10 Soft Skills Tech Professionals Should Develop

Written by  //  September 29, 2020  //  Featured  //  Comments Off on 10 Soft Skills Tech Professionals Should Develop

Given the competitiveness of today’s tech talent market, a job candidate needs to have the right mix of technical and soft skills. More than 60% of HR leaders say they pass on a candidate who meets the job’s technical requirements but lacks the necessary soft skills.

We’ve selected 10 soft skills to develop in 2020 to boost your chances of acing an interview in a tech company. 

  1. Communication 

This point is often regarded as obvious and, thus, neglected. However, it is not as simple as it may seem. Communication has two parts – listening and speaking. A tech pro needs to be able to actively listen and clearly convey his/her ideas to both technical and non-technical audiences. It may sound cliche, but a team that fails to communicate will likely fail. Either good ideas are ignored, or the project requirements were not met properly, or the business goal was neglected. 

Here are some tips you can use to improve your communication skills:

— listen carefully to team members, stakeholders, managers, etc.;

— be prepared for important calls and meetings by thinking what you’re going to say in advance;

— practice your speech and eliminate things that distract the listeners from the main points. 

  1. Virtual collaboration 

It’s not a surprise that remote work is on the rise. Whether you work remotely yourself or you’ll be working with remote team members, virtual collaboration skills are essential.

To develop your virtual collaboration skills, make sure to get familiar with tools like video conferencing software, task managers, time tracking tools, project management software, corporate messengers, etc. 

  1. Networking

Networking is important in many ways. One of the main benefits of a strong network is having resources to solve problems, get support, and overcome challenges. Having like-minded people to discuss things with not only elevates your own thinking but also opens up possibilities for insights. 

  1. Empathy

Building technology is always about solving customer problems. You can’t solve someone’s problem unless you understand the user’s pain. Typically, bad products are created  by engineers and designers who have no clear understanding of user needs and pain points. The same goes for tech professionals who lack understanding of overarching business goals which can lead to plenty of miscommunication. That’s why it’s extremely important for tech specialists to have the ability to empathize with users. 

  1. Flexibility and adaptability

Working in the tech company often requires the capability to adapt to changes that are unavoidable. Having the ability to handle setbacks or unexpected challenges is a priceless asset. How exactly do you look for the adaptability skill? Normally the person will be:

— showing resilience;

— thinking quickly and clearly;

— taking responsibility for the actions made; 

— anticipating potential risks and needs.

An employee who is willing to implement necessary changes is obviously much more valuable to the company than someone who refuses to do something new even if it’s something urgent and required. No matter your role, both managers and clients appreciate working with people who commit to being flexible and adaptable.

  1. The ability to give and receive feedback

Giving feedback to your team members and subordinates is significant in terms of providing and giving insight into their performance. For some people, receiving feedback generates fear and anxiety. Other people find it hard to formulate and give feedback to other people. If you want to grow as a tech professional it’s important to learn how to give feedback clearly and how to receive feedback with dignity and grace. 

To give productive feedback to other people, you need to:

— create a safe environment where a person feels calm and confident;

— give at least as much positive feedback as you do negative;

— be specific;

— talk about actions, not people. 

To receive feedback effectively, you need to remember two main things:

— the feedback is not about you but about the way you work;

— it’s okay to make mistakes and fail sometimes. That’s fine. Breathe. 

  1. Critical thinking abilities

Some people believe problem-solving comes naturally, but it’s actually a skill you can develop and refine over time. The best leaders don’t just come with a great solution out of nowhere. They learn, grow their experience, build processes and leverage tools. 

You may also want to consider trying the design thinking approach. It’s often used by specialists who are looking to solve big problems. Design thinking typically requires involving several people in the problem-solving process which leads to multiple perspectives, opinions and solutions.

  1. Strategic thinking

This soft skill, perhaps, is one of the most crucial qualities to become a team lead. Yet, it’s not easy to develop. Here are some helpful tips:

— Observe industry trends to outpace competitors and choose best ways to boost career growth. 

— Set time aside to plan a strategy which can be time-consuming.

— Connect with a mentor who will keep you focused on your strategic objectives.

  1. Storytelling skills

Storytelling can be something very uncommon but definitely useful for technical specialists! By creating and delivering engaging stories tech professionals can make customers complete desired actions (with their product).

  1. Project management skills

As a tech professional, chances are, you’ll be juggling multiple projects and responsibilities. Project management skills usually include the ability to make plans, set tasks, reach goals, and collaborate with team members. Being able to manage your own time and to resolve project issues opens up new career opportunities. 

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