There is no doubt that an IT specialist must be an expert in coding, software systems, and other technical stuff. However, do only technical skills make a developer a top-notch one? Definitely, no. Social skills are as essential as technical skills or certification. Sometimes, being more proficient in communication is better than being a good coder. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not diminishing the importance of technical skills. I want to show how communication can improve the whole workflow of any IT company. Recently, I talked to all developers and project managers at Mobecls to make a list of must-have soft skills for a developer.
Must-Have Soft Skills for Developers
First of all, let’s deal with terminology. Soft skills are a combination of people skills, social skills, communication skills, character or personality traits, attitudes, mindsets that help people work well in a group, achieve goals, etc. Here’s my list of must-have soft skills for developers:
- Providing clear feedback
- Quick search
- Ability to pose questions correctly
- Problem identification
- Fresh eyes
- Ability to listen to others
- Ability to analyze and adapt
Providing Clear Feedback
Managers, developers, sales, quality assurance engineers all speak different languages (professional terminology and slang, abbreviations, etc.). A developer needs to explain problems in trivial language to ensure clear communication between specialists of different departments. It’d nice to use this skill with colleagues who have limited experience. A clear description of the question, problem, or solution will help reduce misunderstandings and prevent additional questions.
Time management is one of the most crucial skills of any top-notch developer. Besides main tasks, developers constantly receive additional ones, have to participate in daily meetings or calls. Wrong planning makes work unproductive and exhausting.
Nowadays, we constantly face huge volumes of data. The ability to quickly collect, analyze and organize necessary information is a must for any specialist. However, a quick search is not only about finding the needed tutorial, link to a git, etc. This ability is about finding high-quality and relevant information that does not require a new search. For example, as Magento has numerous versions, a developer has to know their specifics to find the right solutions in a time.
Ability to Pose Questions Correctly
In all spheres of human activity, correctly asked questions help and facilitate the work. A correctly posed questions include an assumption that something led to the problem. This hint helps start looking for a solution immediately. Moreover, this soft skill is ideal in almost all problem situations as it helps to exclude misunderstanding and other communicative issues.
From time to time, even in the most well-functioning system may appear various defects and issues. If you do not eliminate them in time, then this will lead to big problems. That’s why problem identification is so crucial. This skill is about finding the core of the problem but not the people to blame. Such an approach will help to overcome any issue painlessly and smoothly.
Monotonous cyclical tasks require concentration and scrupulousness. Usually, it leads to “blurring” eyes. The more time workers do the same task, the less attention they pay to the details and little things. “Fresh eyes” allow looking at the problem from a different perspective. Just imagine yourself as a user or client. This skill is a must-have for quality assurance engineers.
Ability to Listen to Others
As with any communication skill, listening to others is essential for efficient teamwork. This skill helps to establish contact with a colleague, to understand his/her point of view. Listening to teammates not only helps to inspire confidence but also prevents unnecessary questions and saves.
Ability to Analyze and Adapt
The client can at any time make changes to the original plan and ask to modify the developed functionality. In these cases, it’s crucial to understand if the desired change is a business need but not a client’s whim. The ability to analyze and adapt helps to save client business from useless features and shows your focus on customers.
In conclusion, I would like to say that there are numerous “soft skills. However, half of them, to one degree or another, repeat each other. In this article, I collected and described the bulk of those communication skills to perform better and more productive. In my opinion, these soft skills are the most essential for IT specialists. I figured it out on the example of my colleagues. Do you agree with my list? Feel free to leave comments!