A lot has changed over the decade in IT industry and the related career options; however, one thing that has stayed true is the relevance of Soft skills that have played pivotal role in building IT careers. You may feel that you can easily carve out an IT professional out of a coding master and have a secret recipe to become an app developer or bagging a job easily in an ITES brand, but without the right soft skills the dream will simply be unattained. Really the secret to success in an IT career is not the technical skills only. Soft skills constitute of that 20% of the Pareto that brings 80% of success in stepping onto the career ladder. Soft skills refer to a person’s Personality traits. They often do not get taught in IT educational institutions or easily acquired by students through numerous learning opportunities. The World Economic Forum Report of 2020 suggested people management, emotional intelligence, coordinating with others and critical thinking to be among the most important Soft skills required in the workplace to excel and keep pace.
Soft Skills are personal traits that affect and influence the way you can work or interact with others. The characteristics of any business relationship at workplace are based upon how one forms and maintains relationships with their team workers. Trust and dependability on others, initiative taking and listening abilities will determine your behaviours at workplace.
Organisations tend to undervalue these skills and invest much lesser in upskilling their task force in these skills than the hard skills.
In most cases of IT stalwarts have taken hands-on experience by tinkering their computer in their garages or their unpaid internships. It reinforces how technical skills are much easier to cultivate and develop on the job than some of the soft skills. IT jobs may come in different bandwidths and pay scales, but these can be explored and acquired by showcasing the right soft skills in the selection rounds and at the workplaces.
Almost every IT job requires good levels of communication skills – written and verbal play a pivotal part in determining how well you can communicate on emails and explain technical concepts to your juniors. Meeting communication will define how the tech ideas are shared and well understood by the co-workers. Security issues can increase due to the inability of a team leader to communicate right instructions and checklist to his team. As a manager, you will need to understand the verbal and non-verbal nuances of your team to delegate tasks, develop the right skills and retain the essential talent.
Just the end user’s profile and usability is important in a better application and its products, effective communication will reflect when one understands two sides of the communication process at workplaces. The ability to adjust your communication parameters and the lack of it can create ripple effect in the team. The entire team would face an escalation or consequences by the management because one person wasn’t able to effectively communicate and make his team understand the context and objectives well.
Building technological tools is keeping in mind the psyche and feasibility study done from the end user’s objective. Take an example, a Marketing hire will be required to analyse the market trends and the buying psyche of an individual in his daily life. Likewise, a Tech professional or designers will need to understand and empathize the end user to resolve the issues in his product or services. The sheer lack of understanding and achieving the right fit will add to the miscommunication errors and the resulting costs.
Ability to empathize others will only augment the ability to help, collaborate and get tasks done far more efficiently by any engineer or team lead.
Creativity is a broad spectrum to what one could easily say as ‘means to an end’. This skill requires one to think out-of-the-box, find alternative and innovative solutions to problems. Creative and critical thinkers have flexible mindsets and are prepared to brainstorm for many ideas. They are also ready to accept solutions from different team members. Although it may not be one of the yardsticks while hiring an IT professional, it is that skill that can set them apart from the herd. One of the major challenge today for IT sector is to find super solutions in a far more creative and feasible ways and cater to dynamic business needs of their client base.
As much as a tech professional deals with complex problems in his tools and codes, he can succumb to complex people issues. IT hires are mostly in the early age groups with a millennial mindset, they have high expectations from their employers. The ability to interact, anticipate and synergize diverse minds and talent to common goal will manifest into a good collaborative leader. To build champion and large teams in an IT workplace, one needs to foster communication, trust, and responsiveness. This Soft Skill will make one’s life easier, enrich work relationships, open the doors of communication and workflows, and position yourself well in organisational success.
As an IT professional, you are expected to juggle multiple projects, meeting the right deadlines is highly critical. Despite holding large teams, one will need to make a blueprint of goals and deliverables and work with each stakeholder to resolve issues in the project. Refined project management skills will earn you more brownie points in form of larger projects, more visibility and accolades, and leadership positions.
It is highly common to undervalue the importance and relevance of these Soft Skills or overestimate your current Technical skills as a one-stop solution to all complex issues. You may be strong in your coding skills or technical know-how, but may rarely proceed to next level in the organisation because of the sheer lack of soft skills. These 5 skills will not only help you to pass the selection process but also make you a most-sought after employee at your workplace and a far more fulfilled career growth.
In today’s competitive, volatile and lean organisations, soft skills are important assets for any IT professional if they wish to stand out, open fruitful career options, and add equity to their Persona in rapid pace.
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