Soft skills are essential for software developers because they enable them to communicate and interact with other people in a meaningful and harmonious way. Besides being a good coder, every developer needs soft skills in their toolbox. These skills help developers to thrive in their professional as well as personal life.
Here are the most useful soft skills for software developers.
It is the most important soft skill for developers for any professional. However, effective communication is a two-way road and you not only need to be a great speaker but also a good listener. In the IT industry, you need to listen to your colleagues, customers, or target users to learn about new things, expand your horizons, and rank tasks and requirements. When it comes to speaking, make sure you are clear and confident.
Communication is a very useful weapon and one should use it judiciously. However, there are a few things to be kept in mind while communicating, for example, one should always come out to be polite while conversing and also never interrupt while somebody is talking. In a communication, the participants should be patient, focused, and confident.
While you might spend a lot of your time writing code for machines, you are interacting with other people. “Putting your self in other person’s shoes” is a way to describe empathy in straightforward terms. Understanding other people, their belief systems, their mental and personal characteristics will benefit you. You will be able to adjust your behavior, to address their needs, and make sure that you are taking them into account. This is something that is often overlooked. But, the best developers will try and understand their customers or colleagues since it will enable them to do their job . Again, empathy is your advantage – it will allow you to see things with their eyes. It will make you more sensible and approachable.
The main job of a developer is to fix problems and work with different developers and designers. Development is all about solving complex problems that belong to various domains like the operating systems in your desktops and mobile phones to a bookkeeping software an accountant uses to making an automated vehicle. At the core, all these tasks include solving problems with different scopes and complexities. Hence, if you want to become a good developer, you will have to inculcate critical as well as creativity thinking. Critical thinking involves challenging yourself to solve complex problems and think creatively to find out different unorthodox approaches to a problem. As a developer, you stir your creative juices to devise techniques that solve complex issues. A developer’s ability to critically think and creatively implement and assess solutions will enable the developer to expand and build various applications and grow as a problem-solver.
Building confidence on solid foundation takes time. It’s often connected with the number of years of experience you have. Solving a similar problem for the fifth time should be easier and more familiar for you than solving it for the first time. It should give you a feeling of control and competence. Confidence grows when it’s fed with control and competence.
We often see a lack of confidence with our junior developers and designers. They are unsure of how to proceed. They can get to the point where they are stuck, and you witness “analysis paralysis.” At that point, we take a step back. Building confidence also needs a nurturing environment. Someone willing to help, educate, and explain. People who are confident enough so they can be humble. See how it ties with humility.
While it is okay to make mistakes, learn, and build your confidence over time, you need to show that you are capable of doing so. Few things are sadder (in the software development) than seeing smart people afraid of trying. People who start Googling and go to StackOverflow before they even consider the task at hand. Give it a try. Don’t start every job with “I don’t know how to solve this!” – Or, even worse – “This is not for me!“.
You are engineers and problem-solvers. Try it before you quit. I had to let go of people who are not able to display the ability to try and solve their dev tasks. Make mistakes, who cares. But, be confident enough that you can find a solution or at least attack the problem from several angles.
With time you will see that you are getting better at this. You will have more wins, and your confidence will grow. Now, be smart and don’t let it drive you to the point where you become unrealistic and vain. Remember, self-confidence needs humility.
Software development is all about working in a team on a project in a stipulated time period. More often than not, software developers are involved with managing people as well as different types of projects. Hence, management is the most prominent soft skill for software developers.
Time management is important because more often than not there are deadlines to meet and estimates to give and hence as a software developer, one must be conscious of the time spent on a particular project. People management is also essential because as mentioned in the blog earlier that software developers rarely work in an isolated environment.
Time and people management are one of the key characteristics that a recruiter looks for a potential software developer candidate. A software developer from all experience levels is expected to work well in a team and meet their time estimates. Hence, if you are aiming to become a successful software developer in a good company, one skill that you need to inculcate is successful management of time and good coordination of people.