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Skills for Success: Digital

The Government of Canada’s Skills for Success model defines digital as “your ability to use digital technology and tools to find, manage, apply, create, and share information and content.”


Technical know-how has become a must-have in the modern workplace. Digital technology has changed the way we complete routine tasks, solve problems, and communicate. Not only do most jobs require digital literacy, but there are more new technologies every day. Learning all the time is the new normal.

Digital is one of the 9 skills identified in the Government of Canada’s Skills for Success model. Launched in 2021, this model updates the original Essential Skills framework to reflect changes in the Canadian labour market and the modern workplace.

Technology has changed almost every part of our personal lives. We use digital skills to connect with friends, shop, bank, request health care, and find entertainment.

What does digital include?

The Skills for Success model divides digital skills into 6 components:

  1. Use digital devices, such as computers, tablets, smartphones. Know and use the basic functions and terms common to most devices.
  2. Use common digital tools to complete tasks. Select the software, mobile applications, and other digital tools that you need. Use assistive technologies when you need to.
  3. Use digital information. Find your way around websites and documents, carry out digital searches, and judge what sources you can trust. Store and organize digital information on your computer.
  4. Use online tools and platforms. Communicate online, using social media platforms, information-sharing platforms, and fillable forms.
  5. Apply safe and responsible practices online. Understand how to protect data and devices from online threats using passwords and virus protection software. Use appropriate language and behaviour online.
  6. Update and upgrade your skill set. Be open to learning new programs and applications that may be useful to you.

Measuring digital skills

Your proficiency level is a measure of how able you are to complete tasks of different difficulty levels. As you improve your digital proficiency, you are able to:

  • Use the different functions of familiar and new digital devices.
  • Find and use relevant and reliable online information.
  • Stay safe online and keep your digital skills up to date.

For digital, the Skills for Success model defines 3 levels of proficiency: entry, intermediate, and advanced. Here are examples of digital tasks that you might do at each level:

  • Entry level. You can use a computer or smartphone to send emails and find information like weather reports, driving directions, and sports scores.
  • Intermediate level. You can download apps for making online banking transactions, identify credible websites, and use tools like word processing software.
  • Advanced level. You can customize and troubleshoot digital devices and information technology systems. You can enhance your own online safety and keep your own digital skills up to date.

Digital skills in action

Digital technology is the focus of software engineers, computer service technicians, and data administrators. Technology is also gaining ground in most industries. Here are some examples of how people in different occupations use these skills:

  • Architectural technologists use computer-assisted design to create detailed construction drawings and models.
  • Automotive technicians use digital tools to identify problems in partially automated vehicles.
  • Librarians develop and maintain online databases, web pages, and tutorials. They help people to navigate digital resources.

Digital strategies

As you build your skills in digital technology, keep these tips in mind:

  • Be ready for constant learning. Of all the Skills for Success, digital is evolving the fastest. People and businesses in almost every field will need to keep up.
  • Be mindful of the impression you create online. Manage your social media identity. Digital footprints last a long time.
  • Motivate your learning by matching digital tools to your interests. Are you passionate about a hobby? Take part in an online discussion group—it’s an easy way to build your web skills.
  • Use technology selectively. Save your time and energy—before you adopt a new technology, make sure it fits your goals.
  • Beware of digital overload. With the internet always at our fingertips, it’s easy to spend too much time online. Stay active, get outside, pursue real-world hobbies, and keep up in-person connections.

Helpful resources

Online learning courses

Improve your core skills at home by taking online courses. Online learning offers courses covering a wide range of topics, and some platforms offer free courses or free trials. Find out what your options are by searching these online learning sites for the skills you want to build:

Check out these resources to help you test and build your digital know-how:

Explore the Skills for Success model

Although particular skills may be more important in some jobs than others, all 9 skills in the Skills for Success model are needed for most occupations. These skills are not just about work—they come into play throughout our lives, forming a foundation for other technical and life skills, knowledge, and relationships.

Learn about the other skills for success:

Skills for Success: Digital Skills (1:01)

Digital technology has changed the way you work, find information, solve problems, and communicate. Most jobs now require digital skills to support skills such as reading, writing, and numeracy. Digital skills help you keep up with changes in the modern workplace and in your daily life.

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