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4 soft skills to improve your developer career

Advice, Technology | Chloe Pearson | 24/10/17

5 soft skills to improve your developer career

How you can make an impact with soft skills as well as your code.

When we think about people skills, and using them, in a technology environment, examples can vary from showing empathy for users to having self-awareness and good problem-solving techniques. These examples of ‘soft’ transferable skills actually can make a much bigger impact on your role and become just as important as your coding ability.

You know that it’s your technical talent and expertise that makes you qualified to fill a software developer role within a company. But how can you stand out from the competition? Once you’ve landed your dream role, do you have the right transferable ‘soft skills’ to further develop your career?

Some of these skills you may already have and are using them successfully, read below to find out.

 

Communication

  • The ability to communicate effectively is a skill that all employees need, but it can also be one of the most challenging to master for some. It is important to remember that interactions with others in the business and on your team, end up mattering more than the code you write.
  • When interacting and working with others in the company its essential to communicate without jargon, so that you are able to communicate with everyone on all levels. Not only are your interactions more important than the code you write, but the code you write can also improve your interactions with others.
  • The key to good communication in your team is to always ask questions! In any situation, it’s vital to ask why, listen and be able to respond effectively. Poor communication can lead to a lack of progression in a project and disrupt the team dynamic; if you are overlooking and not discussing problems you may be having at work it can lead to tension between employees and in the long run, inhibit your growth in the company.


Teamwork and social skills

  • Whether you work remotely or on site, you are always going to be a part of a team. Teamwork is not just about working together as a group it’s also about social skills and support. By knowing each team members strengths and weaknesses and being able to empathise, can benefit immensely.
  • You might be a team leader assigning tasks to the team to improve efficiency or struggling to track and eliminate a bug in your code and by fully understanding the people you work with, you will know the person in your team that you can turn to for help.
  • When working as a team, the little things are important – from greeting your colleagues in the morning, complaining out loud less, avoiding being cynical and more aware of opportunities available. Having a positive attitude will not only make things easier for you when facing challenges and obstacles but will also lead your colleagues to offer you help in return.
  • The key to great teamwork is to voice your opinion constructively, inspire others and be trustworthy.


Adaptability

  • Change in the workplace can range from having to learn new skills, taking on extra responsibilities, and projects being cancelled to a change in working hours, relocation and business mergers. It’s unreasonable to expect all change to embraced by everyone, but how you react and handle these types of change demonstrates your ability as a successful developer.
  • Remember that it’s hard to work with people who reject change, by reacting to change positively and looking for the benefits and opportunities within it, you can keep you and your team motivated and positive during hard times of change.
  • Whether you work for a large corporation or a small start-up, being adaptable and wearing many hats is essential and can make a bigger impact on your career than the code you write.


Creativity 

A Quora user once said “[Software Engineering] is perhaps the most creative field imaginable” – “It’s just your thoughts and a screen waiting to be filled with code. In that screen you can create anything.”

  • Being creative essentially means having the ability to come up with something new, and every time a developer writes code, he or she is on the way to creating a solution that has never been created before.
  • Creative thinking can be a great skill to have in your developer arsenal in the workplace; from coming up with a new idea for a product or feature that could be an asset to your company to ideas for a better system or how to manage internal processes.
  • Creativity and having an intrapreneurial (proactive and self-motivated) mindset can also show you are invested in your company and work because you are determined to develop and improve on it.

 

Soft skills are what makes a talented individual into a great employee, and a top-notch team player. Having these skills paired with great technical talent will not only make you a better developer but it will also help you to build up a successful career in the long run.

If you’re looking for a new development opportunity, then take a look at our current developer and open source roles here! Alternatively, why not upload your CV for further advice and help to find your ideal developer role.

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