Most of us can agree that there is a tech skills gap, but what about a soft skills gap? Skills like communication and problem solving are consistently in high demand. Some soft skills have even gained priority over essential hard tech skills.
Let’s see how much soft skills actually matter today:
- 57% of leaders say soft skills are more important than hard skills, according to LinkedIn.
- Finding workers with the right soft skills is among the top five factors contributing to a more challenging hiring landscape, according to SherWeb’s 2018 Industry Report.
- By 2020, employment in all computer occupations is expected to increase by 22%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This doesn’t mean it will necessarily be easier to find a job, because companies won’t just hire anyone. They are still going to look for well-rounded candidates.
The ability to not just communicate, but communicate effectively, is a vital part of success in any career field, especially tech. Your communication skills are a direct reflection of your company and your personal brand, so continuous refinement is necessary.
Most tech professionals are required to collaborate in teams and have lots of interaction with clients and users. You should be able to take highly complex information and present it to anyone in or outside of your company in a way they can understand. Read more on why communication is important here.
Major key: Communication is not just about talking. It’s also about listening!
Behind every successful project is a successful team. When you work alone, you only bring your own skills to the table. When you work in a team, there are an
infinite amount of skills available to take advantage of. For this reason and many others, working in teams is inevitable and invaluable in the tech industry.
At Linux Academy, we understand the value of collaboration and support. Almost every project is taken on by a team of developers, designers, or tech writers. We all work together to push the boundaries of online learning and support our students’ mission to learn and grow.
Major Key: Teamwork also means disagreeing in healthy ways. It’s okay to not always agree with members of your team. Handling disagreement in a healthy and collaborative way is essential.
3. Problem Solving
If you think you can coast through your work week without facing a problem- you’re wrong. Problems arise anywhere and everywhere they can, but you can minimize their impact if you react appropriately.
When (not if) problems come your way, analyze and begin working towards a solution without panicking. How you handle and react to problems will largely affect your success with a company. If you can predict or prepare for problems before they arise, even better!
Major Key: If you need help, it’s okay to reach out. Another benefit to working in teams is having lots of hands-on deck to solve problems.
4. Customer Service
Most soft skills will revolve around communication, and customer service is another one. Twenty years ago, programmers and developers could successfully do their jobs with minimal customer interaction. In today’s industry, which highly values relationship building and the customer experience, that’s just not possible.
Customer service includes your ability to deliver the best possible solution or product to your customers. And it requires people to do this while, among other things, minimizing translation issues, negative attitudes, and slow response times. Your emotional intelligence level and ability to empathize are equally important.
At Linux Academy, every employee is encouraged to interact with the community- training architects, executives, and developers alike. Chances are you’ve seen us on Twitter and LinkedIn congratulating students and answering questions. This is all part of the way we serve customers here at Linux Academy.
We all know how fast the tech industry moves, with new changes and problems emerging every hour. The demand to be better, faster, and safer than yesterday in this industry is overwhelming. Without keeping an open mind, neither people nor their companies can be successful. Keep your mind open to new ideas not just from your own team, but from other departments, other companies, and even clients.
Major Key: Ask questions. There is a lot to be learned from your leaders and peers.
So, you’ve decided you want to refine your soft skills. Where do you start? Attending networking events, meetups, and conferences is a great way to interact and learn from people within your industry. You can gain a lot of experience communicating with peers, working in teams during workshops, and listening to influential people in keynotes.
If you cannot take time away to attend one of these events, you can also practice your soft skills in your workplace by accepting more group projects, or going above and beyond to provide exceptional customer service. The Linux Academy team is always here if you have questions about developing your soft skills or your hard tech skills!