209. Top 5 Career Skills for the Digital Age

career strategy digital transformation personal brand Jun 26, 2024

If you want to have a GREAT CAREER in the Digital Age, just being good at your job isn't enough.

Listen to this episode to learn the key skills every professional needs to thrive. 

This episode is for founders and employees.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How much to know about tech if you're not a technologist
  • How to make opportunities come to you
  • How to use this list to take the next step

Do you want to succeed in the Digital Age?

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Episode Transcript

Sophia Matveeva (00:00.11)
If you want to have a great career in the digital age, it's not enough to just be good at your job. You need to add new skill sets to what you already know to reach the top. Learn what these skills are and how to get them in this episode.

Sophia Matveeva (00:17.07)
Welcome to the Tech for our Techies podcast. I'm your host, tech entrepreneur, executive coach at Chicago Booth MBA, Sophia Matheira. My aim here is to help you have a great career in the digital age. In a time when even your coffee shop has an app, you simply have to speak tech. On this podcast, I share core technology concepts, help you relate them to business outcomes.

And most importantly, share practical advice on what you can do to become a digital leader today. If you want to have a great career in the digital age, this podcast is for you. Hello, smart people. How are you doing today? It is hot in London today. And in this episode, I want to focus on you, your career specifically. In this show, you're usually learning about tech trends and how they affect the business world.

But why are you doing this? You are doing this so you can have a great career. You are doing this so you can have a lucrative career and a career that leaves an impact. And today I'm going to share the five key skills that you need to have this great career today. The insights that I'm going to share with you are based on my years of coaching client through my digital leadership executive coaching program. The people who have gone through this program

were high achievers before they started working with me. And then this program just helped them get to the next level. So that sounds like you keep listening. The program and the episodes are useful for both employees and for entrepreneurs. And I have a task for you today. This is not just passive listening. I want you to listen and then I want you to pick one of the skills that I list and work on that skill for the next month. Use the insights that you get here to take action.

because what is insight without action? Well, it's pretty useless, isn't it? So as you're listening today, ask yourself, where am I strong and where am I weak? Congratulate yourself for the areas where you're strong because we have to celebrate our wins and then pick the weakest skill and work on it for just a month. Honestly, in just a month's time, you will be able to see some results in that area. And then you can listen to this episode again and pick another skill.

Sophia Matveeva (02:39.79)
Or if you're listening to this when it comes out in a month's time, it's going to be almost August. So you can take the European approach and take August off to lie on a beach and sip rosé. And I recommend this way of living. So let's start with skill number one to succeed in the digital age. This skill is something that you actually already have. Skill number one is your primary skill set or your unique insight. So for example, if you're a lawyer, this is going to be your knowledge of the law.

If you work in corporate strategy, then your skill set is going to be business strategy. If you are an entrepreneur, then you will have some unique insight into the market that other people don't have. And then that's going to be your primary skill set. So for me, my primary skill sets are knowledge of technology and knowledge of my audience. And my audience are smart, ambitious, non -technical professionals who are determined to have great careers in a business world changed by tech.

This insight is what allows me to build a business and create products that my customers will find useful. Because yes, they want to learn about technology, but this is not aimed at deep tech experts. So if you want to be the world's best cyber security expert, tech for non techies is probably not going to be relevant for you. And this also applies if you're a lawyer or an investor. So you have your main skill set and that skill set pays the bills. And in many cases, I cannot help you with your primary skill set.

But I've included it in this list today because I don't want you to neglect your primary skill set when you start learning other skills. Think of your main skill set like the bark of a tree and then the other skill sets are like the branches. And as you progress in your career, you will need to balance keeping your primary skill set updated and then adding knowledge on top of it. Your primary skill set will get you to a mid -level point in your career, but that's kind of where it tops out.

If you want to go further, you have to learn more. So what's skill set two? You have to learn to speak tech, but you don't have to learn to do tech. And this means knowing how an app or an algorithm gets built, but it does not mean having to build these products yourself. If you know how something is built, you know how to collaborate with your tech colleagues. And this is vital because the first step to leadership is collaboration. So for example, let's say you work in a finance department of a major corporate.

Sophia Matveeva (05:03.118)
You could work with data scientists to identify how money is being spent across different departments and then you could use that to make predictions for the next quarter. You don't actually have to do this data science analysis yourself, but when you work with a data scientist, you have to tell them what to look out for. So for example, should they contrast different quarters or should they contrast the same quarter across different years? What kind of behaviors are they looking for?

Or does it make sense for a retailer to compare Christmas data to August data? Well, when you're the industry expert, you will know the answers to these questions, but the tech expert won't. But what the tech expert will know is they will actually know how to gather the data and find insights. They just don't know what insights they're looking for. This is why you need each other. If you have a basic grasp of what developers, product managers, designers and data scientists do,

you will be able to make good use of them. And I know that this sounds complicated, but I promise you it is not. My How to Speak Tech for Leaders course, which you can get at Tech for Non -Techies, is literally five weeks long and you can get 90 minutes worth of learning content every week. And students have taken it, repeatedly tell me that this course gives them the knowledge and confidence that they need to work with their tech colleagues. So that's five times 90 minutes. It's literally

not that much to open up the multi -trillion dollar opportunity of digital transformation. And honestly, you've probably invested more time watching a show you didn't even really like on Netflix. And now let's move on to skill three. Skill three is closely related, but not the same as skill two. It is learn how to use AI. AI tools can help you work faster and thus get more work done. So just learn how to use a couple of them.

