Who are the famous programmers? Everyone knows Bill Gates and Linux Torvald. A lot of programmers also know Uncle Bob (Robert C. Martin). Why did they become famous? Are they so deep technically? For sure they are technically good, but there are a lot of programmers all around the world who are technically awesome and almost no one knows them. Why are they special then? They know something what others are lacking. These are the so called soft skills: good communication, marketing skills, self management, time management, great presentation skills etc. These skills are making them different, these skills are making them outstanding. And these skills can help every programmer to get a better job, to do a better career and to be more successful. There’s something great: you can improve these skills any time. And it totally makes sense to improve these skills. This is the way to success.
As I just mentioned you can improve these skills anytime. One hand most companies realized how important these skills are, so they are offering trainings for these areas. Join these trainings!
On the other hand you can read a lot about them on the internet or you can buy some nice books.
But what is more important: these are practical skills. It is not enough to learn the theory. You have to use them in your daily life. You can always pay attention on practicing them as much as possible. And not only during work. You can practice them at home with your family or with your friends as well.
As a programmer have to answer emails , participate in meetings, help the other colleagues and be done with your tasks until the due date. This is really challenging. Either you are doing a lot of over hours or you are starting to use some time management technologies, like prioritizing your tasks based on their urgency etc. Without good time management skills it is really difficult to survive as a programmer.
If you want to do a career you need to be able to find the right positions for yourself, you need to see when do you have possibilities to prove your skills, you need to know when is the right time to change. And you need to be able to show to others that you are working well. Most programmers who are not getting promoted only because their outstanding programming skills, they are also able to sell their work to the management.
Programming is not the profession of lonely wolves, even if several people things that it is.
Programming is teamwork and to be able to work in a team you need very good communication skills. You need to understand the problems of the others, you need to ensure them about your solution and you need to be able to communicate your status in a very clear way. You also need to communicate to your managers and in several cases to the customer as well. It is really important to communicate to them in a nice and clear way. As a first step I would suggest to learn about assertive communication.
As a programmer, especially if you are on a higher rank you have to do several presentations. These are either technical presentations (kind of trainings) or presentation about the content and the state of the project. These presentations should be done in a professional way and you need to learn it, what does it mean exactly.
Working as a professional programmer is mostly stressful. Stressful because of the strict due dates and because of the conflicts inside the developer team or between the team and the management. You need to be able to handle this stress in a proper way, otherwise you become either aggressive or depressive, worst case both of them. And this can have a negative impact not only on you and on your work, but also on your family and on your friends.
You need some marketing skills if you decide to do your own business, it is pretty clear. But also as a developer if you are looking for a new job you need to do a kind of self marketing. You are basically a product on the developer market and you have to sell yourself for the highest possible price.
As you have seen you need several soft skills to be successful and a developer, but luckily you can learn them easily, it takes just some time.