Why does being Digitally Skilled matter to a country like Uganda?
With various calls from different people and organizations and the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance encouraging the youth to take advantage of Information and communication technologies aiming at leveraging the power of ICT and Technology to build solutions small and big that can support and improve lives of people.
There is a growing recognition especially in cities like Kampala, Entebbe, Mukono, Jinja, Mbale, Mbarara, Fort Portal to mention but a few of the importance of digital literacy for students, workers and different individuals in various sectors in an increasingly digital economy.
This can also be seen by how our women are encouraged to join local tech communities initiating programs like Andela Women in Tech, PyLadies, with the aim to promote inclusiveness, as there is a need to bridge the digital divide irrespective of gender.
Focusing on digital literacy as it pertains to the changing nature of work, drawing upon Uganda and research within and the best practices in order to define digital literacy, the skills it comprises and its importance. I have pulled insights mainly from educational and pedagogical research and work on technology.
My Suggestions for improving Digital Literacy.
- We need to encourage individual citizens to study and learn how to learn efficiently in technology-rich environments, formal and informal.
- Organizations should please avoid digital literacy programmes as being “yet another thing” for staff, it would be more useful if they can be linked with other rewarding initiatives and woven into existing processes internally as well.
- Together, let us get people talking about why being digital literate is important, let us encourage discussions about supporting individuals with digital skills and practices and the associated impact it would have on staff roles within organizations. This will help to increase awareness of digital literacy programmes that are currently being run across the country and encourage more people to support the movement.
What then would you say Digital Literacy means?
Although the meaning of digital literacy can vary greatly by source, digital literacy encompasses 21st Century skills related to the effective and appropriate use of technology.
To keep things simple, let’s narrow the field to one definition. The American Library Association (ALA) defines digital literacy as “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.”
Looking at Uganda with this digital literacy definition as a guiding light, it is important to understand that even digital natives who know how to send a text and post to social media are not considered “digitally literate” by any means.
I am certain that with increase in expertise in ICT, the youth will have the tools they need to distinguish themselves in the competitive global economy.
Featured Image; Source. By Timothy Wasike at Marriott Hotel Kigali Rwanda .
In 2017, I wrote about work from home predictions for the year 2020 and how there was going to be over a million and a half open jobs in the ICT industry. I can tell you for certain that the happenings this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic was one billions of people did not see happening. A lockdown for more than half a year in almost all countries around the globe, companies big and small forced to embrace the remote working culture. If anything, 2020 has taught us that we need to be ever prepared for the growing jobs in the ICT industry.
Are you prepared?
The team at CareerKarma have this (👇🏾) to say about the massive job loss millions of people experienced this year and I have to agree with them.
These are hard times for everyone. The onslaught brought about by the coronavirus pandemic has left millions around the world without a job or source of income as companies across the world go bust or are forced to shut down temporarily. Others are still working, but have suffered pay cuts. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be interested in this guide.
With some companies enabling remote work systems, some lucky ones have been able to continue working throughout the pandemic. These companies, the ones that have embraced remote work, for the most part belong to the tech industry, which is at the forefront of technological development.
In fact, jumping on the bandwagon of remote work and joining the tech sector are two fireproof ways of safeguarding your financial future. You may think it is hard to do either, but you would be wrong. The remote work trend is here to stay and the number of companies hiring remote employees is only going up. Learning skills that can be done remotely (such as web development or data analysis) is a wise decision.
Likewise, breaking into the tech sector may seem like a daunting task, but this is simply not the case anymore. Whereas obtaining a four-year computer science degree used to be the lowest bar to land your first job in the industry, now there are shorter and more economic ways.
I have to agree with the team at Career Karma here, even though most companies will go back to working from their office, it is plain obvious that the remote working culture will be the new normal going forward for most companies and individuals. If you are one of those looking to get started on taking advantage of this new way of working and the open jobs that are available in the tech sector, consider looking into some of the listed options that may afford you the opportunity to be able to work from home:
- Web Development, freecodecamp.org is free, begin from there.
- Soft Skills jobs such as Communications Manager, Specialist, Tech Advocate, People Management are on the increase
- User Experience or User Interface Design, you can start learning on Canva.com and work your way into more advanced tools
- Virtual Teaching, homeschooling became the norm this year, no one expected that, and some people are sticking with this option for their wards, what can you teach and teach very well? Let everyone in your network know. If you don’t have a personal website, get one now.
- Writing, freelance, grant, business proposal, ghost writing, proofreading, editing; this has always been in play and would go nowhere anytime soon. You can find this in places like Fiverr, Freelancer.com, Upwork.com
- Social Media Management, I talked about this here.
And if you are still wondering how you can use technology, or have questions, ask in the comments please.
Or tweet @ us!