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First published: 30 April 2022 by GKH;
Last update: 1 May 2022, by GKH/CHS

What are Cloudwork Skills

If you ask Google Search: 'What are essential skills for remote workers?' you will get pages and pages of typical HR 'mumbo jumbo' - such as 'ability to work independently', 'strong self motivation', 'strong verbal and written communication skills' or 'a teamplayer mindset'. For good measure you might also be required to 'have cross-cultural literacy' or 'emotional intelligence'.
While these skills and compentencies might certainly be useful, they will not automatically give you a good remote job. The bottom line is this: In the end you need to have some hard skills and specific know-how which not everyone has (or can pretend to have) and which are in high demand. In other words: You will only get an excellent remote job, if you can 'offer' skills that someone else really needs. And remotely, some of the very best skills to offer are computer skills. They are by nature digital, can be easily exchanged (in fact worldwide) und lead to products that are typically distributed or used over the Internet. Of course, you can - for instance - also give legal advice remotely or work as a project manager. But these kinds of tasks often work better with face-to-face interactions. Computer skills, however, are the perfect match for remote work.
Unfortunately people are often rather naive, when describing their computer skills. Just because you can use MS-Word or MS-Excel does not really make you a computer wizzard! Information and computer technology has evolved and differentiated enormously over the last few decades. There are dozens of highly specialized branches in software technology. The following table gives a rough overview of some of these fields - with selected examples of software tools, utilities and coding languages.
1. First of all, you must be really familiar with your operating system. This will be either MS-Windows or the Mac OS. If you are a more technical person (or your employer requires it) you might also have to work on Linux. Forget about some of the more exotic operating systems!
You must be able to do basic system tasks, such as open, save, organize, backup or delete files. I have seen people putting hundreds of file icons on their desktop, because they never really understood how to properly organize files in directories and subdirectories. Of course you can put 'stuff' on your desktop - but at least organize it hierarchically. Also make sure that you properly organize your e-mail into mailboxes. Otherwise you will spend hours hunting for a particular e-mail from some time ago.
Without doubt, passwords are the greatest hassle in computing. Don't kid yourself: You will constantly forget important passwords. It is therefore essential to find a solution that works best for you. There are password managers; you may want to print them out and put them in a secure place or find a trick to remember (such as putting the password into a sentence). You must also know how to backup your work (either in the cloud or locally on an external hard disk). You must know how to update your system (if it's not done automatically); you must know how to install software, how to run a virus checker, and how to log-in to your cloud server or certain cloud services (such as MS-Windows 365). Of course, you must also be able to connect to the Internet.
One of the most important skills is to organize your resources properly - otherwise you may accidentally delete stuff or spend a lot of time searching for a particular file. I, for instance, organize everything according to projects. For each project I put the related files into sub-directories according to type - such as images, code, text documents, videos, excel files, etc. You may have your own quite different system - but don't just rely on the 'recently opened file' feature in some of the software packages.

2. You need to have basic Internet skills. This includes familiarity with one (or more) of the most popular browsers, such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Opera. It also doesn't hurt if you have organized yourself a set of shortcuts (or bookmarks - or whatever you may use) to essential websites - such as www.wikipedia.com. Of course the selection of sites depends on your kind of work. I, for instance, have a shortcut to www.w3schools.com, www.github.com, and a few dozen other websites I consult on a regular basis.
Basic Internet skills also include familiarity with a professional social media service, such as LinkedIn. You will need it for self-promotion, job search and general business information.
Finally, I would also recommend that you really learn how to make a Google search! There are numerous possibilities to filter and fine-adjust search results - so that you can be much more effective in finding 'stuff' on the Internet.

These two groups of skills are essential! Don't even think about remote work, if you do not have these basic computer skills. All other computer skills very much depend on the type of work you will be doing remotely. For instance, if you want to develop websites for clients, you definitely must be familiar with the group 3 skills. On the other hand, if you will run a 'help desk', a 'customer complaints service' or a 'sales promotion campaign' for your employer, you will need CRM software skills.

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