Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Skills

Smiling freelancer sitting at desk in loft looking at laptop
••• Westend61 / Getty Images

Even though technology has increased how organizations can be more productive, many offices still waste time and resources. As such, employers need more staff members that already understand the full potential of communication technology software.

Only the best communicators really understand what efficient communication is and how new technologies should be used to make communication even more efficient. But it is not necessary for you to be knowledgeable about all productivity software that is out there.

What is most important is that you know how to properly collaborate with others and that you feel comfortable learning new things that make offices run better.

By communicating professionally, no matter what the technology, you will impress the employer with your skills.

What Is Information and Communication Technology (ICT)?

Information and communications technology (ICT) skills refer to one’s ability to converse with people through various technologies. Similar to information technology (IT), ICT refers to technology use for regular, everyday tasks: sending an email, making a video call, searching the internet, using a tablet or mobile phone, and more.

Ironically, ICT skills could also include the ability to use older communication technologies such as telephones, radios, and televisions. Typically, ICT experts are called upon to integrate old communication technology with the new technology. Almost every job requires some ICT skills, and many require hybrid skills, a skill set that is a mix of technical and non-technical skills.

Types of ICT Skills

Email Management and Setup

Being able to effectively and successfully communicate via email is critical to any job. You will need to send emails to colleagues, employers, clients, vendors, and so on. Companies expect their employees to write professional and well-written emails, as well as respond promptly to messages received in their inboxes.

Depending on the level of expertise required by your employer, you may also need to be able to manage settings or set up email accounts on various work devices.

  • MS Outlook
  • Gmail and G-Suite
  • SendinBlue Email
  • Groove
  • Front
  • Zoho Mail
  • Written Communication
  • Digital Signatures
  • Stationary Settings
  • Out of the Office Settings
  • Spam Settings
  • Inbox Management
  • Creating Rules

Online Research

Almost every job requires at least some online research. Whether you are looking up new lesson plans in a subject or checking out the latest news on your company’s competitor, you need to be able to sift through all the information online to find what you need. This involves basic online information management skills.

  • Search Engine Research
  • Checking Sources
  • Crediting Sources
  • FAQs
  • Online Forums

Social Media Management

Some jobs require you to use social media. For example, many people working in marketing tend to manage or update a company’s social media presence. Even if this is not a critical part of your job, employers increasingly look for employees with basic social media literacy. The more you know about the benefits of and limits to social media, the more you can begin to use that media in valuable ways at work.

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Social Media Groups

Online Collaboration

Online collaboration is a broad category that refers to any means of sharing information with your coworkers (or supervisors, or clients) online. This includes adding a meeting to a shared online calendar, providing feedback on a document through a web-based document application, and holding an online video conference with colleagues.

  • Video Conferencing Software
  • Skype
  • GoToMeeting
  • Instant Messaging
  • Google Docs
  • File Sharing
  • DropBox Pro
  • Slack
  • Google Hangouts

Data Management and Queries

From researchers to administrative assistants to K-12 teachers, almost everyone needs to be able to develop and manage data using spreadsheets. Furthermore, they have to be able to analyze that data and recognize trends and patterns. Fluency in programs like Microsoft Excel is critical in today’s job market.

  • MS Excel
  • Filters
  • SQL
  • NoSQL
  • MySQL
  • Quantitative Analysis

Desktop Publishing

Desktop publishing involves the creation of materials that need to be printed and distributed. These might include fliers, brochures, newsletters, and more. Because you can create so much using desktop publishing software, many jobs require you to have some basic skills in this field. While people with a creative, artistic eye might be particularly good at desktop publishing, anyone can get better with practice.

  • MS Publisher
  • MS PowerPoint
  • MS Word
  • Print Settings
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • QuarkXPress
  • com

Smartphones and Tablets

Many employers require that their employees use smartphones and tablets; they might even issue particular phones to employees or state that workers must have be accessible by email during certain hours. For these reasons, it is important to know how to use a smartphone.

  • iPhone
  • Samsung Smartphones
  • Blackberry Devices
  • iPad
  • Samsung Tablets
  • CAT S41
  • Panasonic ToughPad

Word Processing

In this day and age, it is expected that job candidates know how to use word processing technology. Candidates need to be able to produce written documents (including business letters, meeting minutes, and more) using a computer processor such as Microsoft Word.

  • MS Word
  • Libre Office Writer
  • Transcription
  • Typing
  • Note Taking

More ICT Skills

  • Calendar Management
  • Organization
  • Time Doctor
  • Asana
  • Invision
  • Prevue
  • Mailbird
  • Cage
  • Viewflux
  • Slab
  • Airtable
  • Yammer
  • Chanter
  • Scribus
  • Zeplin
  • Acquire
  • Concept Inbox
  • I Done This 2.0
  • Red Pen
  • LaTex
  • Iovox
  • Realtime Board
  • Mural
  • GoVisually
  • Data Analysis
  • Big Data
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Programming

How to Practice Your ICT Skills

Do you feel that your ICT skills are not as good as you want them to be? Is there a particular skill you are struggling with? Here are some tips to boost your skills and get ready for the job market:

  • Practice using technology. If you already have some of the basic skills listed above, you might consider simply using them more often. For example, if you want to get better at using Skype before an interview, simply practice using the video conferencing technology. Ask a friend to pretend to be the interviewer, and do a mock online interview. The more you practice, the more confident you will feel when you use this technology when it counts for the job.
  • Ask a friend. You could also ask a friend who is more skilled in a particular technology to help you develop your skills. For example, if you aren’t comfortable using your smartphone, ask someone you know (who uses their phone a lot) for some basic tips.
  • Watch a (free) tutorial. There are many free online tutorials on how to use certain technologies. Some of these are on YouTube or can be found via a quick Google search. Others can be found on company sites. For example, check out Microsoft’s tutorials and PDFs with tips for using certain products.
  • Attend a (free) class. Check with your local community college or public library to see if they offer classes on computer literacy or ICT skills. Many of these are free or available at a discount for local residents. However, before you spend money on a class, try some of the free strategies first.

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

Add Relevant Skills to Your Resume: If the position requires specific ICT skills, be sure to include those keywords in your job materials. You might create an “ICT Skills” section in your resume.

Highlight Skills in Your Cover Letter: Emphasize how you successfully used a particular technological skill to add value to your company in some way.

Use Skill Words in Your Job Interview: Employers are very interested in ways that you used the skills above in your previous jobs. Share examples of how you’ve used these skills.

Keep Your Skills Upgraded: After you’ve boosted your skills, don’t stop learning. Take some time on a regular basis to work on improving your skill set, and you will increase your ability to succeed in the constantly changing workplaces of today’s knowledge economy.