It’s no more breaking news that we are now living in a digital era, but what seems to be new to most people is the opportunity that is equally available to us all, which is created by digital advancement.

There are vast opportunities out there in the online world today than you can imagine, there are opportunities for anyone with the right attitude to thrive in the kind of world that we are living in today, a world that is interconnected and influenced by computers and digital enabled tools and resources.

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To be able to seize some of these opportunities that are available to all of us today, you need to equip yourself with the right sets, mindset, toolset and skillset that are viable and in demand in the time and age we live in.

These days, the marketplace (customers or employers) doesn’t care if you are just a nice person with good intentions or if you have a first-class degree in your discipline, in today’s digital age the marketplace favours mostly those with skills to create and add value, people who can get result with available digital tools and resources.

The marketplace is more interested in people who can bring results to the table, these days the marketplace is less interested in the theory that we were taught or are being taught in schools, the marketplace is more interested in those that can implement those theories, unfortunately, our school system barely teaches us the right skills to implement.

To stand a chance of thriving in the marketplace today skills are what we need, skills make you more valuable in the labour market or any other kind of market.

If you develop the right set of skills you will become productive and valuable to yourself as a business owner, entrepreneur or to your employer as someone on the career path.

There are lots of great skills we need to be productive and valuable in the marketplace today, but we are going to be looking at the top 5 in my list, my pick was based on what is sellable and viable in the era we are living in today, digital era.

Here are they:

Programming Skills

Programming has to do with organising sequences of codes to create a program that can interpret functions of hardware that makes human life easier and happier.

This skill is one of the top in-demand in the labour market today. We are living in a digital era and lots of people are using digital devices and tools. Current research shows that about 66.2 per cent of the entire world population are active internet users.

What this means is that more people will need smart devices to do smart things and more machine interpreters (programs) will be needed to help people do smart stuff with digital tools and resources.

This is where the opportunity lies for someone with programming skills, if you can create a program that can make people’s life easier, entertain people or help people save costs, you will win.

Here is one idea that I’m thinking about right now when it comes to programming.

In a country like Nigeria, most elderly people live in the rural town of the country and they are always the last people to experience technological innovation.

This means, in a few years from now (as at the time of writing this post) our mothers and grandmothers will be using some of the smartphones we are using today, opportunity is available for programmers that can create apps that will make it easier for aged people in rural towns in many African countries to be able to easily use smartphones. The opportunity here for programmers is just in areas of making phones easy to be used by elderly people, so such programs or apps will be something that aligns with the lifestyle of people living in a particularly rural area of the country.

Many people shy away from programming mostly because it has to do with numbers.

Another myth most people have about programming is that it’s for the male gender not something for the female gender, but these are just myths, programming can be done by anybody young or old, male or female.

And about the idea of it dealing with numbers, it is not really how most people think of it.

Programming these days is about following certain sets of rules, you are not inventing the code or alphanumerics needed to set up a structure, in most cases, it’s about you following a certain rule (programming language) and sorting the alphabets and numbers (alphanumeric) orderly, to create the instructions which the programs or App follows.

Programming is a learnable skill.

The marketplace is looking for those who can maximize production and minimize wastage including time.

If you can write a program or develop an APP that can help solve most people’s or organizations’ problems, you will set your policy and price in the market.

Digital Marketing Skills

Digital Marketing is one of the industries in the world that offers vast opportunities for those who know how to use digital tools to get the right message, product and services to the right people at the right place and time.

More than half of the world is connected by the internet and individuals, business and organisations are moving their operations online.

world internet growth

Even though here in Africa we are slow with the adaptation process, the online world is already here.

Today you can get anything you want from the comfort of your bedroom, although trust is still a major challenge.

Digital advancements are changing our lifestyle, and this lifestyle change is also changing how marketing is done, if anyone or any business is still focused only on the old ways of marketing, traditional marketing, the person or business is already leaving money on the table.

Digital Marketing skills, which is knowing how to use digital tools and resources to reach the right people for your ideas, products or services, is one skill that is essential to surviving in this digital era.

If you have digital marketing skills, not only are you going to help business set their presence online, but you can also build or develop your brand or career with this very skill.

The good news is that digital marketing skill is learnable.

Almost everybody is signed up to one or two social media out there; part of digital marketing skills is knowing the tools that are available on most of the social media platforms you are already using, and knowing how to use them to reach the right kind of people for your ideas, products and services.

It also includes getting to know how the world wide web works and how to use it with other related tools like email, blogs, search engines and so on, to sell whatever you have to offer.

