Digital and technical skills are becoming more necessary than ever for people looking to advance their career.

Share story

According to a recent study, digitally intensive jobs are growing at a rate two-and-a-half times faster than non-digital jobs and jobs requiring advanced digital skills offer 38 percent higher wages. Most people have heard of the term “information technology,” a discipline which tends to be broad and systems focused. In contrast, careers centered around “digital technology and cultures” focus on the human side of technology. Let’s take a look at the different types of careers the two areas of study have to offer.

Information technology

Information technology also is known as information systems or systems administration and is a term used to describe a broad set of skills used by IT professionals using things like existing operating systems, software and applications to solve specific business problems. Most IT professionals have expertise that focuses on taking care of both an organization’s information technology infrastructure and the people who use it.

Some professionals specialize in developing computerized databases, networks and other programs; these individuals are known as architects. Other IT professionals can serve as the administrators for these programs.

Job titles for someone who studied information technology include software developer, web developer, computer programmer, systems analyst and computer support specialist.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at web developers. A web developer is responsible for designing, coding and modifying websites, from layout to function, according to a client’s specifications. A web developer is also responsible for creating visually appealing sites that feature clear, user-friendly navigation.

There are different kinds of web developers, but a front-end web developer uses a combination of HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build everything a user sees and interacts with on a website — that includes everything from front-end features like fonts, sliders, drop-down menus and buttons, to the overall manner in which web content like photos, videos and articles is displayed in your browser.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment growth for front-end web developers to be 20 percent nationally between 2012 and 2022, which is almost twice the rate of average job growth. This role has a median salary of $58,000 per year, depending on experience, education and industry according to PayScale.

Become a front-end web developer

The skills for successful front-end web developers may include:

  • HTML/CSS
  • JavaScript/jQuery
  • Version Control/Git
  • Responsive Design
  • Testing/Debugging
  • Analytical skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving ability

Digital technology and cultures

Digital technology and cultures goes beyond information technology. Someone with a digital technology and cultures background will have the hard and soft skills valued by technical employers. These skills include research, collaboration, oral and written communication, and critical and creative thinking as well as the skills to use a variety of digital tools like Python, Tableau, Google Analytics, Hootsuite and Photoshop. People with a digital technology and cultures background explore and create in such areas as computational thinking, writing for the web, social media and data visualization.

Some possible job titles for graduates with a degree in digital technology and cultures include multimedia designer, social media manager, technical writer and web content manager.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at technical writers. A technical writer is responsible for taking complex subjects and technical jargon and writing about them in easy-to-understand terms for instructions, white papers, product descriptions and tutorials.

A technical writer typically works with a subject-matter expert to understand technical complexities, then determines what type of documentation needs to be created and who the audience will be. In today’s market, technical writers must be able to do all of this on digital platforms.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in technical writing is expected to grow by 10 percent nationally between 2014 and 2024, with a median salary of $70,000 per year, depending on experience, education and industry.

Become a technical writer

The skills for successful technical writers may include:

  • Design skills
  • Digital skills
  • Technical skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving ability

It is clear that digital and technical skills are becoming more necessary than ever for people looking to advance their career or wanting to further their education.

For more information about Seattle University’s School of New and Continuing Studies, please visit ncs.seattleu.edu.