Strong technical/hard skills are essential for any IT professional. In today’s quickly evolving business, and particularly the IT environment, soft skills are gaining more and more prominence. It’s often misconceived that those working in the tech industry are socially awkward. And while there may be some that suffer from various social handicaps, the IT sector doesn’t stand out from the rest. What’s even better is the fact that these soft skills can be learned, helping those that need them most.
While hard skills are gained through years of education, certifications, training programs, and practical experience, soft skills are a bit harder to define and evaluate. Needless to say, they are what’s known as interpersonal/people skills and include things such as communication, empathy, work ethic, teamwork, decision making, critical thinking, time management, problem-solving, and more.
As artificial intelligence and disruptive technologies are on the rise, job candidates that can perform jobs that machines cannot are in high demand. This is where soft skills come into play. According to a study by ManpowerGroup, it turns out that over 50% of organizations are listing problem-solving, collaboration, customer service, and communication as top skills for their employees.
That said, here are some soft skills perfectly suited for IT professionals.
With the amount of communication needed within any IT department, it’s no wonder that this skill is highly sought after in this sector. Being able to explain your ideas in such a way that makes sense to others will help you improve productivity and collaboration. It can also support you in gaining financing if needed.
Even if you don’t find yourself in a management position, per se, you’ll sometimes find yourself managing a project or team – at least temporarily. This responsibility automatically requires excellent leadership skills, allowing you to delegate tasks, maintain focus, keep morale high, and resolve conflicts if they arise. Proving yourself a good leader in these situations will put you on the fast track towards promotion.
As opposed to procrastination, determination will not only help you plan a project more effectively, but it will also allow you to see it through to the end. IT projects can be slowed down due to a large number of things, be it financial issues, vendors, software and hardware problems, lack of teamwork, etc. Being able to navigate these problems and achieving your ultimate goal will definitely impress your employer.
Flexibility and Open-Mindedness
On a somewhat similar note, IT professionals will need to learn how to be flexible to face all sorts of unexpected changes and setbacks better. Also, they will need to be open to suggestions and feedback, be it from the employer, client, vendor, or coworker. All of these will allow you to be more proficient in your job and improve yourself over time.
Last, but not least, is creativity. IT professionals are always looking toward the future, trying to anticipate and develop solutions for various problems and needs in the digital environment. However, this requires a lot of imagination, forward-thinking, analytical skills, and creative problem-solving. Yes, creativity is not necessarily something that you’re born with, but it is something that can be learned, developed, and practiced over time.
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