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DCE Magazine

Analog Skills in a Digital World

Winter 2021

Creativity, communication and critical thinking are among the non-tech skills most coveted in today’s high-tech economy.

Looking to capitalize in today’s digital economy? It may sound counterintuitive, but your best bet might be developing old-fashioned analog skills. In a world increasingly dominated by digital tech on every level, from commerce to entertainment, low-tech human expertise is more essential than ever to make it all work.

After all, even artificial intelligence needs people to program it. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that demand for human skills is highest in our most wired and connected cities — dubbed “Smart Cities” — according to the special report, “The New Foundational Skills of the Digital Economy: Developing the Professionals of the Future,” an in-depth jobs report from Burning Glass Technologies.

“The new digital economy does not just revolve around digital skills,” it states. “Human Skills remain vitally important.” In Smart Cities such as L.A., New York and San Francisco, the study found they were requested in 60% of job openings compared to 47% nationwide. “The difference is driven in large part by significantly greater demand for creativity and analytical skills.”

The Business-Higher Education Forum commissioned Burning Glass, a leading job-market analytics firm, to identify the most requested skills by analyzing more than 150 million U.S. job postings. The study revealed five key Foundational Skills in the Human Skills category that were required in at least 50% of all job openings.

Gaining a strong background in any of these areas can give candidates an edge in today’s volatile and competitive job market. And despite current challenges, there has been a huge surge in people going online to learn new skills. Recent data from LinkedIn shows a 1,100% increase overall — and 1,378% among younger Gen-Z job seekers.

The new year can be the ideal time to prepare for the next career step with a continuing education certificate from University of California, Irvine. With that in mind, let’s examine some courses that address each of Burning Glass’ five leading Human Skills categories.


Effective communication is essential when dealing with growing workplace diversity among generations, genders and cultures — especially when everyone’s connected via remote Zoom meetings and emails. Communication in a Diverse & Changing Workplace, part of the HR Management certificate program, provides the background needed for management professionals to succeed in today’s environment.

Developing new products and bringing them to market is crucial in today’s competitive marketplace, and Leading Development Teams focuses on the tools required to lead high-performing product development teams. Looking to launch a career in sales? Even in a slumping economy there’s steady demand, and Professional Sales Readiness, part of a new specialized studies program, provides the expert instruction needed to become a top sales pro.


Blending digital proficiency with old-fashioned creative skills is key to moving forward with a career in digital marketing. That’s the focus of Integrated Marketing Communications, a course that covers the fundamentals of building a brand and developing content that supports consistent messaging strategies across a number of platforms.

Design Technologies gives students hands-on experience with the latest tech tools in Web Design, including Photoshop For those pursuing a path in online instruction, Principles of E-Learning Instructional Design provides an introduction to this booming field and explores the latest theories on creating effective e-learning models. And the Sport Management program offers Sport Marketing and Communication for those looking to jump into the exciting world of pro or amateur athletics.

Critical Thinking

Conflict is inevitable in organizations, and developing practical skills to manage this conflict, strengthen relationships, and build trust can be achieved through the Conflict Resolution course, part of the Organizational Leadership & Communication certificate.

With natural disasters increasingly fueled by climate change, Principles of Emergency Management has taken on a new and amplified urgency. A core course in the Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery specialized studies program, it dives into the basics of planning and executing emergency measures for private and public organizations.

Looking into a tech career? With interactivity migrating to a wide range of devices, from refrigerators to smart watches, Designing and Integrating IoT Devices can help launch a career in the burgeoning Internet of Things field. And Healthcare Analytics lays the foundation for the Healthcare Analytics Specialized Studies, providing a strong background in health informatics and data analytics that gives students the tools needed to streamline 21st century healthcare, improve patient outcomes and reduce costs.


Adapting to change and maximizing efficiency are more crucial than ever, and the Lean Six Sigma Toolkit course provides an outstanding introduction to this trending skillset, considered a gold standard in the corporate world. The course can help pave the way to a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Specialized Studies.

The Cyber Security program’s Host and OS Security course focuses on the security aspects of Windows, Linux, and macOS technology as it applies to the home and mobile user configuration and it helps prepare students to sit for the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam. Anyone pursuing a career in data science can get a head start on a certificate with Data Visualization. And Introduction to Data Analytics & Value Creation informs an important skillset on the way to a career in data analyses.


Developed in the early days of the tech industry, the Agile Project Management methodology has become an increasingly integral element in operational efficiency, much in demand across a range of industries. The Agile Development course surveys basic Agile principles aimed at streamlining processes, stimulating innovation, and navigating an increasingly disruptive global business landscape.

On a similar note, Project Planning — part of the Project Management certificate — provides the basic tools necessary for team leadership and collaborative success. For those looking to launch a career as a business analyst, Business Analysis Planning and Project Management prepares students to combine these two essential roles to align business strategy with effective team leadership. And the Meeting & Event Management program promotes one of the most human of all skills with its Entertainment Arts in Events course.

To truly thrive in the new economy, one needs not only digital competencies but also good old-fashioned human skills. Those that continue to develop and hone these soft skills will be in a better position to achieve career success. UCI Division of Continuing Education offers a wide range of programs and courses expertly designed for working professionals. Practical, 100% online, and no formal admission is required.

Learn more about DCE’s certificate programs.