You may already know that soft skills are important, but why do we as developers need to "develop" them?!
In a world where new libraries emerge daily, languages become popular, and new ways of using the cloud and AI arise, it's essential to keep improving our technical skills and staying up-to-date. However, we must also remember the importance of non-technical, or soft skills.
But what are soft skills? Soft skills, also known as "people skills" or "interpersonal skills," are a set of skills related to human behavior, such as dealing with other people and their emotions. A classic example would be communication.
You might be thinking, "Oh, but I'm a developer, I don't need that." However, you do need it, and it will help you stand out and grow professionally. At some point, your Product Owner may call on you to assist in writing a task, or your Tech Lead may ask you to present a feature that you developed. You may also be called upon to participate in a "war room" with people from different teams to jointly solve an urgent problem. Regardless of the scenario, they all have one thing in common: you will need to use your soft skills.
As a technical expert, you will often need to communicate with non-technical people and translate technical concepts into language they can understand. This might involve discussing how a particular feature will be developed, asking specific questions to understand development needs, or explaining how a product will be used. You may also need to provide technical input during discussions about a feature's operation or when addressing a problem.
In addition to communicating with non-technical colleagues, you will also need to communicate effectively with your own team. This could involve giving feedback, motivating team members, negotiating deadlines, and finding ways to help solve problems.
Developing and measuring soft skills can be challenging because they are subjective and often related to personality or emotional aspects that people develop throughout their lives. However, soft skills are increasingly valued and important for success in technical fields.
Here are some tips for developing soft skills: be mentally prepared to learn, actively listen, be empathetic with those around you, and see how it impacts your relationships. Gradually, you'll see the benefits and become more motivated. Reflection is another useful tool. Consider which soft skills you possess naturally and which ones you need to develop. Think about scenarios where you have succeeded or struggled. Most importantly, practice makes perfect. You need to practice soft skills whenever possible to develop and improve them. At first, you may face difficulties, but over time, you'll see results. Finally, give feedback. Just as you want to develop, others are on the same path, so don't hesitate to help others with tips on how to improve. You'll receive feedback too, and you should never take it personally, but as a way to improve your skills.
Now, I want to highlight some important soft skills that can help you stand out professionally:
- Willingness to Learn: The pursuit of knowledge drives personal growth.
- Autonomy: Being able to make independent decisions is a sign of maturity and confidence.
- Resilience: The ability to recover and move forward in the face of challenges is a trait of inner strength.
- Communication: The ability to convey ideas clearly is essential for establishing meaningful connections.
- Emotional Intelligence: The ability to understand and control emotions contributes to healthy relationships.
- Proactivity: Taking the initiative demonstrates commitment and determination.
- Empathy: The ability to put oneself in another's shoes promotes understanding and empathy.
These are just some of the many important soft skills. Even if you're not in a leadership role, having these skills can facilitate your work and open up future opportunities. Therefore, developing and improving your soft skills can help you stand out from the competition.
Anderson Rodrigues is a Software Developer at Avenue Code with over 7 years of experience in the IT industry. He has worked with a wide range of solutions across different sectors, demonstrating his versatility and adaptability. Anderson is passionate about continuous growth, both in technical expertise and soft skills.