Computational skills are crucial for many different professionals if they want to achieve success. These skills can help anyone, from students to already renowned professionals. It is always great to fine-tune your abilities to become a better employee or leader. However, many people misunderstand what computational skills are.
They believe these abilities only benefit those who enjoy STEM subjects. Or, they may believe building computational skills is impossible for them due to the cost and time commitment. However, gaining these key skills gives you too many benefits to warrant pushing them aside.
In this article, we will outline what computational abilities are and how our everyday lives are benefitted by computational.
What are Computational Skills?
Before you begin your skill-building journey, you should understand what computational skills are. Computational abilities include a broad range of abilities.
But, in general, these skills allow employees to solve mathematical problems, such as using multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, and more foundational skills related to mathematics. It also includes computational thinking skills, which are similar to abstract thinking.
Computational abilities allow people to become better employees and leaders. They boost productivity and help with building skills in your field. Additional skills that are included within the broad category of ‘computation’ are abstraction skills, finding algorithms, pattern recognition, and decomposing problems.
Why Is it Important To Recognize Computational & Their Benefits?
Computational skills benefit individuals in virtually any field and with any job. Whether you are a new employee or a top leader in your industry, focusing on building your computational abilities will help you in the long run.
If you are someone who focuses on building your future success and developing life skills that can be used throughout your entire career. If you are wondering about which specific benefits you will acquire when building these skills, these are just a few:
- Becoming much more productive and efficient, which leads to increased revenue and profit for your company
- Allows you to quickly find the root cause of problems and boost your problem-solving skills
- Allows you to highlight your skills when you are in an interview or on your resume
- Minimizing your frustration and reducing stress in the workplace
- Helping you become more positive and confident in your abilities, leading to making calculated risks
- Allows you to think more creatively and boost innovation, thus creating a competitive advantage
- Increasing your ability to research and think rationally
- Allows you to harness the power of technology to benefit your entire team
- Helps you take larger tasks by breaking them into simple steps and recognizing patterns
- Boosts your likelihood of acquiring a job you truly desire and thus staying committed to your work long-term
15 Examples of Computational Skills
Now that you know of the many benefits of acquiring computational abilities, you should realize there are many different types of computation. If you want to truly be the best employee you can be, consider building up many of these skills. It helps you become more well-rounded and efficient. Some of the top computational skills you should focus on building include:
1. Data analysis
Analyzing data will benefit your entire team. When you collect data, it can be extremely helpful for evaluating your current strategies and developing new ones. Data analysis can help you find inefficiencies in your business. It can help you overcome challenges, too. Data analysis requires strong math skills, which is what makes it a type of computational skill.
2. Pattern recognition
Finding patterns in your work ensures that you can become more productive. How so? If you can see patterns and notice what makes you the most efficient, you can continue building upon those patterns. You can also learn more about your patterns if you recognize patterns in their purchasing. Many major companies use pattern recognition to create tailored recommendations for their clients.
Decomposition is the process of breaking down large problems into smaller tasks. It also means taking complex ideas and simplifying them to make them easier for you to understand. For example, if you know you need to be more productive, you may start by removing distractions one by one. Over time, you will overcome your problem.
4. Algorithmic thinking
Algorithmic thinking as a type of computational skill that allows you to apply the scientific method to your thinking process. It is similar to critical thinking but with an emphasis on applying math to your problem-solving strategies. It requires logical thinking and finding ways to optimize your solutions. Clearly, this will benefit your entire team and boost efficiency.
The concept of abstraction is a bit difficult to understand at first (after all, it is abstract!). Ultimately it is about finding out what is important to your career and focusing on that. The more irrelevant details can be ignored for some time or focused on later. Abstraction allows you to think about the big picture and maintain your focus better.
6. Algorithmic design
Computational skills include not only algorithmic thinking but also algorithmic design. This skill is not only helpful to designers, though. Knowing how to design algorithms can help individuals in the technology field, too. And, since everyone will deal with technology during their work, it is wise to learn some of the basic principles behind algorithmic design.
