What Are “Soft Skills” and How Important Are They in My New Software Developer?

This may seem like the latest industry buzzword, the one everyone loves to throw around just because it’s trending and in style, however, soft skills are quickly becoming the quality most major companies are looking for in employees, not technological “hard” skills, but soft “emotional” or “human” skills, and there’s very good reason for it.

 

Susan Collins, director of Talent acquisition at SHRM, shared some interesting statistics at a 2020 Talent Conference; apparently, a massive 97% of employers surveyed considered these skills at least as important as any other ability in a candidate. Another eye-opening statistic she shared is that almost half (46%) of new employees, fail within the first eighteen months and 89% of these do so because of a lack of soft skills.

 

Software Developers Need Soft Skills Just as Much

 

So, what are they? And how come no one seems to have realized something as dire as this until now? Well, the truth is that business used to be far more pragmatic in the past, and it used to be thought that the success of people could be determined in a clear, mathematical model: the better trained, better educated candidate, inevitably would render the better results. Simple. However, as this has been proven wrong over and over, investigators, sociologists and psychologists started  proposing alternatives.

 

The basic Soft Skills needed in a successful employee, according to Daniel Goleman, pioneer in the study of Emotional Intelligence, are:

 

-   Self-Awareness: We’ve discussed the importance of knowing oneself in the past, and that goes for software developers too. You need to understand yourself to be able to have good relationships with others and with your own work.

-   Motivation: Quite obvious, but in these forced Home Office times, it’s more important than ever. People need to be able to push forward with less guidance than ever before. Furthermore, a motivated employee motivates others, while a demotivated employee will break your team’s morale.

-   Self-Management: Once again, in these strange times of lock down, employees need to be more independent than ever, and someone that needs constant supervision doesn’t cut it. You need people that will work well, ethically and constantly even without the eyes of a manager on their backs.

-   Empathy: It is crucial for software developers to be able to work in teams, and empathy is a key element of team work.

-   Social Skills: Far too common is the stereotype of the developer that doesn’t have social abilities and in this new working environment, that won’t fly. Even if your developer isn’t going to be in contact with clients, you still need someone that can take instruction and criticism, someone that can learn from their mistakes and someone that can eventually lead a team, so social skills are paramount in this day and age.


At Near Shore Devs we take our Software Developers’ Soft Skills Very Seriously


It’s important to emphasize that recognizing that soft skills are indeed fundamental for your software development team is not enough, it is equally crucial that you work on developing them constantly.


At Near Shore Devs we have created a Human Resources department that tracks the advances our software developers make in their soft-skill training, to elevate their profile and put forward high-performing individuals for your company.


Our commitment is to build competitive, agile teams, with a high level of emotional intelligence capable of satisfying their business needs successfully.


Tell us about your business needs and we will be happy to join your tech development strategy.


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