The stereotype of the loner developer is long outdated. Companies are looking for tech pros with top-notch soft skills because adaptability and collaboration are essential to have in colleagues to forge great teams. Learn about the most vital soft skills for software developers and find out why HR people are so obsessed with them.
Top 5 soft skills developers should have in 2023
Digitalization sped up rapidly, and people interact more and more online, but that doesn’t mean collaboration between people was erased—quite the opposite.
Learning, collaborating, and effectively communicating have never been as important as these days. Without all the non-verbal cues available in an offline setting, the importance of soft skills skyrocketed.
This handy guide gives you an overview of essential soft skills for software developers. Though they take time to develop, they’re going to boost your value on the job market, so investing in them will be worth your while.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills affect how you collaborate at your workplace. They can influence your reputation and your chances of getting hired.
If you’re focused on building a tech career, you might pass the importance of these skills by. But no matter where you end up, you’ll have to work with others, managers, clients, or peers. And how you handle communication, feedback, and eventual conflicts with them will affect your career’s success.
While it’s true that technical skills can solve issues, you need soft skills to handle interpersonal conflicts. And a software developer’s job is not free of these instances by any means.
Why are soft skills for software developers so important?
It’s no secret that hiring managers and HR people are obsessed with soft skills.
LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report found that 92% of surveyed talent professionals and hiring managers think soft skills are more important than technical skills.
From another survey done by West Monroe, we learned that “98% of HR leaders say soft skills are important in landing a tech position. So important that 67% say they have withheld a job offer from an otherwise qualified technical candidate solely because they lacked soft skills.”
The reason behind all this is that companies are looking for team players and effective communicators instead of lone coder superstars. They want to build a pleasant company environment that will lead to long-term success and happy employees.
Can you learn soft skills?
Absolutely, but it’s a more prolonged process and not that straightforward. It takes practice, and you need to focus on developing them.
“Developing soft skills is like learning a language.” – a colleague once said. “It can take weeks, even months, to improve them.”
It’s vital to learn these skills as you build the foundation of your tech career. Sadly, most schools don’t focus much on teaching them, even though they help advance your career and get hired faster.
What are the most important soft skills for software developers?
Now let’s jump to our list. Here are the top 5 soft skills software developers should have.
By adopting it, we’ve seen people change their lives for the better. It helps you develop faster when you learn because you start to look at initial mistakes as valuable learning opportunities instead of failures. And this mindset can improve your personal life as well.
The more you practice it, the more you can let go of “fixed mindset” statements about yourself. And the more you let go of blaming yourself, the more you progress. When you understand that your mindset and actions create your reality and results, nothing else, you become unstoppable.
It’s essential to be patient with yourself and allow yourself to make initial mistakes. If you practice a growth mindset, you’ll understand that “failing” at something first is the only way to get better at it.
This skill will surely lead you to more success and better productivity. When you have everything planned out and clearly see your day’s structure, it’s easier to stay on task and complete goals.
Time management skills break down your day and your goals into manageable pieces. They are critical if you’re prone to procrastination.
If you develop this skill, you’ll not only be more efficient at work, your co-workers will love you for it and you’ll improve your work-life balance too. By reducing the stress you might have about deadlines, you can take tasks one by one and won’t cut things too close.
3. Assertive communication
This skill is often seen as the balance between passive and aggressive behavior. When you’re assertive, you can comfortably express how you feel and what is in your best interest without causing hurt or confusion to others.
Some examples of assertiveness:
- Being able to admit to mistakes and apologize.
- Listening to what others say and responding appropriately (even if you disagree with what they’re saying).
- Accepting responsibilities.
- Being appreciative.
And many more.
4. Feedback (receive and give)
Giving feedback is a skill you can and should learn, but just like any other skill, it takes practice.
At Codecool, we have regular feedback sessions because we know that dwelling on problems takes precious time and kills motivation. So the more we practice this skill, the better our team spirit will be.
Significant aspects to keep in mind about feedback: it should always be about behavior (never personality, intelligence, or something else); it should always be timely (not two months after something happened); focus on ways to improve (and stop dwelling on the negatives); be balanced and thoughtful.
Nobody is perfect; everybody makes mistakes, which should always be the baseline for giving and receiving feedback.
You need presentation skills in almost every career path, and developers are no exception. It’s just one way of transmitting your ideas and doesn’t always involve 20 people watching you in a room.
However, having to present for a bigger audience can happen when you’re a developer. And in those instances, how much experience you have with presentation is a game changer.
When asked to talk in public, many feel terrified and blame their introverted tendencies for it. But you don’t have to be an outgoing person to be good at presenting.
At Codecool, we put a lot of emphasis on improving soft skills, and presenting is no exception. Next to practicing presentation skills in student groups, we regularly host Code Demos, where Codecoolers show their work in front of real clients (representatives of our hiring partners).
Want to become a skilled developer?
If you want to learn to code and start a new tech career, we’re here to help you make the first steps.
Our unique method and mentoring system guarantee that you’ll learn the most important hard skills and all the valuable soft skills (the ones above and even more).