And you don't have to become a super whiz and create an animated movie with it. Honestly, just do simple things to speed up your productivity. You can use chat GPT or Claude to help you draft emails or to give you ideas for LinkedIn posts. And honestly, that's really quite useful. If you're not that keen to do it, I understand it's summer, you know, you want to go and do some fun stuff, but just listen to this. There are people in your industry who are doing this already.

Sophia Matveeva (07:27.47)
And because they're doing this, they are more productive. And then if these people then start competing with you for a job, they will just have a better chance of getting it. And that would suck. And I don't want that for you because I love you because you're my listener and I think you're great. So honestly, if this is your weakest skill set, I mean, obviously listen to the end to find out, but if you realize that this is your weakest skill set, just for weeks,

90 minutes a week and you'll be in a completely different place. I promise you. Okay, now let's move on to career skill number four that you need to succeed in the digital age. You have to master personal branding to be seen as a digital leader. And this means that you have to learn how to get known for your expertise and how your expertise is relevant in the digital age because that's what makes you future proof. And here I'm not telling you to become a Kardashian.

and post photos of your Lattos or of your derriere. Because Kim Kardashian is known for being herself. She's famous for being famous. And if you're a knowledge worker, that's not going to be relevant for you. If you're a knowledge worker, you have to be known for your ideas. This is what will make clients and job opportunities come to you. And the easiest thing to do is to just write a weekly post on LinkedIn. And if you tell me that you've got no ideas to share, well, my darling, I do not believe you.

Here are a couple of questions to get you started. Question one, what do most people get wrong about your industry? Question two, what are the top books that you think people in your industry should read? Literally, I just gave you two topics to create content about for your LinkedIn. And if you still don't want to do this, listen to the story. So one of my executive coaching clients, so he started working with me last September.

And he wrote a LinkedIn post every week for three months. Actually, he might've missed a week or two, but generally he was pretty consistent for three months. After that three month period of one post per week, BCG, the massive consulting company contacted him and asked him if he could get on some zoom calls with them to talk about his industry. And they paid him $500 an hour. He literally had to do no preparation.

Sophia Matveeva (09:50.318)
No slides, no anything. He just had to turn up and be sober and answer their questions about industry trends for 500 bucks an hour. And he already had a full -time job. So this was literally just play money. And he did this a few times and this paid for his Christmas vacation. So this stuff works. And also my clients get a massive return on investment from working with me. And now let's move on to skill number five.

to succeed in the digital age. And that skill is managing your mind. Whenever you're doing something new, you are not going to be good at it and you're going to be nervous and you'll want to quit. And this is normal. But in order for us to build careers that we're proud of and that inspire others, we constantly have to do new things. When you first start speaking to a technologist and they say something that you don't understand,

And you might decide to avoid technologists forever. Or you might be so terrified of being judged by your peers that you never post anything on LinkedIn. And this is the route to mediocrity, my friend. This is the route to staying small. If you're listening to this podcast, I know you don't want mediocrity. You want to be a great success. And for that, knowing how to manage your mindset is an absolutely essential skill.

You know, often my executive coaching clients start off with learning specific skills like learning to speak tech or repositioning themselves on LinkedIn. But they make the biggest leaps forward when they learn how to manage their minds. And this isn't some fluffy woo woo stuff. This skill set will actually get you promoted, get you the best clients and help you make more money. So I want you to take it seriously. Now.

Remember my question to you from the beginning of this episode. Which of these skill sets are you weakest in? Which of these skill sets are you strongest in? Congratulate yourself for being strong in a skill set. Take the win. And then let's focus on the weakest link. Pick that weakest skill set and just give it a month. Let's say that you'll spend 90 minutes per week for four weeks honing that skill set.

Sophia Matveeva (12:10.414)
and you will see a difference, I promise you. And now let's recap what these skills are so you can pick one. Skill number one, that's your main skill set. This is the skill or insight that you trained for and that pays the bills. Skill number two is to learn to speak tech, which is not the same as doing tech. Skill number three is to get AI savvy. Learn how to use AI tools to become more productive. Skill number four,

is master personal branding to become a recognised expert in your field. And this is how opportunities come to you. And skill number five, manage your mind. Do not let it manage you. And if this episode resonated with you, you might be a great fit for my digital leadership executive coaching program.

My clients have used it to run businesses as non -technical founders and you've heard some of them on the show. Other clients have used it to switch careers from traditional businesses to tech companies, yet other clients have decided to lead digital transformation and other clients have used this program to work with tech clients. So this program is perfect for people who are high achievers. They're not technical professionals, but they need to work with technologists or work with tech companies in order to get what they want.

If you're interested in any of the outcomes that I mentioned, just get in touch via the link in the show notes and tell me a bit about your aims. I'd love to hear from you. And on that note, thank you very much for listening and for paying attention. I really do value the time that we get to spend together. Have a wonderful day and I shall be back in your delightful smarties next week. Ciao.


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