Writing Skills

I was able to write this post because I have been nurturing my writing skills for a while now, if you are still reading this, it means you found it valuable.

Isn’t it amazing to know that we can speak to someone, without being physically present?

The ability to communicate with people through writing is a valuable and saleable skill.

We are all writers anyway, if you can combine letters into meaningful words, you are a writer.

But when I mean writing skills, I’m not talking about just the ability to combine letters into meaningful words, that can be done by anybody who has mastered the spelling and grammar of a language.

When I’m talking about writing skills, I’m talking about the intentional kind of writing, I’m talking about putting ideas, opinions, and solutions behind words, and I’m talking about the ability to combine words that will form valuable content, this is what I call intentional kind of writing, the writing that is done not because you want to say something but because you have something to say, this is the kind of writing skills that are in demand.

Writing skills will enable you to sell your ideas, and by putting yourself in the right spotlight, it will enable you to sell your products and services effectively.

Writing skill is also learnable. before now I never thought it will be possible for me to become a writer, I had this belief that writing is for smart people, but everything changed when I decided to write regardless of my beliefs, and with the help of some heroes, today I’m able to write this post you are reading.

Writing skills can be one of the most viable skills you will learn in your life.

Innovative Thinking Skills

Innovative or creative thinking is what gives birth to new ideas, new concepts, new technologies, it’s all about rethinking things.

It’s about thinking of better ways of doing things, you don’t have to invent a new technology or concept, you can modify how existing ones are being used.

That is innovation and that is creativity.

Innovative or creative thinking is all about thinking outside the box, thinking differently, it’s more about looking at things differently, It is also about performing what one of my best writers calls “idea s*x”, combining two or more ideas to form one idea.

It’s about observing your environment and being able to identify two objects or ideas, put them together to come up with products or services that will add value to people’s lives in any way possible.

For example, the internet is there, your digital camera or smartphone is there, and you are also here having lots of ideas or solutions of how some things should be done better.

You can pull your digital camera and yourself together to make a video addressing the problem or sell your idea, and then put it out there for the whole world, that is creative.

Businesses today are looking for people who will help them reinvent their operations, people who will give them a new perceptive in this digital era, people who will help them minimize cost and maximise profit, if you can learn to do any of these, you will set your price in the market place.

Adaptability Skills

There’s a quote that says “old ways don’t open new doors” I believe this can help us understand why we need to be adaptable.

It’s one thing to dedicate time and learn programming or digital marketing, or writing skill, and it’s another thing to be updated on the latest happenings in your industry

Having adaptable skills is about knowing the latest trend, latest tools, latest techniques in your industry and environment, this skill will help you be on the top front of innovation.

One thing that is constant in life is change, tools will change, methods of doing things will change, new strategies will be formed, the set of technology you use this year is not the one you will probably use in the next 2 years. The design, the colour, the theme you see on social media this month, might not be what you will see in the next two months, six months or even a year.

They are always updating, new features are being added, new gadgets are being manufactured, new tools are being developed, new ways are being discovered.

For example, Apple, Google and other companies are investing heavily to perfect a self-drive car in the nearest future, this is how fast technologies are changing.

Being able to adapt as quickly as possible to changing technologies, tools and methods will help you seize more opportunities in the marketplace.

When you are adaptable, you will be able to guide late adopters to transiting to new innovations, and that is where all the opportunities lie.

Final thoughts

like I said earlier, these are not all about the skills you need in the marketplace, but these are some of the skills that can reposition you for success in the long run and the demand for these skills is not hoping to decrease any soon.

All the skills mentioned above are learnable, the first step to starting on any of them is to understand how valuable the skill will be to you when you learn it, if you do, you will have enough motivation to create time out of your busy day to commit to learning one or more of these skills, it might take you months or even years to learn any of them, but trust me it will be worth it.

Which skills are you going to start learning today? Please share in the comment section.

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Emmanuel Onyewuchi

Emmanuel Onyewuchi aka Digitalchuksemma is an Ex Computer Engr/Instructor turned Digital Mentor, a minimalist, Wished to be a father to 3 Kids from a loving wife. He founded the Digital Optimizers Hub in 2021 to fix the problem of an outdated educational system and lack of ICT and digital adaptability by young Africans. He has thought hundreds and Thousands of students ICT and digital skills in the classroom and online. Currently, he is the CEO and Lead Trainer at Learnvale,com, the new school online for the next breed of digital optimizers and is on the mission to help 100,000 people optimize digital tools and resources to build a thriving business that enables a freedom lifestyle.