The widespread adoption of the Internet across a variety of sectors has led to more people of all generations adopting the Net, a new study said.
The second MCI Great American Net Test, conducted by the telco and Chauncey Group International, a subsidiary of the Educational Testing Service, found that U.S. citizens' skill level rose to an average score of 82, up from 78 last year.
The study, which the firms said was conducted via an interactive exam taken by "thousands" of users, also found skill levels between men and women to be relatively even.
Among the age categories, so-called Baby Boomers (ages 40 to 60) and Generation Xers (ages 24 to 39) scored the highest, with an average score of 84, the study found.
"Computer-related information technology occupations are among the hottest jobs today and will be for years to come," Neal H. Rosenthal, associate commissioner of the Employment Projections Division of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, said in a statement. "Computer skills are becoming increasingly important in a wide variety of professional, technical, managerial, and sales occupations."
Other findings from the study included the following:
MCI said it created the test to determine the skill level of the online population. The test results were analyzed by the Chauncey Group, which also designed the test.
The test was conducted over a three-month period that began on March 30. Test takers were asked to use Net search technology to find answers to five questions in categories such as pop culture, geography, arts and literature, and history. Test takers answered multiple-choice questions in a format similar to standardized tests such as the SAT.
"The improving MCI Great American Net Test scores demonstrate that the nation is responding to the demand for Internet skills and is rising to the challenge," Diane Strahan, director of MCI Corporate Community Partnerships, said in a statement. "More than 50 percent of the test takers reported they will keep working on their Internet skills, and 62 percent will take the test again next year."