Soft skills are important in IT jobs. And soft skills aren’t naturally built in to everyone. They require work, which leads to success, both at work and on a personal level.
Sometimes the biggest hurdle for IT professionals is buy-in from stakeholders, who don’t understand the technical aspects of digital transformation. That’s when soft skills for technology professionals have real value and can accelerate speed of projects.
One word. Invaluable. Particularly in reference to the challenge mentioned above. But it’s more than that. Communication doesn’t start and end with stakeholders. The ability to communicate well at all levels, simply speeds up all processes. Whether it’s solving technology issues, gaining approval or simply clarifying what is required, the result is the same. Strong communication skills is the number 1 soft skills for technology professionals.
Technology is directly linked to problem-solving. The key to solving a problem is understanding users’ issues. This is where empathy comes in. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes to understand their point of view, will help you create solutions that directly improve their experience. As a result, your product. This is an efficient way to ensure that the solution overcomes the problem in the most effective way.
Positive contribution and adding value as a member of a team will help you collectively achieve results more efficiently. Being a team player that supports and champions each other towards a shared goal, will improve your empathy skills of how to bring the best out of each other. Technology professions need to be able to collaborate successfully with cross-functional teams and different personalities and expectations. And that’s about reading the room. Therefore, interpreting what is being said and communicating effectively.
Self-awareness underpins a lot of the soft skills discussed. Knowing which of these skills you need to develop takes self-awareness. As a result, an honest assessment of your strengths and areas for development. Becoming a master communicator, problem solver or team player, is not something that happens overnight. However, nurturing self-awareness will help you understand essential skills you lack. Therefore, identifying soft skills that need to be developed. As a result, you are evidencing to management that you’re serious about self-growth. And that’s a great thing for your career growth as an technology professionals.
Thinking on your feet and grappling with rapid change is essential for technology professionals. Particularly, as organisations undertake digital transformations, increase project volumes and deal with talent shortages. In addition, a lot of IT projects are focused on solving problems and creating new environments. To achieve success, critical thinking is an absolute must. From solving business problems to creating new environments, these often require critical thinking. A positive trait of critical thinkers is a high degree of flexibility. Because critical thinkers have no fixed mindset and are open to accepting solutions that might be outside of the ‘norm’.
If you want to develop in your IT career, developing your soft skills will help you do that. Identify which skills you lack and need to improve (self-awareness) that will positively affect not only your growth in your current role, but also into your next one.
If you need a hand in assessing what skills you’re lacking, here are a few tips to get your started.
Asking for feedback is a strength. It shows maturity that you don’t know it all and are open to constructive feedback to continue to grow. Not only your career but the build on the soft skills needed to achieve success. It might feel awkward initially but it’s the fastest way to learn how to grow by getting a variety of views. Because others might see what you don’t.
Whilst communication might be a soft skill you need to work on, it’s important that you dive right in by making the time to communicate with co-workers, stakeholders and leadership. This will increase your confidence and creative a positive feedback loop to keep you on the right track.
Find ways to practice. Whether it’s putting yourself in situations where you’re communicating more frequently face to face to role-playing workplace situations with co-workers. The latter will help you build confidence in a low-pressure way, ultimately improving your soft skills.
Part of growing and developing your soft skills is understanding your progress. Yup, self-awareness again. Keep track of your efforts. Knowing what was successful and what wasn’t, will help you understand yourself better and keep you focused on the areas you need work on.
Improving your soft skills will improve your career. As a result, you will also notice Along with improving your career, soft skills can make you a more well-rounded person and ease everyday life, helping you flourish at work, home and everywhere in between.
If you want to discuss your career or identify the soft skills to help you develop to your next IT position, speak to one of our IT recruiters today to get started.
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Co-founder at Devonshire Hayes