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Are You Digitally Skilled?

When listening to a recent podcast, the guest being interviewed mentioned that he got to a stage in his career and noticed that he had stopped developing his skillset. He made an effort to start learning again, and in particular developing his "digital skillset". He now considers himself digitally competent and is encouraging others to do so. One of the hosts went on to admit he wasn't particularly tech savvy but felt he knew the basics. The other host said that he had always been a tech savvy type of person.

It was only after they had been chatting for some time before I actually understood what they considered to be tech savvy:

  • Reading blogs
  • Posting on LinkedIn
  • Producing your own blog with WordPress
  • Using a mailing list
  • Using a spreadsheet (simple formulas - nothing too complex)
  • Using a search engine to find how to do something

Basically being able to use different tools and applications. Being willing to play and tinker to get what you want. Not at the stage of building any tools or doing any coding yourself.

Going by their definition, I am definitely tech savvy. I have no problem with doing any of the above. I am willing to use ridiculously complex excel formulas just to save myself an extra click. I am tinker with the code of programs and applications others have built. I am even willing to build my own tools and programs on occasion.

The thing is, I don’t necessarily feel particularly tech savvy or digitally skilled. I feel like I know just enough about technology to be dangerous. I have lots of areas of general areas of knowledge, but I don’t have detailed knowledge of many areas. Almost any time I need to do something, I will spend time looking it up first. I will always be looking at work others have done to see how to do things.

As a result, I feel like the bloggers or forum posters that I refer to are the real tech savvy crowd. They are the ones that have true technical knowledge. If it weren't for their posts, I wouldn’t be able to do most of the things I do on a computer.

The thing is, I suspect most folk are like this. We all have some level of knowledge. With a very few exceptions, we are not and are never going to be the best at a particular skill. We can always find someone better. There is always someone else that we can look at and consider to be the true expert. If we spend our time always focusing on those experts, it is easy to forget that there may be others out there that consider us to be the experts.

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