Incredible women from Google, SAP, PwC and Girl Develop It share insights on why digital education is so important, and the programs their companies have launched to enable the future.

What You Need To Know About “Digital Upskilling”

Author: Mia Shaw
"Do what is great" written on a computer screen
Photo by Martin Shreder on Unsplash

The growth of technology is exploding. With this constant evolution, 76% of CEO’s said they were worried their employees didn’t have the right set of skills to be successful and help the company grow in the future, according to a survey by PwC.

There are many companies who are paving the way by introducing innovative ways to educate and empower all people with skills to face the technological world in which we live. Incredible women from Google, SAP, PwC and Girl Develop It came together at the Girls’ Lounge at Advertising Week to share insights on why digital education is so important, and the programs their companies have launched to enable the future.

What Is “Digital Upskilling”?

Providing opportunities for your workforce to retrain or learn new skills is vital to the success of any company. Several major companies have introduced programs that educate their employees in important digital skills, or “digital upskilling,” allowing their workforce to keep pace with innovations.

“[Our job is to] future proof our workforce,” says Sarah McEneaney, Digital Talent Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). “Nobody will be able to hire out of this problem. We are all going to have our jobs and organizations changed in the next five to 10 years. At PwC we tackle this problem by investing in our people…we have a commitment to upskill all 50,000 [employees].”

Many people see “digital skills” as important only for those who want to work in the tech world, but almost every job today requires you to have at least some tech skills. “Increasingly all jobs are requiring some aspect of digital savviness,” says Jesse Haines, Director of Grow with Google. “It’s important we recognize digital skills broadly.”

In the Girls’ Lounge at Advertising Week.

Making Digital Education Accessible

Companies are aiming to level the technology playing field across the board by also emphasizing the importance of sharing digital knowledge and educating all people, including students and communities at large.

“We need every single person to understand what technology can give us,” says Ann Rosenberg, SVP & Global Head, SAP Next-Gen. “…I’m sending out innovation programs every week around the world…education is not just in universities… in any community you can bring in education.”

Grow with Google, for example, offers free training, tools and events to help you grow your skills in order to help you in your career, with programs that focus on IT and digital basics. Google has been bringing these programs across America for the past year. “We’ve been thinking about this ever-increasing digital world we live in,” says Jesse of Google. “Students are coming out of school lacking the digital knowledge you need in the workforce…we’ve taken this training program and made it available to everyone.”

Girl Develop It, an organization that teaches adult women to code in 60 cities across America, believes it’s never too late to learn. “[We] focus on adults today so people can empower the next generation…people will learn something from each other,” says Corinne Warnshuis, Executive Director of Girl Develop It. “The goal [is] really: empowering women to have a space where they can learn and ask questions in a community setting…Take a basic class. Don’t let that lack of understanding keep you getting started. It’s important to not feel so left out and just get into it.”

Shattering the Glass in Tech

The stereotype that tech is a male-dominated industry is being shattered, and more female representation in tech is slowly starting to change the dynamics. “We’re seeing so many women,” says Jesse.

Corinne of Girl Develop It agrees. “We touched on the stereotypes that are so pervasive over the years that have really kept women out of technology…[At Girl Develop It,] they know that these skills are learnable and that you have support.”

More women may become attracted to the industry as they see the human side of tech. For example: “[Tech] is not the ‘IT guy]’…IT is a global profession that pays well and is about problem solving and helping other people,” says Jesse. “With women teaching the [IT] course [at Google]…we see a lot of uptake in this particular program among women.”

The road ahead may be changing, but you can find your way by being a lifelong learner and actively seeking out opportunities to advance your technological savviness. For more on stretching yourself, check out:

Is Your Company Fit For The Future?

Female Trailblazers on Being The First

Fearless and Personal: How Brave Storytelling Paves The Way For Equality