Soft skills in IT

February 25, 2022

Top Soft Skills you Need in IT - Experts Zone Talks #16

Olga

Olga Vasylenko

Marketing Specialist
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Top Soft Skills you Need in IT - Experts Zone Talks #16
recruitment process(4)
dev career(3)

Today we will talk about top soft skills in the IT sphere in different situations: recruitment, team meeting and code review, and working in other methodologies. Have a nice watch!

Transcription

Olga
Hi everybody. This is an Expert Talks. Meet Bartosz - we will talk about soft skills in IT.
Bartosz
Hello, I'm Bartosz. I'm a frontend developer at Frontend House.
Olga
If it's okay for you, I will read true of or false statements and you can say if you think it's true or false.
Bartosz
Yes, sure.
Olga
Okay, so the first one, a lack of soft skills will kill you as a developer.
Bartosz
I would say true.
Olga
Okay. Technical skills are more important than soft skills.
Bartosz
I would say that could be true, but I think it's like both hard and soft skills are important.
Olga
Okay. The next one is if you have strong tech skills, you will be successful because there is a lack of professionals in its market.
Bartosz
I could say yes. Hard skills are the most important thing to achieve nowadays as a software developer. But soft skills are also crucial.
Olga
And the last one, you are happy to be in our studio today.
Bartosz
Yeah, of course.
Olga
Okay, let's say I believe you. So let's talk about soft skills in IT. And my first question is what is the largest challenge for developers?
Bartosz
Okay. So working as a developer is basically about solving complex problems every day. You have to solve a variety of problems. The scope of these problems can be different, but the nature is basically the same. It doesn't matter if you are facing like for example, working under pressure or meeting deadlines, creating new features, inventing new ideas, and basically constantly learning new things. That's all pretty much like a good software developer nowadays. So if you want to be a great developer, you have to be very communicative. You have to know how to work in a team and you have to be very confident about yourself.
Olga
That's true. We have to remember that we are not living in a perfect world and the developer is not a superhuman who just does everything and knows everything. So that's okay sometimes if you're not confident or something like that. But still, we have to improve our soft skills to be more successful.
Bartosz
Yes. I would say that nowadays that the times that the only expectations from developers are to only have these hard skills and technical abilities are gone because developers have to reach with each other, have to communicate with the clients to communicate with the leads to communicate with other teams. So you could even work across the team. So there is high responsibility on developers to reach to each other. And when it comes to working, I guess it doesn't matter if you are working in a big company or if you are running your own business as a freelancer, I would say that you have to work as a team. You have to be a team player. For example, if you are working in a big company, you have to reach out to QA engineers to test something out. You have to work with other depths with issues like solving bugs. And so on the other hand, when you're reaching out with the clients, once you are running your own business, you have to keep in touch with the client, you have to interact with the client. So if you have good soft skills, good communication skills, it's easier to keep this client with you and this client will hire you next time once you will be doing jobs for him.

It's also important once you are working as a freelancer to have everything prepared before you create a proposal for a client. Because when you don't say something or you don't specify what is included in your proposal offer, you will end up doing more jobs than you expected to do. And then probably the client also will be unhappy and everybody will be unhappy.
Olga
And we don't need such situations.
Bartosz
Yeah, definitely.

Situation 1. Communication skills and meetings


Olga
There is a lot of situation when you need soft skills like the recruitment process, it's extremely important or communicate with teams. As you said earlier, let's specify every situation and look at it more from the developer's perspective.
Bartosz
Okay. So firstly, I would say that the most important situation and the most simple situation, it's as it's like working on a development process is to communicate and it includes verbal communication and written communication. Written communication is something which you are facing every day. It is included in your everyday working routine because every day you are in touch with emails. Yeah. You have to read emails, you have to write emails, you have to communicate through different channels like Slack or others. And you have to specify the message correctly for other people to understand you in a good way. Yeah. So you have to know how to take a proper approach to describe the problem.

Okay. So written communication and the next I would say is verbal communication also because you have to participate in the meetings. Yeah. You have to participate in projects estimation. You have to participate in all kinds of meetings like brainstorming sessions. Once you are investigating an issue and once you are creating your own ideas, you have to describe it in a proper way. You have to be confident once describing, but you have to also be an active listener to listen to what others say and to adapt accordingly to what other people say.
Olga
Yeah. So stereotypes that developers just say in the cage without seeing the light of the day and communicating with nobody…
Bartosz
No, it's not yet true. I guess nowadays once business grows, it is connected with a lot of industries. It is a crucial soft skill for developers to have good, great communication skills. And what I can say more about this, the next crucial situation which we are, I guess talking about situations when we use soft skills is when we are facing an argument or a problem in the team because it happens a lot of times and in the team, there are different people. Yeah, there are different people. They have different characters. They have different abilities. And once there is a discussion you have to know how to give others proper feedback to not make them feel bad and to understand you in both ways. Because like I said there are different people and there is different kind of personalities. And to give proper feedback it's not such easy as it seems to be. And to do this it's a good idea to take something like a sandwich approach. A sandwich approach is something like giving positive feedback and telling something about the advantages of someone's idea and then talking about negatives and things that you don't like. And then again talk about something positive and then again negative.

So when you talk to somebody like this you see that you are describing and he or she is seeing that you are describing the pros and cons of other solutions and don't focus only on the negative. So if somebody receives positive feedback on their work, he's not criticizing publicity. It's easier for him to adapt this knowledge.

