Introduction to
Digital Skills

  • 20 hours
  • 90 CHF / month

The world we live in is fundamentally digital. Digital touches not just our work life and home life, but also the food we eat, the cars we drive, the media we consume, and the opportunities we have. This course is an introduction to the digital world, from the inside. We’ll go “behind the screen” and teach you how devices work, how they communicate with each other, and how to use them safely, effectively - and independently.

EPFL Digital Extension School learner

Ready to start learning?

Download the course brochure

Why you should take
this course

More than ever, everyone in the workforce must have a common technical understanding and shared vocabulary to be able to contribute to strategic discussions and make critical decisions around digital transformation. We’re all contributing less than we could be, if we rely on the “IT guys” for not just help desk support, but also to define and develop the tools, services and products of the future. Acquiring a basic level of core, technical knowledge means becoming an actor in the digital world - today, and tomorrow.

Who is it for?

This course is for anyone looking to learn the concepts, language, tools and technologies which form the foundation of our digital lives: if you don’t want to be left behind by the digital revolution, this course is for you!

" Digital competency is no longer a nice-to-have skill. In a work world that is rapidly moving online, it is essential for job security. "

Prof. Marcel Salathé
EPFL Digital Extension School

Course curriculum

With the skills and knowledge you will learn in this course, you will be able to take control of much of your digital world: from creating and managing files, to installing apps and interacting online. You’ll learn best practices for privacy and security, and will gain and understanding of the larger digital trends shaping our future. More importantly, you’ll gain technical independence in the digital world, enabling you to take advantage of more of the opportunities of this digital age.

  • Introduction: Welcome to the EPFL Extension School! We’d like to introduce ourselves, this course and the school - and ask you to tell us a bit about yourself.
  • The Fantastic World of Devices: Your cell phone or laptop may be the most powerful computer you have ever had. Let’s take a step back and learn what a “computer” is. Whether a mobile device, a tablet, a laptop or desktop, these devices all share many common characteristics and behaviors. We’ll look at CPU, RAM, and various components like SSD vs HDD. Then, we’ll explore how devices of all kind “see” the real world: units of measurements, file types, photos/videos, music and more. We’ll also explain what a “program” is, the job of a programmer and how computers can execute instructions.
  • Communicating with Others: Even the most experienced “IT guys”, programmers and nerds need help sometimes, and often the best way to do that is by asking the right kind of question to people who are likely to have the answer. You’ll learn how to understand the problems you may encounter in the digital world - and how to describe your situation in a support ticket that can be easily understood.
  • You, Your Devices and Your Files: Behind the screen of any computer is the operating system, the beating heart of a digital device. We’ll look at the various operating systems and how they organize data and files. We’ll also explore how to speak with this system using a mouse - and using a keyboard.
  • We Are Connected: Our use of devices exploded by the ability to use them to connect to each other. But how does this work? We’ll learn about networks and networking, including the most famous network - the Internet - and one of its many children, the World Wide Web.
  • Your Environment: Your devices are only as limited - or powerful - as you allow them to be. We’ll look at setting up and managing your apps and programs, Internet connections, e-mail and cloud services. In an increasingly remote working world, you’ll learn to master this environment and gain digital independence.
  • Staying Safe in a Dangerous Digital World: There is a joke that says there are two kinds of companies: those who know they have been hacked, and those who do not. Privacy and cybersecurity are topics that companies and individuals alike need to master. We’ll help you stay safer online - while clearing up some (dangerous) misconceptions.
  • The Bigger Digital World: There is so much new happening in the digital world that it’s hard to keep up with it all! We’ll help you see the bigger picture by diving into key topics that you may have heard of, and should understand: big data, the Internet of Things, Augmented Reality, cookies, SEO, “fake news”, Industry 4.0, social media, cognitive biases, blockchain, trackers, Artificial Intelligence…
  • Don’t Lose Anything: One day, your device will die: they always do. We’ll give you a tool kit to prepare yourself for this, with a backup plan - and more.
  • What Next? Congratulations! Now that you have acquired all these digital skills and new knowledge, what can you do next? We have some suggestions :-)

These course details are subject to change; please refer to the course outline at the time of registration.


This course is taught at an introductory-level. You should have the following tools, skills and abilities prior to registering for this course:

  • Understand English at B1 level
  • A computer or other device with an internet connection enabling you to stream videos with sound

Your course instructor team

Sabrina Lehner
Sabrina Lehner Course Developer and Instructor

What you'll
get from us

  • 100% online
  • Self-paced learning
  • World-class EPFL quality
  • Real-world, job-ready, applicable skills

Ready to start learning?

Introduction to Digital Skills

  • 20 hours
  • 90 CHF / month

Become part of
our community

Get the latest news and course updates from the EPFL Extension School.