<img src="https://secure.leadforensics.com/133892.png" alt="" style="display:none;">

Digital skills are in high demand in the digital era, but it is important not to forget about the professionalism. Skills are built, change and become redundant over time, while professional experience and subject knowledge can be used to build crucial digital skills

Many employees in companies nervously sit on their chairs these years. They constantly hear about digitalization, new technologies and disruption, and that digital natives and millennials will take over their jobs in the future. 

It is true that digital skills are essential in this digital era, but that is not the full story.

I am the leader of an IT-services company, which specializes in developing digital solutions for our customers, while we are in the progress of digitally transforming our own company. Some of our most important employees in this transformation are in no way digitally native. Instead, they have a vast knowledge in economy, logistics and mathematics, which enables us to build big data solutions. These solutions are crucial for our customers to use data to develop their business.

My point is that an employee might be at the forefront digitally but without the professional experience and subject knowledge, the digital skills will at some point run short.

There is no doubt that artificial intelligence, big data and IoT will be booming in the next couple of years. Therefore, in order to be a competitive and attractive employee, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with the new technology and start building digital skills. But technology develops so fast that it is not a requirement to master all technologies. On the contrary, it is more important to have a solid knowledge base in your subject, to which you can add and develop digital skills.

Another example showing the importance of deep subject knowledge is the pension sector, which is 40 years old and has a very complex legislation. In this sector, there will always be a need for profound professionalism. The knowledge employees have in this area cannot be replaced by digital designers. However, it is possible to simplify the communication and processing of retirement pensions by using digital skills. This example proves that the combination of digital skills and professional knowledge create concrete social value.

Therefore, my advice to future employees is to:

  • Make sure you establish a solid knowledge base in your respective subject and think about where it can add value in the digital era.
  • Familiarize yourself with the most important technologies in your area of work, and focus on customer value and concrete use.
  • Be curious about new technologies and new ways of working. Maybe it can make your job easier.

Future employees do not need to be digitally native. Digital skills are not interesting in itself. It is only when we start combining subject knowledge and digital skills that we can deliver true results.

Read more thought leadership from Columbus CEO Thomas Honore


Discuss this post

Recommended posts

Even if you weren't born into the digital world, you can still join the digital journey. It's all about getting ready for the future, so you can become one of the winners. In short, it is about becoming a digital ninja within your field. In medieval Japan, the Ninjas were the Samurais’ counterparts. The Samurai was an honorable official soldier, while the Ninja was a mercenary who served alternate magistrates. The Ninjas were known for their high, and sometimes unconventional, level of competence. They were the best in what they did, and the enemies feared their sharp skills. They would train for years and years to master even the smallest details, and they developed their competences throughout their lives.
The glaring gender disparity in the technology sector is apparent, but many leaders are working hard to bridge this gap and push the agenda on workplace diversity. Three female leaders – Karina Kirk, Mary Hunter and Marianne Woldbye Tholin – from Columbus, a listed IT services and consulting company, discuss their career journeys and what women in tech means to them.
Many companies mistakenly believe that disruption is about being on the cutting edge of technology. However, disruption is about ambitions and the power of action. Disruption was introduced by the American professor Clayton Christensen for about 20 years ago. One of his main points is that old companies do not have a chance, because they are bound by obligations to their existing customers, and therefore they will be devoured by new and innovative players. Although Clayton Christensen is probably right that it’s hard to disclaim experience and unlearn the truth of the past, I disagree with his opinion. I do not think that businesses are bound by their obligations to customers, but by their inability to execute strategies and plans.  Many companies lack the power of action, and this is the reason why they fade and lose their momentum. On a daily basis, I am responsible for Columbus, and even though we are not the world’s largest company, I must say that one of our challenges is to implement the changes we all know are necessary – both in the short term and in the long term. In Columbus, we have a clear and common understanding of why we need to change, and also which way we are heading. We can see the new threats in the binoculars, and we read the same market and trend analysis as our competitors. We also know what we need to do in order to achieve our goals, and we usually have good action plans. This way, we are probably not very different from other companies. We also experience that even the best plan is not being executed, and therefore we miss significant opportunities and earnings. When disruption threatens the company, which is does to many businesses today, the challenge aggravates. If one competitor – new or old – suddenly finds new ways of doing things, which puts your company under extreme pressure, it is important to muster all the power of action, as we possibly can.
right-arrow share search phone phone-filled menu filter envelope envelope-filled close checkmark caret-down arrow-up arrow-right arrow-left arrow-down