Soft skills, why are they so important ?

Today we're going to talk about "soft skills" in the workplace and I'm going to try to explain to you why they are so important and how they can make the difference.

Soft Skills

We often hear about soft skills, but what are they?

Soft skills, also called "basic skills", are skills that can be applied to all professions, as opposed to "hard skills", which are specific to a particular profession.

This category includes a multitude of relational skills, for example (this list is not exhaustive, it corresponds to the most important points in my opinion):

  • Critical thinking, know how to question yourself but also the decisions of others,
  • Problem solving, not feeling demoralized when faced with a big problem,
  • Communication, knowing how to communicate is very important, not isolate yourself,
  • Teamwork, know how to collaborate on a common project,

These very general skills will be useful for you to integrate into a team or to interact with your clients.

Do they really matter?

Soft skills are extremely important in the professional world.

Especially during a job interview, a person who knows how to communicate correctly, explain what he/she has been working on, etc., has a much better chance of being recruited than the opposite.

Developers who have technical difficulties and know how to communicate are considered better than the opposite.

In our business, technologies are evolving so fast that a recruiter is not only looking for a technically gifted developer but also someone able to evolve within the company.

A developer who doesn't want to change/evolve, who has an overinflated ego (believing himself to be on top of everything) will have much less chance than vice versa.

That's why we can say that soft skills are more important than hard skills (I'm talking about our profession, but I imagine that this is also true for other professions)

How to "work" on my soft skills?

Just like hard skills, soft skills are not "innate".

For example, the more you communicate, the more comfortable you will be.

You don't need to master absolutely all of these skills, but we can see the "must have " skills in my opinion.

Have a critical mind

Having a critical mind is great. You have to understand that one way of working is not necessarily the best way for everyone, to know how to question yourself continuously.

If you take the slightest remark about your code or the way you work the wrong way, it's a bad sign! We have to know how to remember our work.

We always have something to learn and we welcome any feedback.

You must also dare to talk about your difficulties , not to close yourself off to a problem that could be solved as a team. Simply ask for help.

Know how to communicate

Communication is essential in our business.

A developer never works alone.

Being able to explain code to colleagues, to justify technical decisions are very important things, for example.

Knowing how to communicate with a customer is essential too, especially if you are brought to be in contact with.

Constantly learning

Our job is in constant evolution, we are required to learn throughout our career.

You have to be able to learn a new framework, a new technology on your own.

Don't hesitate to do technology watch to keep you informed of new features but also of updates. For that, I create a newsletter to share my technology watch every week. You can subscribe at this address(The newsletter has just been switched to English/French, don't hesitate to subscribe !)).

Solving problems without panic

Not to panic and demoralize at the first problem encountered is very important too, especially in our job where we spend our time debugging!

For that, nothing better than decoupling your big problem into several small ones, so you don't feel overloaded.

And if you are stuck, don't hesitate to ask for help, as seen in the 1st point.

A company would rather you ask for help than waste time on a problem for 4 days!

In conclusion

Most soft skills come "on their own" with experience but mostly it all depends on one's character.

Now that you have all the keys in hand, you will be able to be much more fulfilled in what you do.

If you want to go deeper, I recommend this book that Medhi Zed aka Jesuisundev had shared on his article "Top 3 essential books for developers"