Ever since most of the world began working remotely, team collaboration and interaction has changed a lot. No longer do we see our colleagues’ faces every single day. In fact, software developers might go days without interacting with their teammates; as long as the job gets done. Yet, while technical skills are what is looked for in a software developer, soft skills still matter. Most employers may emphasize on both soft and hard skills equally during recruitment.
Media has often portrayed software developers as antisocial, hoodie-wearing, basement-dwelling nerds. Yet, a lot of them are actually quite creative and may share some valuable insights when given a chance. Here are the top soft skills that recruiters look for in software developers.
Software developers spend a lot of time communicating with team members about the project. For a strong collaboration, it is important to have effective communication. A big part of this is also about being a good listener. With effective communication, it becomes easier to recognise and solve problems before it blows up.
Communication skills is a combination of verbalizing, non-verbal cues and listening. Being able to vocalize your thoughts about ideas, issues and feedback is crucial in every stage of product development. Apart from talking with your team, how efficiently you are able to convey your process to the clients or the management/stakeholders also comes into play.
Software developers also need to be patient. Not everyone is a developer, so being able to explain things to non-developers, clients, etc. requires patience. There can be situations where a client asks for a “simple” functionality which might actually involve a lot of work. With patience and understanding, a developer might have to help the client understand the actual scope of work involved and the complexity, without using technical jargon that some may not understand.
Being patient also makes you more approachable, and the team may feel more comfortable to talk to you. If someone has something to discuss, listening to them patiently and addressing the issue is equally important.
There could also be situations where a lot has gone wrong and you might have to restart coding. This can be frustrating, and can only be handled with patience. Managing change requests also becomes clearer by patiently evaluating the situation.
Fast-paced projects can have a lot of changing tasks and priorities. Being able to handle and tackle these changes efficiently is necessary in such environments. Software developers should also be adaptable to changing technologies, programming languages, frameworks, etc. to stay up-to-date.
A software developer needs to be able to convey their thoughts in a conflict-free way with honesty and transparency. This goes a long way in creating successful projects. By communicating more openly, a lot of issues can be tackled sooner, thus avoiding larger problems. Open-mindedness also encourages the team to discuss new ideas and solutions freely.
Being able to prioritize, plan and manage tasks efficiently is an important skill. To ensure that you meet your deadlines, time management is crucial. Not only should you tackle your tasks properly, but also give equal care to related or dependent tasks that your colleagues might have.
By planning your tasks, you also get a better clarity of the deliverables. You should also be able to report issues or blocks that could affect someone else’s task or the overall project. Keeping the team and the client/stakeholders up-to-date with this information can help in better project execution.
Effective time-management is not just about spending all the time in front of a screen. Developers should also balance their personal and professional life well so that one doesn’t get negatively affected because of the other.
No matter how well a project is planned, there are bound to be problems during execution. Software developers should have a problem-solving mindset to tackle any hurdles in their work. They should be able to think creatively and also take the initiative to take on challenges.
Developers should also be upfront with their mistakes and have a positive approach to understand, analyze and rectify them.
As mentioned above, technical skills are not the only things that matter. When software developers only focus on their technical skills, it can be difficult for them to work as part of a team. A developer’s skills go beyond just coding or fixing bugs.