IEEE Computer Society Team
Results of research done by the Carnegie Foundation, Harvard University, and Stanford Research Center concluded that almost 90% of job success is attributed to people skills and other soft skills. Conversely, less than 20% of job success is attributed to a person’s technical skills. Employers are now prioritizing soft skills during hiring, according to a recent report.
What are soft skills for tech professionals, and why are they so important to employers and to job success? Which ones should you develop as a tech professional?
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What Are Soft Skills?
The term “soft skills” refers to general people skills, problem-solving, critical thinking, and other acquired skills that supplement your professional training. For example, a software engineer may have acquired proficiency in multiple coding languages and tech solutions, but in order to lead a development team, they may need such soft skills as communication, leadership, problem-solving, and time management.
Which Soft Skills for Tech Professionals Will You Need?
The specific soft skills you choose to acquire and develop depend a lot on your current job position and the career to which you aspire. Below are a few examples, including what they involve and how they benefit a tech professional.
- People skills. People skills, or interpersonal skills, is a very broad term, but it refers to the ability to deal with team members, employers, management, clients, or others in a skillful way. It can require firmness on the one hand but also empathy, compassion, and being a good listener on the other. It can involve collaboration or mediation. While you may be more comfortable with the dependability of ones and zeros, being a keen observer of human nature is at the core of developing your people skills.
- Communication. Communication is a large part of people skills, but it can be listed separately because it also involves good writing, speech abilities, and reading and comprehension. Whether writing emails, memos, and letters; documenting plans, strategies, and objectives; preparing a speech, or pitching an idea; communication skills are a must-have. If you are currently overseeing a project or you would like to take the next step and lead a development team, cultivating your communication skills is a priority.
- Problem-solving. Problem-solving is at the core of many tech positions. Math, computer science, coding, and other skills revolve around problem-solving. However, the principles of problem-solving overflow into other aspects of your work, such as mediating interpersonal relationships, perhaps on a development team or other such collaboration. The analytical thinking and logical reasoning you’ve developed in your tech skills can also serve you as a desirable set of soft skills if you cultivate them.
How Can You Develop Soft Skills?
How can you develop the soft skills that employers will find attractive and valuable? Here are some steps to help:
- Choose your skillset. Ask yourself which soft skills are most appropriate for your job or career choice. Prioritize those skills and ask for feedback to determine how well you are cultivating and developing those abilities.
- Look for reliable courses and tutorials. You can probably find helpful tutorials and courses online.
- Practice, practice, practice. Online courses and tutorials will equip you with the tools, guidance, and tips you need to identify ways to develop and use your soft skills. But nothing builds a skill like putting it into practice. So experience is the number one qualifier when it comes to soft skills.
Make Your Soft Skills Count
Having gained experience, showcase your soft skills on your resume, your online professional profile and network, and your prior project’s descriptions. It’s important to develop a reputation for advanced tech skills in your industry, but don’t underestimate the value of soft skills in furthering your career. To move your career to the next level, you can use the vast resources and connections that come with a membership with the IEEE Computer Society. Find the resources you need to advance your career to the next level!