Digital Literacy as a Pathway to Professional Development in the Algorithm-Driven World



#digital literacy #digitalization #algorithms

Previous studies revealed a statistically significant correlation between citizensʼ digital literacy and employment rates. It is unclear, however, what types of digital literacy employees need in the modern, fast-changing, algorithm-driven world. As part of the European ySKILLS project (, the study discussed in this paper explored how digital literacy is perceived from a professional perspective, and how it relates to professional development. Expert interview as a qualitative research method was used for empirical data gathering, and labour market experts from Finland and Latvia were interviewed. The results were in line with previous discussions suggesting that digital literacy in the professional context should be approached in light of technological and societal changes, emphasising the need for employees to have the capacity to adapt to constantly changing digital environments. The answers given by interviewed experts indicated that professional digital literacy from their perspective ranges from basic techno-practical skills to an in-depth critical understanding of the digital landscape. The critical dimension of digital literacy in this study was highlighted in the context of changes in information and communication technology. Critical evaluation of information was described by labour market experts as the most important digital literacy skill for workers. According to findings ability to engage effectively and wisely with information is crucial in decision-making situations and should be developed together with comprehension of the operational and business logic of algorithm-driven digital media platforms as information infrastructure. Thereby the study highlights the need to combine digital literacy and media literacy studies with platform studies in the future to inform strategies for promoting employeesʼ critical awareness in the digital world predominated by algorithmic digital media platforms.

Type of Publication
Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy
Publishing Date
Guna Spurava; Sirkku Kotilainen