Computational skills also focus on being creative. You need to think outside of the box sometimes to find the best solutions. Creativity and a willingness to take risks will help you with this part of your job. When you think creatively, your algorithms may become more efficient. This leads to an increased ability to solve problems and meet your goals.
Another key soft skill for those interested in computational abilities, collaboration is necessary to truly harness your computation skills. You will never know everything, and having others to help you and teach you is almost always great. They can help you discover new ways to approach problems, thus boosting efficiency and creative thinking.
Individuals who focus on computational abilities are naturally curious. Learn to ask “why?” and look for the root cause of problems. Curiosity can help you uncover solutions to problems you never knew even existed. The spirit of curiosity can also make work more fun and energizing. After all, it helps you embrace your questions and dig deeper to find answers to them.
Communication is a skill that is needed in virtually any industry. You can collect data in the most precise and efficient manner, but if you cannot communicate why it is meaningful, your customers will not be impressed. Communication also comes in handy when working to become a better team player and improving your collaborative skills.
There is no such thing as perfect. When you make a mistake, the responsible thing to do is clearly to own up to it. When you are in a STEM field or focused on your computation, it can be easy to overlook the importance of morality. You are so focused on efficiency that these soft skills seem less important. But, not being accountable can sabotage your career and reputation. So, take the time to say sorry when appropriate.
If you are interested in a career that revolves around computation, you will probably also need to be independent. While collaboration is key, too, knowing how to work by yourself is also crucial. If you want to be respected and known as productive, you have to be efficient even when working alone. If you can master both collaboration and independent skills, your employer will be impressed.
13. Data presentation
Data presentation is a key part of communication for anyone interested in boosting computational skills. As previously stated, knowing and collecting data is only part of the equation for winning over customers and being efficient. You must also present it effectively. This means knowing what your customer is interested in and how to highlight the key parts of your data.
14. Software knowledge
Collecting data and analyzing it requires software knowledge. If you do not know how to effectively harness the power of software, you will be far less efficient. The software can simplify the process of data collection, automate burdensome tasks, and save you time as well as frustration. Look for the most commonly used software in your industry and begin learning about them (especially prior to starting a new job).
15. Customer service skills
Knowing how to communicate with customers and make them satisfied will be a crucial skill for you. If all you focus on are technical skills, and you ignore key soft skills like this one, many customers will become uninterested in your products. On the other hand, building both strong soft and hard computational skills will set you apart from many other individuals in STEM, as many individuals overlook soft skills.
How To Identify Your Computational Skills?
Knowing your strengths is absolutely crucial, regardless of the type of job you are interested in and which industry you will ultimately go in to. However, actually understanding your strengths and growing them seems quite challenging to most people. Many do not even know where to start.
To find your existing computational skills, you do not need to spend an immense of time reading books or searching for expensive strength-building classes. Instead, there are free resources that nearly anyone can access which give you high-quality strength insights. For one, you could take an online assessment.
The HIGH5 test is one of the most trusted and detailed tests available. It will give you immense insights into your computation abilities, and it will give you a look into your entire strengths profile as a bonus. Best of all: it’s free and takes just 20 minutes!
There are a few other methods to find your current computing strengths, too. You could analyze your prior success with computational skill building. When you got promoted or had immense success, ask yourself: what technology did I use to acquire this success? How did I harness it? Did I work well with others, or stay independent?
This strategy can work, but it will take more time and energy than simply taking a HIGH5 assessment, though.
How To Improve Computational Skills
If you now know what your existing skills are, you are probably interested in growing upon them. Improving your skills takes time and effort, but the long-term benefits you acquire are truly worth it. There are many approaches you could use to build your skills.
