From education to employment

Tech Skills Students Should Have for the Workplace

Marie Johnson

2020’s COVID-19 pandemic abruptly introduced many parents, children and educators to the world of remote learning and work. Schools rushed to teach students the ins and outs of @Zoom_US and @Skype classes,and many parents were forced into work-from-home policies or completely laid off.

However, even before the pandemic’s urgent need for technology, it has played a major role in both the academic and professional environments. 

Students were already learning elite tech skills many employers highly value. Given the impact that technology has on students and the interest that employers have for tech-focused skills, there are some specific skills that students should learn when entering the workforce. 

Coding Skills

Computers are a vital part of virtually every industry, meaning the ability to code is a highly sought-after skill. Proper coding skills, whether taught in the classroom or online, give students an advantage for scholarships, college admissions and their success in the workforce. 

Jobs that involve coding also have a tendency to pay well. It’s estimated that the average entry-level salary for a computer science major is £25,000. Of course, this salary goes up as young employees gain experience and networking skills.

However, coding goes further than just computer programming.  Industries that can require coding in everyday work include graphic design, freelancing, content marketing, entrepreneurship, data analytics and more. Even more careers will require coding proficiency in the future, so this is a critical skill for all students to learn. 

Automation Software

Similar to coding, automation is considered by many to be the way of the future. More specifically, growing technology like Robotic Process Automation can automate many workplace processes. Common business functions that need automating include customer service chats, accounting and bookkeeping functions, back-office tasks, human resources functions and more.

Luckily, RPA can be helpful in each of those categories causing companies to become more efficient and productive. Given that automation will likely be a part of a range of tech companies in the near future, students that already understand how automation works and how to use it will have a leg up in their job search. 

Thankfully, many companies and online learning services offer free or low-cost automation seminars and classes to introduce students and teachers to the concepts behind RPA. Courses like these could be assigned in the classroom or presented to students as an optional activity to do outside of the classroom. Many colleges and universities also offer automation training sessions and degrees in related fields as well. 

Excellent Writing Skills 

Although it doesn’t have a direct connection with technology, being a proficient writer is still a very important skill to have within the field of technology. Most companies now have a website and corresponding blog, which needs writers for its content. Also, given that many employers use email as a primary form of communication, all employees must be able to write an easily understood, professional email.  

However, there are more benefits to great writing skills than a good job. Good writing skills are also a critical part of entrance exams, college application, resume writing, cover letter writing and getting high grades during school. The ability to clearly communicate is also a helpful life skill in any situation. 

Office Suite Software 

Proficiency in using office suite software is a very important skill for the modern workforce as well. These programs, such as Google Drive and Microsoft Office Suite, can perform a variety of functions in any workspace. Even jobs that don’t require an apprenticeship or degree will often require expertise in the use of an office suite program. 

This is especially true of spreadsheet software programs like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. Spreadsheet software is often used in careers like retail management, bookkeeping and secretarial work. Also, as remote work options become available in many different fields, these software suites are useful for collaborating with co-workers. In a case such as the current work-from-home environment, the inability to use these programs proficiently will directly affect the success of a student within the workforce. 

In today’s constantly changing world, the skills needed for students to be competitive in the workforce are significantly different from those twenty,ten or even five years ago. Educators that offer these skills to their students have the opportunity to positively impact the students’ futures. Students that realize the potential in technological advancements have the opportunity to teach themselves a skill that could give them a huge advantage in the modern workplace.

Marie Johnson

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