Situation 2. Soft skills important for recruitment interview


Olga
I think it's a great tip with this model. Great. And what about the recruitment situation? For example, you're coming to a new job and you have extremely extraordinary teaching skills that don't have soft skills at all.
Bartosz
Okay. I would say that that kind of situation I mean you cannot connect to the interviewer once you are an introverted person. Too much-introverted person. Because I think nowadays everyone has some introverted and extroverted person inside. Because in some situations we are extroverted when we are for example joining a team and we are forced to talk that's the extrovert side of our personalities. And when we are facing the issue and try to debug problem , while making new features, you focus on yourself and you have to be intraveltic. You cannot be disturbed by anyone and that's important to have this focus. But what's about this question? I would say that both hard skills and soft skills are crucial for the recruitment process. The recruitment is about taking points to the people which have higher soft skills because soft skills are, I think, harder to learn than tech skills because tech skills are something like you can get this technical knowledge by reading the booking, by coding and joining different projects. And strong soft skills tend to be rather something that is predisposed. So there is a group of people who for example have a better understanding of top soft skills in this area.

But of course, they can improve it. So recruiters mostly focus on how you communicate, how you interact with people because you need it in your work. And I think people with key soft skills are more approachable to the recruiters nowadays and then it will be easier to cooperate with in the team. Yes, of course. So we are now jumping to the teamwork.
Olga
Yeah. So teamwork and more soft skills.
Bartosz
Teamwork is about solving problems as a team. It's logic, but it's not as simple as it sounds. Because when you are facing a problem, you have to get it from a higher perspective. Because once investigating back on a feature, not everybody could understand the scope of your task. And you have to explain it really carefully to make sure they understand you and to make sure you understand what you are talking about. So you have to know the topic perfectly to work in a team during a task, during a project, or estimating tasks for an upcoming sprint or any other situation in the project workflow. So working in a team is about understanding and about empathy. It's about being trustworthy, reliable, and likable by the team because everyone in the team wants to work with the people which are helpful, which are accountable for their own errors. And owing up to our errors is also important in that way.

Situation 3. Work in other methodologies and interpersonal skills


Olga
And let's go to the situation when you have in the project, in other methodology which you're used to.
Bartosz
So in this kind of situation, I would say that you have to be proactive. It doesn't matter if you work in that methodology or not. You have to be proactive. You have to take the first steps to adapt to the team because when other team members and for example, the project manager or your mentor see that you are proactive and you are making the first steps, you are eager to interact, you are eager to solve problems. You are eager and you are creating new ideas. You sell these ideas to the other team members. It is easier for the team to onboard you on the project. Because like I said, they will help you in the transition or processes in the project.
Olga
And you will be, again, easier to cooperate.
Bartosz
Yes, of course. What also is important for cooperation and good teamwork is empathy and emotional intelligence. Imagine the situation when you have quite a strict deadline and you have to reach that from the business perspective. But on the other hand, you don't want to leave your colleagues in a team with an unmaintainable code. At first, you need to reach the deadline and you have to meet business requirements. And on the other hand, you have to meet technical requirements. So in that situation, when you have a conversation with, for example, a product manager and other team leaders or clients even or stakeholders or something like a supervisor, you have to be empathic. Being empathic and having emotional intelligence means that you are able to jump into someone's shoes. So you have to see the problem from another perspective. So for example, maybe the product manager asks you to finish this task today because customers are not negotiable in that way. And maybe the deadline was, I don't know, postponed or faster to this week because there is a need to improve some speed on the project. Or qualities. So you have to see it from the other person's perspective to make a clear view of the situation.
Olga
Yeah. That's really important to have a successful project in your team. That's right. And I know about one problem, and it's not a problem, but issues to solve when developers need to communicate with untechnical like me and to have problem-solving skills. I know that sometimes it is complicated enough, because you see things from the one side and we see from another, and sometimes it is hard to understand each other.
Bartosz
Yeah. In such a situation, you have to describe a problem to that kind of people. As you said, nontechnical people in as much descriptive way and as much simple language as possible because the person doesn’t know anything about programming. If you have strong interpersonal skills and you are empathic to that person, you are more likely to understand how they feel about the problem. And it's again, something like fitting into someone's shoes. So personality traits which allow seeing the problem from another person's perspective are extremely important. So if you are helpful to that person, if you are eager to describe to explain the problem, that person will get interested in this topic and will understand you in a better way.
Olga
And will like you.
Bartosz
Yeah, of course.
Olga
How do you improve soft skills important to developers? Maybe you have some interesting methods and tips for improvement?
Bartosz
Okay, it's hard to develop soft skills in a short time. It is rather something that is connected with personality, with personal abilities, with predisposed abilities, and instead of comparing it to tech skills. You can actually learn text skills by reading books, by investigating problems, by just joining the project, as I said before. But regarding other soft skills, you have to force yourself to interact with other people. So that means that you can, for example, join hackathons or start your own projects, Invite other people to your project, and that's basically forcing you to interact with other people, to communicate with them, to give constructive feedback. You can also ask for a code review in your team from another member. And basically, it's about forcing yourself to communicate with people. It means also that you don't have to do it only in your technical field. You can also find yourself, I hope the end. For example, join some external classes to meet new people to interact with them. And basically, it's like you have to practice it every day. You have to force yourself to push it to the limit and try to take the first steps and be first to interact with people, not wait for interaction. Those are key takeaways soft skills.
Olga
Sounds great. Thank you for the amazing talk. I think we have to record the second part of this talk.
Bartosz
Yeah, of course. It would be a pleasure.
Olga
Great. Thank you so much. We can finish for today, but we will record the second part about how soft skills can help us. Thank you for watching. See you next time. Bye.

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Olga

Olga Vasylenko

Marketing Specialist

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