Far too many technology professionals suffer under the false impression that the technical nature of the field means that they don’t need to worry about things like interpersonal work relationships or customer service delivery. However, it has been proven time and time again: soft skills are just as important (if not MORE important) than hard skills if you want to go into computer programming, IT, or another area of the tech sector.
Of course, tech professionals must have the requisite hard, technical skills. But if you really want to set yourself apart, you will want to master some essential soft skills that commonly lead to success in a range of industries as well as life in general. What follows are five key soft skills that tech workers simply cannot afford to overlook.
Most tech jobs involve teamwork among collogues, interacting with supervisors, and/or providing quality customer service. For these reasons, communication tops most experts’ lists of the most important soft skills in the tech world. It is extremely important to employ different communication techniques when communicating with different audiences. While industry jargon and shorthand are preferable when speaking with other tech professionals, it is typically not appropriate when speaking with clients.
The organized thinking that underlies many tasks in the tech world doesn’t necessarily translate into a tidy desk or accurate record keeping, but organization is important in all aspects of the average tech position. In short, an organized tech professional is a productive tech professional. One of the most important aspects of organization is effective scheduling and time management. Lost in the task at hand, far too many tech professionals have trouble keeping to a daily calendar.
- Critical Thinking
Far from the robotic machines that some people stereotype them as, tech professionals must often employ highly critical, out-of-the-box thinking to solve complex problems. Although the problems that they encounter are typically technical in nature, the methods needed to solve them may require high-level analytical thinking skills and even a bit of old-fashioned human institution. Critical thinking involves questioning assumptions, diversity of thought, and an emphasis on logical reasoning.
Similar to workers in most business sectors and industries, tech professionals must develop their networking skills if they want to establish productive industry relationships and advance in their careers. Networking is particularly important in the technology sector work, which often requires collaboration with other experts. Look upon everyone that you meet as a possible industry contact or partner.
It may come as a surprise to some, but tech work requires just as much “right-brained” thinking as it does “left-brained” thinking. In other words, creativity is just as important as logical reasoning in the tech sector. Just think about the colorful innovations and scientific works of art that have come to us through groundbreaking tech moguls such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates! Techniques such as freeform thinking and brainstorming can be quite helpful when building creative thinking skills.