When we think about hiring that unicorn Software Engineer and the skills they should possess, we often think about their technical skills such as coding or testing. However, most employers would agree that soft skills are just as essential and need to be part of the conversation. Along with technical skills, employers will also require the necessary soft skills to be successful at the job. The reason employers will seek out candidates with soft skill sets is because they are highly transferable and can apply to various situations and roles. This makes a candidate viable for not only the position in question but the ability to grow within the company.
While hard skills refer to the job-related knowledge and capabilities needed to effectively perform the job, soft skills are personal qualities and characteristics developed through life-long professional and firsthand experiences that help you thrive in the workplace and beyond. The soft skills one possesses helps in indicating which candidates would not only be good on paper but in person too. This can be examined during in-person interviews with potential teammates and assessing their behaviour and responses during this time.
Soft skills relate to the way we work and are applicable to every job. These skills include communication, active listening, time management, leadership, conflict resolution, and empathy. Certain soft skills are needed for every employee regardless of their position or expertise, whereas others may only be needed for certain roles. For example, if you value collaboration in your company, you want to hire employees who are great collaborators and can communicate well with others. Or more specifically for Software Engineers, adaptability may be emphasized more in the hiring process as technology is constantly evolving and your engineering department needs to be able to adapt and change course at any notice.
According to experts, the reason soft skills are just as important if not more than hard skills is the difficulty around teaching people skills. Oftentimes, technology professionals find themselves in rooms where the vast majority may not understand the technical terminology or implications of what is being discussed and therefore the message is lost. However, this is not necessarily on the audience to receive the intended message but for the speaker to simplify the message in a way that can be understood by the average person. It is essential to be able to effectively present and communicate ideas in a way where the target audience understands your vision. This can make an IT Professional stand out and overall dictate the success of an organization
A tech professional looking to grow into a leadership role down the line will need to put an emphasis on developing those soft skills. When managing people, the focus is solely on how to work and relate well with others. This is where skills such as emotional intelligence, leadership, and communication really come into play. The ability to work with others who may have a different vision, personality, or background is what can differentiate you as a great leader.