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Software career development may be seen as relying on coding and programming knowledge but character traits are the most important key to success. So called ‘soft skills’ are critical to career development.
What are soft skills?
Unlike technical skills and knowledge, soft skills are to do with personality not knowledge. A technical skill (also known as a ‘hard skill’) could be expertise in coding or software development, whereas the ability to communicate well with other people is a soft skill. A study from Harvard showed that career success relies 85% on soft skills and only 15 percent on hard skills. Meanwhile a 2019 global LinkedIn study reported that 91 percent of companies believe soft skills are crucial to the future of recruiting – and eight in ten are experiencing a shortage.
Communication, problem solving and creativity
Communication is a skill that can be overlooked by employers. At Aquarium we look to prioritise candidates that can communicate complicated concepts in a way that a layperson can understand. We also value problem solvers and understand the role that creativity plays in software development.
Software development can be solitary job, but team working is crucial to increase efficiency and ingenuity. A development project may include project managers, coders, UX / UI designers and testers, so developers need to demonstrate their role as a team player, including showing empathy and patience.
With frequent demands piling up, time management is another important soft skill. Poor time management can lead to projects becoming delayed and also impact stress levels and mental wellbeing within a team. Time management is important in all aspects of life, so it pays to develop this skill.
Can you learn soft skills?
Soft skills may not be as easy to learn as hard skills, but it is possible. It does require self-reflection and willingness to improve.
To develop soft skills:
- Be receptive to feedback from your employer and colleagues.
- Work hard to build relationships.
- Be prepared to leave comfort zones and try new things.
- Challenge yourself.
- Learn from others who demonstrate strong soft skills.
You can find other workplace tips and tricks, by visiting our careers blog.