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The Importance of Digital Literacy

By Steve Smith

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.

June 28, 2024

5 min read


What is digital literacy and why does it matter? While often taken for granted in today’s digitally connected world, digital literacy can make a significant difference in an individual’s ability to participate and prosper in modern society. 


In this article, we’ll highlight digital literacy’s characteristics and advantages, and define the ways that developing it can enhance our personal and professional lives. 

What Defines Digital Literacy?

The American Library Association (ALA) defines digital literacy as the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills. 

The ALA goes on to define a digitally literate person as one who:

  • Is able to use diverse technologies appropriately and effectively to retrieve information, interpret results and judge the quality of that information

  • Understands the relationship between technology, life-long learning, personal privacy and stewardship of information

  • Uses these skills and the appropriate technology to communicate and collaborate with peers, colleagues, family and, on occasion, the general public

  • Uses these skills to actively participate in civic society and contribute to a vibrant, informed and engaged community

Why Is Digital Literacy Important?

Digital literacy goes beyond keeping up to date with the latest technology. The ability to adapt quickly to new apps or software is an essential skill in and of itself. As new tools, technologies and software are introduced into the ways we do business, those who take the time to keep pace can help position themselves to stand out among other candidates, especially in the eyes of future employers. It can also have significant effects on our ability to interact with the broader global community.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies reaffirms this, noting that, while basic literacy and numeracy remain fundamental to learning, digital literacy has emerged as a critical life skill that’s indispensable for every global citizen, especially in their ability to communicate, find employment, pursue education or socialize.

Your level of digital literacy can have a direct impact on your ability to search for and process information, create content, manage data and troubleshoot when things don’t operate as smoothly as they should. As our reliance on digital technology increases, basic technical skills and the willingness to continue learning can provide the agility to move purposefully through your personal and professional worlds.

Accessing and evaluating information

Access to information is a crucial factor in the vitality of our lives, careers and communities, as are research skills. A digitally literate individual understands where to go and how to find the information they need online, whether it’s a quick search for a vendor in their neighborhood or a comprehensive analysis for their workplace. 

While knowing how to get information is good, ensuring the quality of information is essential. Two interrelated digital literacy competencies, media information literacy (MIL) and fact-checking, are important skills to develop. A person who is digitally literate must exercise their critical thinking skills and insist on only using information from credible sources. Websites like can help you figure out what is factual and what isn’t. 

Practicing online safety

Internet browsing has become the primary way we acquire information. In one way or another, this basic digital interaction allows us to inform and educate ourselves every day. Being digitally literate involves staying safe online and should be a priority for every individual at home and at work. Cyber security awareness and good cyber hygiene are useful skills for anyone but are absolutely hallmarks of the digitally literate individual. 

Communicating and collaborating

The importance of digital literacy in communication has never been more apparent, from our personal lives to our workplaces. Digital literacy plays a role in how we speak to each other online. Thanks to technology, we can communicate in more ways than ever, including emails, text messaging, chat or video calls. These, along with project management apps, allow us to work collaboratively and communicate clearly in an environment where body language, tone of voice or facial expression aren’t always present. Digital literacy also indicates that you can utilize different methods of communication for different audiences or purposes. 

Leveraging skills for employability

Businesses are using digital tools to keep the books, prepare tax returns, track revenues and expenses and manage workflows and other tasks with accuracy and ease. If you look at a typical online job listing, you’ll likely see a list of desired application or software skills, alongside any other technical qualifications for the job. 

Your digital literacy skills may add value to an organization and its teams. By listing your proficiency with various technologies on your resume or candidate profiles, you may help yourself stand out to potential employers. Being open to learning new tools may also assist you.

Demonstrating critical thinking and problem solving skills

With strong digital proficiency, you may be able to assess and troubleshoot problems more readily, approach challenges more objectively and find more creative solutions to problems both at work and in your personal life.

Creating digital content

Content creation tools for research, writing, editing images and videos, podcasting and content planning are powerful, and knowing how to use them is an important skill. Digitally literate folks should also be aware that using generative artificial intelligence to create content potentially requires balancing convenience and utility with intellectual property and copyright implications. 

Pursuing Digital Literacy Through Education

When it comes down to it, a digitally literate person leverages digital technologies to meet strategic objectives. To learn how to do this, you can dedicate time to becoming more digitally literate on your own or find avenues to develop these skills through formal education. This is especially true if your career goals involve preparing to pursue management roles. 

Here at DeVry, our Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Management was developed with these goals  in mind. Combining the critical elements of business management with technology, you’ll explore how you can expand your existing digital literacy skills through data analysis, project management, information security and more. 

Align your education with your professional goals by choosing from 12 specializations in areas like Accounting, Global Supply Chain Management, Health Services Management, Information Technology-Networking Fundamentals, Sales and Marketing and Project Management to help you gain hands-on experience with the technologies and methodology specific to that industry. 

Explore Business Programs at DeVry

Whether you’re an experienced professional looking to change your trajectory, preparing to pursue management-level opportunities or are just getting starting on your education journey, DeVry and our Keller Graduate School of Management’s business degree programs can help you prepare for what’s next. 

Teaching through real-world scenarios, our experienced faculty will help you explore the concepts and methodologies used in dynamic business areas like marketing, finance, project management, accounting, human resources and more.  

Our Associate of Applied Science in Business, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Business Management, Bachelor of Science in Technical Management and Master of Business Administration are accredited by the by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

Online learning here at DeVry can help you balance your education with other aspects of your busy life, and scholarship and grant opportunities may help make it more affordable. Connect with us today to find a program that fits your personal and professional goals.

1Student Achievement At-a-Glance - Available for all of DeVry and Keller's ACBSP accredited programs. For a full list of DeVry University's business and accounting degree programs accredited by ACBSP, please see the Accreditation page.

2Scholarships are available to those who apply and qualify. Click here for more information, including any requirements or restrictions. Students may participate in only one DeVry University-based scholarship, grant or group tuition benefit program at a time. Those who qualify for more than one program will be presumed to accept the program with the highest reduction per session cost, unless the students confirms their desire to participate in different program in writing prior to starting classes at DeVry. Scholarship and grant terms and eligibility conditions are subject to change.

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