It’s widely assumed that the generation of 18 to 30 year olds are all tech-savvy. Often, my friends will say they are, but if I delve a bit deeper I find that their skills aren’t as advanced as they believe.
When I started up Tech Coach HQ in March last year, it was to help businesspeople who needed to update their tech skills. I noticed that the digital divide was growing wider, especially among women.
The divide existed not just in operating day to day technology, such as online tools, but also in skills such as managing mobile devices.
“People need to be tech savvy to be relevant in a tech heavy world”
I reached out to my followers on social media to see what they thought. There were a variety of responses—for example, @katiehage: “People need to be tech savvy to be relevant in a tech heavy world”. Or another from @taylorman_mandy: “They will be redundant in their roles, if they don’t become ‘tech savvy’”.
This isn’t simply a female problem. There are also many men who are bluffing their way through this new digital landscape.
Why is it so hard for people to adopt new technology?
- Fear of the unknown. Who knows what could happen if something goes wrong?
- The speed at which technology is changing. It can be overwhelming when you have to learn how to use new operating systems, or even new mobile devices, on a regular basis.
- Inconvenience. Getting used to a new system and processes, whether for personal or business use, takes time and effort. It will be slow and sometimes frustrating as you adapt. I love working with my clients to make those tech headaches not so insurmountable.
What are the benefits of being tech-savvy?
Being tech-savvy opens doors, especially for women returning to work after a long break
- Employment. Being tech-savvy opens doors, especially for women returning to work after a long break. This was definitely the case for me, after having two daughters. It opened doors for employment in areas that previously would not have been available to other, less skilled mothers returning from maternity leave.
- Learning. There is a wealth of knowledge online, if you know where to look. The approach that I take is ‘infowhelm’. Yes, the amount of information can be overwhelming, but I take the view that I can process it later (and break it down into small chunks first).
For example, I use LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Scoop.It, and YouTube to find new articles and videos, and for my research. There are also online courses available through sites such as Udemy.
- Save time, money (and even stress). There are some circumstances where technology has definitely made my life more productive (therefore saving time and money). I am much more organised with my finances, time management and note-taking via my iPad. This has enabled me to focus on the things that I enjoy.
For example, I use Evernote as my digital organiser, Informant Pro for my calendar and list of things to do, and Expensify to keep track of receipts.
- Mobile and Internet Banking. This saves a lot time when managing a business, or even a household, as you can manage your money and pay your bills online.
- Cloud Computing. You can back up your data on the internet, so you can still access it from another computer. There is also software available through the internet, which saves you from needing to install specific programs.
I know of some friends who refuse to use anything that is ‘stored on the Internet’. The biggest problem is that software and data storage is shifting to a cloud base (and this is not going to go away any time soon).
What can I do about it?
The solution lies with developing one skill at a time. Take lessons, ask questions, and most importantly, make an effort to use the skill in your everyday life, whether at home or at work.
In 2014, everyone needs to learn tech skills and tools that will help them in their professional lives. Being a digital ostrich (that is, ignoring technology) will leave you struggling to keep up with the increased productivity and efficiency of others who know how to make technology work for them. My mission in 2014 with Tech Coach HQ is to empower women (and men!) globally to be comfortable with the vast range of technology available, and to use it to their advantage.
If you are not willing to learn
No one can help you
If you are determined to learn
No one can stop you.
Featured image: J. Paxon Reyes