10 Must-Have Soft Skills For Software Developers
Software developers are not just meant to sit on a computer system, write code and build apps. You are also a human being, hence like professionals of other fields, you require to be a competent and approachable person in your workplace. And for this, you need to develop an interpersonal personality trait for yourself. Soft skills or interpersonal skills help you collaborate and interact with others effectively.
Here, we are going to mention 10 soft skills essential to ace as a software developer. Evaluate which skill you already possess, which skill need be polished, and which expertise you need to learn and develop right away.
Effective communication is a highly desired skill a hiring manager expects from you. Scrum meetings and client interaction are a day to day activities of a development profession. No one can explain the technical work you have done for clients, not even your manager. Apart from the client, you also require to explain the logic of your code to other developers, testers and the managers. Hence, effective communication skill not just helps a developer land his dream job, but also make him be harmonious with other people.
Empathy is a critical skill. And it is a must for a developer. Developers are a problem solvers. By using programming skills, you convert a business idea into a full-fledged web or mobile application. However, it is not necessary that every time you get to work on a project from scratch or you get an opportunity to work the ways familiar to you. Sometimes, you require to travel extra miles for a project which is already developed but consists of bugs and need improvement or scalability. You have to start the project right from thereby. And to do this, you require to develop an understanding of the existing code base and carry on work as per client's vision.
You need empathy the most this time. Being empathic helps you put yourself “in someone else's shoes.” This way, you quickly develop point-of-view of the client's perceptions and vision for his product. It helps you meet to shape the product as required and deliver optimum satisfaction to your employer as well as the client.
Besides developing your hard skills such as emerging programming languages and certifications, a developer must hone his ability to work in a team. You are always an individual player when you write code. But, you work towards a goal for which other developers also work simultaneously.
Therefore, you require interpersonal acumen that helps you know when to be a leader and when to be a listener. You may be appreciated for your contributions to a project but it's always teamwork that brings success for the project as well as to your employer.
4. Approachability and Helpfulness
At one point or another, people will come to ask you for help. It could be related to the assigned task or about an issue or a bug, or they may ask you to join for lunch, dinner, or weekend trip. Being accessible is key. But if you are not very accessible then most people will cut themselves off from you. It can also mean that when you need help, no one comes forward to help you.
Therefore, try to be approachable. You can practice smiling more, try to engage in conversation, or you can even make yourself offline for a while or use the headphones set when you're busy with something. If someone still makes contacts, give him a time slot to discuss things. You can also reach to him before the given time if you have completed your task. The values given will help you to earn value in your team and company.
Sometimes there comes a time when perseverance occupies the intellect. In those situations, patience helps overcome many challenges and problems. For example, as a developer, you build apps and systems used by technical as well as non-technical people. Suppose you need to explain a decision you made to build a component, and for this, you are in a meeting. Now your manager asked you to explain how a particular module works, and what are its benefits? A technical person in the room catches your points in one shot, but chances are high that you have to repeat your words over and over and answer a few more cross questions for non-technical professionals.
Being open-minded and developing patience within you makes you comfortable repeating the same answers. Technology, especially programming, is not a cup of tea for everyone and is not easy to understand for many. Your patience helps you become a people person.
6. Problem-Solving & Critical Thinking
Issues are inevitable, so it is good to always be prepared to deal with any problem. Problem-solving is a crucial skill and is essential for your career as well as for the company you work for. When approaching a new challenge, always look at it purposefully, even if it was made by some mistake of yours. Develop critical thinking ability to look towards problems as it help you find out what caused it. Finding a solution to the problem becomes easy when you know why it happened. And it also makes you aware not to repeat such mistakes.
It is also important to remember that if that problem is caused by you or not, you do not always need to fix it alone. You shouldn't be hesitant to ask for help. Working with your team not only helps you solve a problem faster while also saving your time.
Accountability is directly related to ownership. Here it is important to understand that ownership also means accepting all the wrong things that we do while doing our work.
You read it right!
Taking appreciation is easy, but it is difficult to accept mistakes and correct them. You should nurture accountability within yourself. It will help you put your hand up and accept responsibility. You should use this as an opportunity to analyse what went wrong, use this data to fix the problem and set-up a road map for developers on how to avoid similar mistakes.
You are a programming person. You write code. How could creativity be related to my technical work?
After reading it, there will be a cloud of these thoughts in your mind. But let us tell you, creativity is not just sketching someone's face on a paper, or decorating a house. It is also the ability to explore different ways to address the same problem. As a developer, you may get a chance to work on a project similar to a business already working efficiently. It now depends on the creative ability of a developer that how you execute the business logic of a project to help the project stand out from the competition. Therefore, a developer should be creative.
9. Business Acumen
Every business whether it is your employer or your employer's clients strives to earn revenue. As a developer, you must have the quality to understand the "WHY" behind product development and the "HOW" of revenue generation for your employer as well as the product owner.
Your employer's customer not only connects with you to get the technical part but they expect solutions that simplify their company's present processes and also enable them to generate more revenue. Having a business acumen helps you understand the well-rounded perspective of businesses such as use-cases, technology upgrades for it and people's increased expectations, as well as the innovation required for a project.
Though a developer can perform his job without business acumen. But the most effective developers understand the business, which also helps them develop leadership qualities.
10. Marketing Your Work
Let's face the hard truth of being a developer. No one is going to look up every line of code you have written, not even testers. We are already in the automation era.
The things which get importance to evaluate one's performance in today's time are:
- Your direct communication with the manager (1-on-1 meetings, solving an issue together and your approach for it, etc.)
- Your active participation in clients and internal meetings.
- Your response over skype, emails, slack and on-call even in odd hours (because a bug can appear any time of the day)
- Your availability on the weekend, if needed.
- Your ownership ability and your terms with other members of the company, such as developers, and sales & marketing team members. (because a developer has to participate to provide information for business requirements and price quote management, actively)
It’s Your Turn
In today's competitive world, it is important to refine skills and bring some new into practice. Changing any of the habits or developing a new skill in mid of your career tough is highly challenging, but is highly rewarding. Share which soft skills helps you to become a developer. And let us know in the below comment box if we missed mentioning any crucial soft skills for a developer.