to step up and showcase their skills – female engineers are really in demand! If this field sounds appealing to you, don’t be intimidated. If you enjoy logic and problem solving, you absolutely have what it takes to pursue this career. And the tech world will thank you for it because it desperately needs more diversity.
TIP: Are you considering a career in IT but don’t know where to start? The Femme Palette IT mentors can discuss their career paths with you, providing inspiration, and guiding you towards the right resources.
Finally, product management is an exciting, cross-functional area. Product managers (PMs) help engineers, designers, and stakeholders work together more effectively and efficiently to launch world-class products. Product managers make sure everyone working to build a product is on the same page, and serve as a liaison between different teams.
Product managers also help shape the future of a company, gathering data and input from users and stakeholders in order to decide which features should be built next. As product managers, communication skills are critical, as you have to negotiate often with different teams about the scope and delivery of a project. If you have experience in design, data, or engineering, you already have a leg up, since your work in these areas will make you a more empathetic product manager.
TIP: Interested in breaking into Product Management? Ask the Femme Palette mentors from productboard, a tool for product managers, about how to become a great PM.
There’s never been a better time to build up your skillset, especially in the digital areas discussed above. All of these skills are in huge demand, and this demand will only grow and grow. The best part about these skills is that you don’t need an actual university or graduate degree to showcase your talents — rather, your portfolio and projects speak for themselves, and hiring managers will specifically ask to see these work samples.
To get started in your learning endeavors, the internet is full of free articles, videos, and books that you can dive into and start learning on your own. In addition, there are some excellent online boot camps out there to help you learn (e.g., Springboard). As a self-taught designer, I have been in your shoes, and I know that getting started can be intimidating — but you can absolutely make the transition just like I did. And if you ever need extra help, advice, or guidance, we would be more than happy to help you at Femme Palette.