7 soft skills every engineer needs

Hard skills are essential to success in a tech career. Many technical jobs require specific knowledge and specialized technical skills to perform important job functions. However, don’t underestimate the power of soft skills. Soft skills help you navigate many aspects of life, including careers in any industry. Specifically, soft skills in the technology industry can make the difference between a talented job candidate and someone who can become a leader or valuable team member.

Explore the most valuable soft skills for technology professionals and how to develop them to stand out from the crowd.

7 soft skills every tech professional should have

Soft skills are considered unique behaviors or personality traits. It’s the interpersonal skills that employees bring to the workplace, the intangible qualities that set professionals apart as good communicators and team members. Even if you’re a technology expert, if you can’t work well with others, you won’t bring as much benefit to your company as someone with both hard and soft skills.

Here are seven soft skills every tech professional should have.

1. Communication and collaboration skills

Technology does not exist in a vacuum. Building technology with others or as part of a team is more fun. According to Marta Jasinska, chief technology officer at Bloom & Wild, this will lead to better applications and products.

“If you build something yourself, it’s also very difficult to scale,” she said. “You don’t always have to work in a hub or office. You can work remotely, but we’re all part of a broader team, all working towards creating something together.”

Effective communication is also important. According to Richard Tyndall, owner and founder of TYN Consulting, there are two main keys to communication.

  • Please explain how and why. It’s essential to share how something works and why it’s important. “You have to be able to explain how something works, but you also have to be able to explain why. That means translating people’s needs and explaining why they need a particular solution. You need to,” says Tyndall.
  • Get to know your audience. Tindall said another aspect of communication is communicating well with customers and other audiences who “don’t speak technology.” The ability to adjust your tone and understanding depending on who you’re talking to is a great soft skill, especially when explaining technical content to people who aren’t familiar with a particular technology.

Jasinska agrees that the ability to explain complex issues in everyday language is important. “We are always working on very complex problems, and being able to explain them in ways other than technology is a game-changer. This opens doors, makes life easier, and ultimately Skills that enable you to position technology as key to the success of your entire organization.”

Jasinska suggests using graphic presentations, analogies, and everyday language rather than technical jargon to ensure your audience understands.

One way to improve customer communication is to quickly respond to negative customer reviews with a personalized response that apologizes, empathizes, and rectifies the situation.

2. Time management skills

“Good or bad time management skills can have a ripple effect on other members of the team,” said Christopher Navalta, communications manager at Ubisoft. “If a team is working on a project and one person misses a deadline, the project can quickly derail. You may face disadvantages due to [their] You can spend your time efficiently. ”

Time management is especially important given that IT departments are not only responsible for a single system. There are many moving parts, all of which require some TLC.

“It’s important to create a maintenance schedule and find time in between to do tasks that aren’t part of your regular schedule,” says Tindall. “This type of time management reduces your company’s exposure to cybersecurity threats by allowing you time to properly address and manage your systems.” [Follow these tips to improve your business’s cybersecurity in an hour.]

Time management influences many other soft skills, such as reliability in meeting deadlines.

“People who can get their work done in a timely manner quickly become more valuable,” says Stephen Page, vice president of digital strategy at Giant Partners, a data and digital marketing services agency. “It also makes your employees want to entrust you with important tasks because you can ensure optimal turnaround time.”

Page added that employees without time management skills can be difficult to work with and end up pushing more work onto other team members. Because he doesn’t want to give the person a task that will take forever to complete.

Need to improve your time management skills? Try a productivity app like Todoist that focuses on time and project management.

3. Networking skills

Networking is important on many levels. According to business coach and consultant Connelly Hayward, one of the benefits of a strong professional network is that it provides a resource for overcoming challenges and solving problems.

“Having someone to talk to about things increases the potential for insight and solutions,” Hayward says. “We not only enhance our own thinking, but we also incorporate their best thinking. Great thinking occurs when ideas, thoughts, challenges, problems, and solutions are discussed openly and freely. A strong network of people with whom we feel comfortable reduces barriers to free-flowing conversation.”

Tyndall also agreed with this opinion. “You’d be surprised how often other people face the same problem at the same time. When you come together to discuss, you can bring together different expertise to help find the best solution. Solution Development Networking is essential.”

4. Empathy

Building technology is about solving problems, but you can’t solve problems if you don’t understand the pain of your users.

Christopher McCann, CEO of AI-powered healthcare company Current Health, says the worst products are ones where designers and engineers clearly lack a true understanding of users and their daily lives. He said that it is a product that has a long history. The ability to empathize with users and understand their problems is essential to solving problems.

Digital and IT consultant Clarence Lam says, “A lack of empathy may result in technical professionals becoming frustrated with stakeholders with whom they disagree as a result of their ability to communicate in an understandable way.” ” he said. “The situation is even worse when technical experts do not understand the overarching business goals they are trying to achieve, and many misunderstandings can occur.”

5.Critical thinking skills

Employers are looking for candidates who can think on their feet. They want to know that they can make informed decisions no matter what situation they encounter. Critical thinking skills allow you to evaluate problems and suggest productive solutions. Critical thinking is important in all types of industries and professions.

Critical thinkers also have a high degree of flexibility. You are not stuck in a fixed mindset. Instead, be ready to accept solutions that may deviate from the norm.

6. Be proactive

The technology industry is changing rapidly, and changes in tools and best practices can seem to happen overnight. Critical thinking skills help technology professionals find the best way to integrate new products and solutions, while being proactive helps them pinpoint business technology trends.

Being an active critical thinker helps technical professionals understand industry trends, suggest workflow changes and improvements, and implement changes as needed.

7. Self-awareness

General self-awareness supports all other soft skills. Not everyone can be a master communicator, networker, time manager, etc. However, developing self-awareness can help you understand the important skills you lack and be able to develop them. [Related article: 10 Tips for Leaders to Improve Their Self-Awareness]

Knowing where to focus your time can go a long way toward a better career. It also helps show management during the review cycle that you are actively taking direction and are serious about personal growth.

In addition to hard and soft skills, IT managers need business skills such as decision-making, goal-setting, strategic thinking, and negotiation.

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