When it comes to a career in tech, soft skills can be just as important as hard skills. Having the right soft skills under your belt might be just what you need to shine in your IT position and succeed beyond expectations.
Beginning a career in the tech industry requires a specific set of hard skills. Developers, for example, need to have a lot of knowledge and experience with a variety of tools that will help them with their profession and allow them to complete their tasks.
However, having the right soft skills might just be what allows you to rise to the top in tech. Soft skills are considered innate behaviours, a part of your personality even. They’ll determine how well you can work on a team, communicate with potential clients, manage your time and projects, and much more.
The right soft skills will set you apart from everyone else, so here are the top tech soft skills every IT professional should have.
Communication and Collaboration
Every person who works in IT must have a great set of technical skills to rely on, however, their work is almost always a contribution to a bigger piece that’s being developed by an entire team. Knowing how to properly collaborate, communicate and share with others will ensure quality in your work and secure a great working environment.
Written and verbal communication skills are among the top tech soft skills for IT professionals. You’ll always have the need to be in touch with co-workers and supervisors while solving issues and tackling different projects.
Marta Jasinska, chief technology officer at MOO.com, explains how important the role of communication is in a tech workplace:
We are always dealing with quite complex problems, but being able to explain them in non-tech ways is a game-changer. This is a skill which will open the doors, make life easier, and ultimately allow you to position technology as something that is key to the success of the whole organization." - Marta Jasinska, CTO at MOO.com
Time management is another top tech soft skill.
At least if you want all of your teamwork to run smoothly!
Without good time management, your tasks might be delayed, done incorrectly, or even forgotten, specially if you’re working on more than one project at a time.
When a team is working on a project, that project could go sideways very quickly if one person misses a deadline. As a result, the entire team could face consequences by upper management simply because one person wasn't able to manage his or her time efficiently." - Christoper Navalta, public relations manager at Check Point Software Technologies.
Not only can you ensure you won’t be the one jeopardizing your team’s work by investing in your time management skills, but you’ll also be able to organize your life better, avoiding being drowned by work. Take some time to prioritize tasks, schedule appointments, check emails, and organize your projects, this way you’ll be able to complete more work while also keeping your stress levels to a minimum.
In tech, you’re constantly facing new issues and problems that need to be solved. The ability to think critically will help you to quickly assess a problem and come up with a productive solution on the spot. This kind of flexibility also prepares you to accept solutions that may be different than what’s considered “the norm”, as long as they effectively take care of the issue.
“Thinking about thinking”, is how Kacper Brzozowski, technical founder of Zety describes this soft skill.
It is the ability to think in an organized and rational manner in order to understand connections between ideas and facts. It allows professionals to make rational decisions that often affect the well-being of more significant projects.” - Kacper Brzozowski, technical founder of Zety.
Empathy might seem like an odd top tech soft skill, but it is incredibly useful, in more than one way. As an IT professional, you might need to put yourself in a client’s, user’s, and even co-worker’s shoes once in a while.
Working in IT means creating technology that will have a helpful impact on other people’s lives and that’s exactly where being empathetic will come in handy. This soft skill will allow you to better understand what end-users need in their daily lives and how your work can improve them. You’ll also be able to identify how users might struggle with your products and figure out effective ways to solve the issues.
This soft skill will not only make you put more thought and care into your work but will also help you build strong relationships with your colleagues and improve your teamwork.
Getting to know each other leads to empathy, empathy leads to trust, and trust allows teams to brainstorm, engage, argue, laugh, and discuss ideas in a safe environment to develop solutions. The outcome is greater efficiency and effectiveness”- Barry Moline, author of the book "Connect! How to Quickly Collaborate for Success in Business and Life".
Curiosity and the ability to learn
Tech is constantly evolving, so as an IT professional you’ll need to keep up with what’s new. Having a natural curiosity and the ability to keep learning will keep developers updated, engaged, and will inspire their creativity, pushing them in the direction of innovation.
Senior Azure Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft, Jean Blatchford, considers that “the most important quality for new employees to stand out while entering the tech space is curiosity.”
To stay ahead of the curve, lead in your role and in your industry, you have to be comfortable with change, adapting to the competition, and learning new skills and behaviours. True curiosity demonstrates the passion, thoughtfulness, and resourcefulness necessary to learn and adapt to a constantly changing environment far more than some of the conventional skills we may have learned in school” - Jean Blatchford, Senior Azure Product Marketing Manager .
Developers constantly face several problems and difficult tasks that they need to work on. Most times their success comes from persevering and not giving up until they can find the right solution for their issues.
This commitment to your work will allow you to always overcome every hurdle that gets put in your way. New tools, difficult challenges, and great amounts of work will never leave you feeling overwhelmed, and you’ll always be able to reap the rewards of a job well done. Plus, having this soft skill might even help you motivate your co-workers when morale is low.
Creativity might not be at the top of the requirements for a tech job, but it might just be what sets a kickass IT professional apart from a regular one. Creativity is what drives teams to develop ground-breaking products and have revolutionary ideas. It allows IT workers to come up with ideas to improve existing tech and help their teammates find solutions to their problems.
This soft skill keeps tech professionals at the forefront of innovation, allowing teams to anticipate tech problems and needs and provide quick and creative solutions for each issue. Working on your creativity and practicing it in your workplace will allow you to create new opportunities and grow your career in tech.
Top tech soft skills for kickass developers & other IT professionals: final thoughts
To be successful as an IT professional you need a good mix of hard and soft skills. Hard skills will ensure you’re at the top of your technical knowledge and abilities while soft skills will determine how well you work in a team, how you manage and organize your workflow, and how quick and inspired you are when it comes to finding new solutions for any tech issue.
Working on these top tech soft skills will have you feeling fulfilled at work and enjoying what you do, while still standing out from the crowd and opening new doors and possibilities for your future in the tech industry.
It won't be overnight, but if you keep working on your skills, eventually you'll start feeling something different. You're more confident. You're more social. Your boss noticed and your colleagues noticed it as well.
Oh is it you evolving from a regular developer to a kickass developer? 🦸♂