Soft skills for developers: why and how to develop?
Why did soft skills become necessary?
We all know the “famous" image of a programmer: an introvert, in a grandmother's sweater, stretched pants and glasses. Of course, at the time of the birth of the profession (and the emergence of this stereotype), there was no talk of any soft skills, because if you knew how to write code, you were already cool! Now the field of IT and the profession itself has changed significantly.
The responsibilities of a good developer include not only the fulfillment of technical tasks, but also the skills of managing a team, communicating with clients, and others. In other words, there are more requirements for specialists.
Why does a developer need soft skills?
1. Helps with employment
Agree, if the employer needs to choose between two candidates with the same professional skills (hard skills), then the choice will be made in favor of the one who also has good soft skills. It’s more profitable to take someone who can take responsibility, likes to take the initiative, manage the process, able to communicate with the team and listen to the interlocutor.
2. High Career Opportunity
Developed “soft” skills definitely help in the career ladder, because with each new step there are more and more responsibilities. If you want to grow to a senior, then you should think about developing soft skills. He differs from June not only in his experience, but also in his ability to make decisions that will be beneficial for the company.
Google in 2017 conducted an interesting study on this topic. They decided to identify the best teams within the company. According to the results, it turned out that the employees of the most productive teams are people who have a high level of soft skills.
What soft skills are needed?
These are negotiation skills, presentations, the ability to find compromises and work in a team.
Product development is a team effort. If you want, you don’t want to, but you have to interact with the team. Especially now, when many companies hold retrospectives and other internal events at which they discuss problems, solutions and new ideas.
Communication skills are useful when communicating with colleagues, sharing experience and knowledge. If you want to develop, then without it anywhere.
How to develop?
- Talk more. Yes, maybe scary, unusual, but that's fine. Especially if you have been working on freelance for a long time, where you independently did your job and were responsible for it. Naturally, after that it will be unusual to work in a team. But it is worth remembering that this is a temporary stage. The sooner you cross the fear - begin to communicate, be open and interested, the sooner it will become familiar to you.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. The team is a place where everyone is working on the same thing, so do not be shy and contact your colleagues for help. I think they will be pleased and you will train your skill (the main thing is not to abuse it)
2. Creativity and Flexibility
This item is about the ability to quickly adapt to new conditions and find non-standard solutions to the situation.
While working on an IT product, significant adjustments are often made that need to be quickly responded to.Also, the developer needs to have innovative thinking in order to generate suggestions for improving the product.
How to develop?
- Find new approaches to old tasks. Ask yourself: “How can you do it differently here?”.
- Take on tasks that are unusual for you. Once I heard a phrase that I remembered very well: "hell increases skill." It means that the more difficult you take tasks for yourself, the faster you learn.
This includes time management and the ability to prioritize.
When several projects go parallel, it’s not just important, but you need to be able to manage your time and understand how to allocate your resources.
How to develop?
- Keep all tasks in one place. It can be an application or notepad. Here, firstly, you need to accustom yourself to behaving him (if you have not done so yet), and secondly, with this approach you will definitely not lose anything and will not forget.
- Prioritize each task.
- Starting with the hardest task. Have you ever had such things that you seem to have been doing all day, and look in the evening - the most difficult task has not been completed. This aspect is just about it. Business coach Brian Tracy says: “eat a frog in the morning,” that is, at the beginning of the day, complete the most difficult task.
4. Independence and proactivity
Here the principle is simple: to do more than expected from you and not to ask again questions to which you yourself can find the answer.
How to develop?
- No need to immediately run to your senior colleagues in any question - google it and try to solve the problem yourself. This approach saves not only your time, but also the time of other employees. And adds a plus to the reputation.
How to test your soft skills?
Professional skills are confirmed by diplomas, certificates and certificates, but how to check soft skills?
It seems to me that here is one option: ask your family and friends for an opinion. They know you and will tell you exactly what to work on.
What to read about soft skills?
- Gavin Kennedy "You can agree on everything! How to achieve maximum in any negotiations "
- Jim Camp “First, say no”
- Roman Pichler “Product Management at Scrum. Agile methods for your business. "
- Michael Mikalko “Rice storming and another 21 ways to think outside the box.”
- Stephen Covey "7 Skills of Highly Effective People."
- Michael Atavar "Creativity. Use custom solutions every day. ”
About Time Management:
- Tom DeMarco "Deadline. A novel about project management. "
- David Allen "How to Get Things Tidy."
- Daniel Kahneman "Think slowly... decide fast"
Soft skills need to be developed as well as programming skills. It will definitely not be superfluous in the market, and in most cases it will play into your hands. Therefore, decide on the skill that you want to improve. Do not take it all at once! Act gradually, one by one. Then it will be effective.
Write your point A and point B. Where do you start and what result do you want to come to? Remember to set the deadlines.
To implement, make a plan with contractual actions. For example, I want to develop a communication skill. So every day I have to communicate with one stranger.
Do not be afraid, practice and everything will work out! The Evercode Lab team will support you.