Do you spend more time communicating with computers than with people? Communication skills in the IT industry are very important! Learn why and how to improve them in this article.
Living in the world of computers, working on computers, and with computers, may lead people to stereotype you as a reserved person.
And that’s absolutely fine. Unless it affects your professional relationships. 😬
In fact, communication skills in the IT industry are often underrated and not given enough attention.
Generally, people consider technical skills as the essential ingredient for success in the software development industry. However, a soft skill like interpersonal communication is a much-needed element to be successful in the tech world.
You need to communicate with your colleagues to be able to work as a team.
You need to communicate with your team leader and be able to express your doubts in order to prevent misunderstandings and time-wasting.
If you work in outsourcing, you will also need to communicate with your outsourcing company.
You may also need to communicate directly with clients.
Hence the assumption that you do not need good communication skills to become a good developer is not quite true.
In fact, your technical expertise is useless if you do not have the right abilities to communicate with people.
If you have been thinking and believing otherwise, our article may be of great help!
Communication skills in the IT industry: here’s 5 tips to help you improve your professional communication skills.
1. Learn to listen
Communication skills or interpersonal communication should not be mistaken for becoming a chatterbox. It is not just about talking but also listening.
Anyone who wants to talk about something or respond to someone talking must first know and understand what the other person just said. Giving attention to others talking, listening, and then reacting helps you come up with a better response than otherwise.
Sometimes listening can be mistaken for not being able to speak. That is also a false assumption. Being a very important aspect of interpersonal communication, becoming an active listener can help developers ask questions that are relevant to the topic and are appropriately timed.
Listening is very important to work in teams. Understanding your co-workers, their ideas, and viewpoints can help you demonstrate your technical capabilities in an improved manner.
Understand first and then expect to be understood. This is very important for coming up with the right development outcome for your project. Understand the context, concept and then start working on your response.
2. Ask questions
Asking questions is very important to master communication skills in the IT industry.
How? You must be thinking. Well, it is not just about asking questions for the sake of questions but as a medium for gathering information, listing down the project requirements, and understanding its needs.
Be precise and accurate about asking questions when in discussions with your team members. Understanding your role and team perspective with clarity can only happen if you ask the right questions at the right time.
3. Be concise, specific and humble
When explaining your code to team members remember something that might feel obvious but some people tend to forget: you wrote it. So if something sounds self-explanatory, remember that it might be to you.
But not to your audience!
Therefore, try to keep your explanation concise but specific. And if someone asks you to explain again or to explain why, be patient and stay humble.
Furthermore, remember that teamwork is not supposed to be a coding competition. Even if you’re technically more skilled, you don’t need to make it a flashing signboard.
Instead, why don’t you use those amazing programmer skills of yours and pass them on to other developers? You can make a little extra money online teaching at websites like Udemy.
…and, at the same time, you practice your professional communication skills!
4. Be careful about your written tone
Today in the digital era, we find it far more easy, fast, and simple to send a text message rather than calling or talking to someone in person.
So you need to be careful about your tone and gestures.
Written words are very powerful and they can carry different meanings in different tones and punctuations.
And you can’t predict the state of mind of the receptor of your message. You can’t understand what is going through your teammate’s thought process. You are communicating but not incorporating your expressions or emotions into the message. And you will never know how the other person interprets your text.
Plus, you can’t adapt your speech according to your interlocutor’s reaction.
So, before sending any written mail, email, or text message, ask yourself:
Is this subject appropriate to be handled by text?
If not, is it urgent? can’t it wait until a phone call or an in-person conversation is possible?
If it can’t wait then read your message carefully from different angles and try to make it clear and respectful.
5. Talk rather than writing
In continuation with our previous tip, if the subject you want to discuss can lead to misunderstandings AND it can wait for a phone or a meeting to talk in person, then you should do that.
We find it easy, fast, and simple to text the message, but it often lacks depth, emotion, and feelings.
While calling you can add in much more abstract strength to your message and make the recipient feel the underlying meaning as well.
So, instead of using text messages and emails, as a developer you should always try and talk with your clients, teammates, team leader or outsourcing company in person or on a phone call. This will reduce the chances of misinterpretation and unnecessary complications in the process of development and production of the outcome.
Extra tip: how to communicate with your manager/ Ambassador
Having good communication skills, in the IT industry, is very important in order to communicate with your teammates and your team leader. But if you work in outsourcing, communicating frequently and frankly with your manager is of utmost importance.
At KWAN, we have managers specialized in providing regular and specialized coaching to our consultants, to make sure they are learning, progressing and enjoying the work they are doing. So we call them Ambassadors of KWAN.
In order to give you some tips on how to make the best out of a relationship with the Ambassadors of KWAN, we talked with Ambassador Rita Santos and asked her what’s important to keep in mind in order to guarantee good communication:
“When in doubt tell us. Tell us about what is making you happy and what isn’t. Tell us about what you’re sure of and what you’re in doubt about. Tell us about your personal life. Of course, we don’t need to know about your new girlfriend or your boyfriend but if you’re going through some personal issue and that can affect your job, then you should tell us. We should be the first to know if you want to change project, and you should tell us as soon as possible so we can start looking for new opportunities for you.
Our job is literally to support and guide you. To make sure you’re enjoying your project and progressing in your career. To make sure you’re happy!” – Rita Santos, Ambassador of KWAN
Could a career coach such as our Ambassadors be useful to you as well? Get in touch and we’ll get back to you with job opportunities according to your experience and preferences. 👌
Communication Skills in the IT industry: 5 tips to Help you Become a Rockstar Developer: final thoughts
Communication skills, in the IT industry, are as important as any other technical skill. In fact, they are necessary to be successful in this field.
Having professional communication skills can help you excel in the field of software or web development and help take your team’s results to a much higher level.
Good professional communication is also a much-needed ingredient if you’re directly dealing with clients and, if you work in outsourcing, having a strong relationship with your manager or Ambassador of KWAN will strongly contribute to your professional fulfillment and happiness.
So, if you want to become a reasonable developer just keep focusing your energy on technical skills.
But if you want to be a rockstar developer, don’t neglect communication skills in IT, focus on these 5 tips and start working on your professional communication skills today! 💪