One of the most common ways to build skills is focusing on your weaknesses and asking: how can I make them strengths? This may seem logical, but this weakness-oriented approach is harmful. It decreases your confidence and is inefficient. Instead, you should try to build upon your existing strengths.
To begin the process of strength building, begin by analyzing your technical skills. These skills are typically easier to acquire than soft skills. Do you know how to use commonly used software? If yes, consider learning how to use some more complicated algorithms and how to interpret more complicated data. You can take courses online or learn from other coworkers.
In general, keep your mind open to learning from others, whether it be coworkers, networking partners, or even your boss. See what makes them efficient and try incorporating some of their strategies. Ask questions when you do not understand how to do something.
And, try to take calculated risks. Your strengths do not grow in your comfort zone. Instead, you must challenge yourself. Try to communicate with customers more often, pay attention to your client’s needs, and give more presentations when possible. These are all great opportunities for building your strengths.
How To Improve Computational Skills in The Workplace
The way to improve your computational skills at work are similar to improving your computational skills in general. You need to recognize what your existing strengths are and focus on building upon them.
From there, you should take every opportunity you have to use your strengths. These are opportunities to learn what you are doing well and what needs working on.
For example, if you are offered the opportunity to present your algorithm for finding recommendations to customers to your coworkers, take the opportunity. Even if your presentation is not flawless, you will learn how to be a better presenter.
Try to look for the details, too. If you notice customers start to get disengaged at a certain point in your presentation, or if a particular type of software makes you frustrated, make a note of that. Then, return and refine your performance on those tasks.
How To Highlight Computational Skills In a Resume or in a Job Interview
You worked hard to acquire an immensely beneficial skillset: computational abilities. It is natural to want to show off these skills. After all, they will help not only you but also your future employers.
But, many individuals struggle with properly highlighting their strengths. It is challenging to balance confidence with humbleness in interviews, but you can highlight your strengths without seeming pompous.
First, you must recognize your first impression is not necessarily your interview. Interviewers will likely view your resume beforehand to get a better understanding of your qualifications. In your resume, do not simply create a list of skills you have.
Instead, provide details on how these skills benefited your prior team. Give specific facts and quotes if possible. This will make you seem more precise and honest. Plus, it highlights the plays you can potentially benefit the new employer.
Once you enter the interview room, use a similar strategy. Be prepared to recall some of the information listed in your resume. Give more specific information on how you got those skills and ways they helped you overcome adversity.
You could note how your team used to struggle with using certain software, but after you taught some coworkers how it works, everyone became more efficient. This will resonate with employers, as it is far more insightful than just giving them a list of your skills and expecting them to take your word for it.
Computational Skills FAQs
What are examples of computational skills?
There are a plethora of different computational skills you could acquire. Computation includes both soft (or personally related) skills as well as hard (or technical) skills.
Some of the most important computational skills include data abstraction, software knowledge, creativity, data analysis, collaboration, communication, independence, problem solving, pattern recognition, decomposition, organization, and algorithmic design.
What are the 4 concepts of computational thinking?
Computational thinking can be broken down into 4 key concepts. The first is decomposition, which involves taking a broad and difficult to solve problem and breaking it into smaller tasks. This makes it much easier to manage.
Next is pattern recognition. This is straightforward: you must recognize patterns, which can help you find solutions to problems much quicker. Abstraction is the next step. To use abstraction, one must look at information and keep the most important facts while focusing on the small details later. Finally, there is also algorithm design, in which people use algorithms to create problem solving strategies.
Why are computational skills important?
Even if you are not a coder, mathematician, or someone in STEM, computational skills still offer many benefits. They help you think creatively and find solutions that are out of the box. This could give you a competitive advantage and boost your efficiency.
Computational skills also boost your ability to harness the benefits of technology. They allow you to better understand data and apply that data to help you at work. For instance, computational skills can help you gain insights into your customer’s needs by analyzing their purchasing patterns. This could help you boost profits and build long-term bonds with clients.