In an article recently published in Washington Post, Google revealed that the 8 most important qualities of its top employees, were all soft skills, namely: being a good coach, communicating and listening well, possessing insights into others, having empathy, being supportive, critical thinking and making connection across complex ideas. Shockingly for everyone, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) came dead last on the 8th spot. While Google originally set its hiring algorithms to sort for computer science students with top grades from elite universities, the 2013 study showed that it’s soft skills that dictate success, even in a tech company such as Google.
It’s easy to see that when it comes down to being the best developer or software engineer at your job, technical skills alone will just not do. Although the knowledge, experience and tech skills make the core part of an IT position and are a sine qua non condition for getting hired on the job, there are other things that count just as much to maintain the position.
We’re talking soft skills.
When it comes to web developers and software engineers in particular, some soft skills are more important than others. This is why we asked our IT recruiting specialists, Lia, Ana and Andreea to clear the fog and pinpoint towards the most important soft skills a web developer must have or work on to improve. Let’s begin!
1. Good Communication Skills
Good communication is undoubtedly the most important soft skill a web developer should master, yet the most troublesome at the same time. And when we say good communication we refer to the ability to speak your mind with integrity, honesty and respect towards yourself and others. Both Lia and Ana emphasized that when coming to a job interview, communications skills are the most important soft skills IT candidates should turn their attention to as well. We mean, talking on the subject, knowing how to present yourself assertively, without bragging or being too arrogant.
Communication with the self is also included here, and it starts with being honest with yourself, with where you are now and where you want to be. Lia emphasized that a good self-evaluation will help you apply for the positions that actually match your expertise and experience and thus avoid rejection. On the long run, this will also help you maintain a healthy self-esteem and accurate image of who you are. Hence, good communication is not only about the interaction with others, but also that “talking” to yourself, which is equally important.
2. Proactiveness & Taking Initiative
Taking action towards your goals is another important trait of top developers. Instead of waiting to react to the outer world, the best developers and software engineers are proactive in their approach. They don’t wait for things to happen in order to have a reaction, but make things happen. Being proactive is especially paramount in stressful or problematic work situations, where attitude is everything. This is why being proactive and taking initiative is a criterion for team leads or coaches who have lots of responsibility on their hands.
3. Creativeness & Adaptability
One definitory aspect of a web developer’s job is that there are lots of untrodden paths, forcing you to learn new things almost on a daily basis. New technologies, new procedures, you name it. That is why, being creative and easily adaptable are so important for web developers and IT professionals in general. Creative individuals are remarkable for adapting to almost any situations and make do with what’s available to get things done, that’s why this is soft skill is so important to have.
4. Work Ethics
We could say that great work ethics is the cherry on top when it comes a firsthand web developer. Work ethics sums up a lot of values that are usually learned from a very early age and in many cases hard to change. Integrity, respect, responsibility, communication, and interaction as well as eagerness and willingness to improve to do a job as best as one can are included here. Team work is also very important for IT professionals, no matter you are a team lead or team player, as our specialists particularly mentioned. Work ethics are mostly intrinsic values and deep-rooted qualities one possesses that make you who you are as a person at the work place.
For IT professionals, soft skills are basically what separates the boys from the men, so to say. They make part of your personality, they represent your values and beliefs, attitudes, social and emotional intelligence, common sense, education as well as personal development and other important factors. Although they are often times overlooked, especially when it comes to highly technical jobs, they have in fact coursed your navigation through life including the acquiring of the hard skills you now have. If we were to put it in simpler terms, hard skills are the things you know and the soft skills are how you do them. The “know” and the “how”. Having both is a match made in heaven.