Technology is changing the game, and fast! With the need to make processes effective and task-performance faster, software development services are becoming indispensable for today’s businesses.
In the forefront of these new and frequently evolving technologies are software development professionals — the true game-changers. For these individuals, it has become imperative to add to their scope of experience new programming languages and frameworks, as well as work on projects that complement these efforts to keep up with the industry. In all this pursuit to follow the anticipated, the latest, the new, and the future trends, let’s draw some attention to the fundamentals — soft skills.
In the recent study done by Deloitte Access Economics, professions that are soft skill-intensive will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030. Even in today’s modern workplace, soft skills are valued and considered crucial when aiming to have a productive, collaborative and healthy work environment.
The argument that soft skills are something you are born with is correct. What is also correct is that these skills can also be learned and developed the same way as you would develop hard skills — with research and practice.
Now the question stands:
What are the soft skills that could give an edge to today’s software developer in this fast-paced industry?
To answer this, let’s better understand what makes a great software developer and be sure that It isn’t all about writing quality code.
The environment for software development professionals relies on collaboration, teamwork, and problem-solving. So the ability to expresses thoughts with clarity and precision, making sure everyone is on the same page when moving forward is of critical importance. In addition, people with good communication skills enjoy better interpersonal skills and in turn have better relationships with colleagues and clients. A skillful developer is able to transmit the message across the team and make sure that all work is contributing to the right requirements. This often includes communicating tech issues to non-technical team members and clients, solving potential disputes, reporting on project progress, an argument for a certain viewpoint, etc.
Listening is a crucial part of effective communication which includes being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages in the conversation. According to a study done in analyzing the process of interpersonal communication (Addler R. at al, 2001), we engage in communication 70% of our time, 45% of this time is spent on listening. Listening is about learning new information, critically evaluating and analyzing, and understand the other person’s perspective and emotional state, then respond and act upon it.
Another very important skill is the ability to be a team player, with the agile methodology becoming part of every fast and changeable environment, a great developer certainly needs to be a team player, to understand the teams needs, have the emotional intelligence to stay focused under stress and be very welcoming to change, handle all difficulties with resilience and have the attitude to continue tomorrow.
To software developers, this is their second nature. They take the time to understand and explain the issues, look at it objectively, find and plan solutions, split large tasks, and then start coding.
In addition, their ability to understand the business requirements, have an entrepreneurial spirit to make the most of the technology potential by proposing solutions that are effective, bring more benefits, and ultimately add value to their time spent developing and to the client.
As my colleague, Irfan said in his post on how to become a blockchain developer developers need to feel comfortable at learning new things, acquiring new skills and exploring new technologies.
Great! Now how to start?
The best way would be to identify people that have the skills that you want to improve and spend time with them, analyze their behavior and seek opportunities to practice. Practice in whatever environment you feel comfortable in, perhaps to begin with choose situations where even if you fail, the risk is low.
At the end of the day, all is about mindset, a great developer has a growth mindset and will be willing to make themselves available and as a source of solutions to whatever situations the company is experiencing, and be willing to be a game changer.
All the soft skills listed in this article are derived from analysis of different industry specific articles from the industry and academia.