Technology has changed how the world works, from communication in your personal life to how businesses are run. Technology has shown the importance of acquiring digital skills. This isn't only important for adults who are working in a digital world; it's vital for children as well.  Teaching the South African youth digital literacy is an effective way of tackling youth unemployment in our country. Technology may have its disadvantages, especially when it comes to children; however, its advantages can be worthwhile for a child growing up in a digital economy.  Because of digital transformation, traditional literacy is no longer enough. The youth need to be able to navigate, find employment or create work for themselves in a digital space. That requires young people to have the appropriate digital skills to be able to make something out of their lives.  Read below to know which digital skills are crucial in the fourth industrial revolution. 

Computer literacy 

Before the youth get into digital skills development, they need computer literacy skills. To empower the younger generation, digital literacy should be made a priority. Many children, especially those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and cannot afford to go to a school that offers computer literacy, fall behind. Youth empowerment cannot happen without it being made a priority and part of a curriculum. This will ensure that all young people can have the digital tools they need to better themselves. By making it a priority, it will ensure the youth is comfortable and knows their way around computer systems; word processing, database software, internet norms and any other form of digital communication. In turn, the youth will be able to grow their knowledge with more technical skills. 

Digital marketing 

The fourth industrial revolution has changed everything, and people have adapted to a digital world. Almost everything is sold online, and because there is a large online presence, many companies look into digital marketing to build their brand’s awareness. Digital marketing is an effective career choice that can help bring employment to the youth. The youth needs to acquire skills in content marketing, SEO, paid advertising, social media marketing, and user experience design (UX). Those are fields which will grow in the coming years and acquiring skills in those areas can help with South Africa’s youth unemployment rate. Because of digital transformation, digital marketing is here to stay, so it would be beneficial to the youth to venture into those career fields. 

Programming and web development

Programming will always be needed when it comes to technology, and it is a lucrative career. Having skills in Bootstrap, jQuery, Angular, Code Igniter, JavaScript, and MySQL will ensure the youth can secure their future, and can even help create more locally owned businesses. Businesses are constantly looking for programmers, web and app developers. This allows the youth to become self-employed, which in turn creates more jobs. When it comes to programming, there are online courses to learn for those who cannot afford tertiary education. These courses then close the gap as the youth will be able to acquire skills regardless of their financial situation.

Business intelligence and analytics

There has been an increased demand for data science professionals as businesses continue to grow in the online space. Business intelligence will help businesses capture important information about their clients, customers and market; helping them to create insights that will help their company. Having skills in data science and data analytics can help employ youth now and in the future. 

Cloud specialist 

Technology is a powerful tool with both its advantages and disadvantages. That being said, now more than ever, companies need to combat the threat of cybercrime, and this is where cloud specialists are needed. According to the Cloud Africa 2019 report, nine out of 10 companies have increased their spending on cloud computing. This shows an employment opportunity for the youth as it is reported that there will be significant growth in the next two years as well. 

Final thoughts 

There is still a long way to go when it comes to growing the digital economy in South Africa. However, technology is ever-changing, and the fourth industrial revolution requires the youth to have the necessary digital skills. For there to be an improvement in the youth unemployment rate, digital skills need to become a priority in South Africa. By making digital skills a priority, this ensures youth development jobs for the youth of today, and those of the future is possible.  Digital revolution is already happening with various businesses regardless of the industry, and it is, therefore, crucial that the youth is equipped with the skills to make a living in the digital age. 

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