The demand for IT specialists is growing every day and the competition is increasing. Professional skills are no longer enough to build a career in a good company. Employers have also begun to pay attention to soft skills. These are skills not related to the profession, but personal qualities such as communication skills, creativity, empathy, etc. In this article we will talk about the importance of soft skills in the IT industry, what soft skills are necessary and how to improve them.
Skills can be divided into two categories: - Hard skills are technical skills directly related to professional qualifications that can be proven by certifications. - Soft skills are personal skills that do not relate to a specific position but increase the professional level of employees.
Why does an IT specialist need soft skills?
1. Increase the probability of a successful interview If an employer needs to choose between two candidates with the same “hard” skills, the choice will be made in favor of the one who also has good “soft” skills. It is more advantageous for the company to hire a qualified employee who also knows how to manage the work process and build good communication with colleagues. A variety of professional courses are emerging that are graduating more and more newcomers to the job search. Soft skills will help you reach your potential and prove yourself.
2. Increase the probability of career growth Developed skills increase the probability of career growth because responsibility becomes higher when a new position is obtained. A Manager differs from a Junior employee not only in experience, but also in the ability to make important decisions and build business communication.
3. Improve internal processes In 2017, Google conducted an interesting study that identified the best teams within the company. According to the results, it turned out that employees of the most productive teams are people with a high level of soft skills.
Top 7 Soft skills list for IT specialist + advice from SolveIt's Head of HR
1. CommunicationThis is negotiating, the ability to find compromises and great teamwork. Many companies hold internal events to discuss problems, solutions, and new ideas. These skills are necessary to communicate with colleagues, share experience and knowledge. How to improve? Communicate more and discuss work issues with your colleagues. Everyone on the team is working on a common cause, so don't be shy about asking your colleagues for help. Advice from SolveIt's Head of HR To improve your communication skills, try to take the lead in conversations with colleagues or friends more often. And also use active listening techniques – eye contact, reaction to individual words, jokes, clarification, etc. Top books for developing Communication skills: - "Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It", Philip G. Zimbardo - "How to Succeed with People: Remarkably easy ways to engage, influence and motivate almost anyone", Paul McGee - "How to Win Friends and Influence People", Dale Carnegie
2. Creativity and flexibilityIt is the ability to adapt quickly to different conditions and find non-standard solutions to situations. In the process of working on a project, there are often changes and improvements that need to be responded quickly. How to improve? Find new approaches to solving old problems. Ask yourself: "How can we do things differently here?" and take on new and unfamiliar tasks. The more difficult the tasks will be, the faster you will learn. Advice from SolveIt's Head of HR Ask for feedback from your lead or team members and adjust your behaviors. Develop a personalized plan for your development with a HR manager. Practice your new behaviors in a "safe" environment, with colleagues and friends who can give you constructive and honest feedback. Top books for developing Creativity and Flexibility skills: - "How People Think", Dmitry Chernyshev - "The Agile Mind: How Your Brain Makes Creativity Happen", Estanislao Bachrach
3. DisciplineIt is time management and the ability to prioritize tasks. When there are several projects going on in parallel, it is important to manage time and understand how to distribute your efforts. How to improve? Organize your tasks and prioritize each one. Business coach Brian Tracy used to say, "Eat the frog in the morning", which means doing the most difficult tasks at the beginning of the day. Advice from SolveIt's Head of HR When setting goals for yourself and your employees to correctly formulate the task correctly and effectively perform it helps the well-known system SMART system, according to which the goals and objectives should be: S - Specific M - Measurable A - Attainable R - Relevant T - Time-bounded Top books to improve self-discipline: - "Lifehack for every day", Igor Mann, Farid Karimov - "Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change", Timothy A. Pychyl - "The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It ", Kelly McGonigal
4. Critical Thinking
It is observation and the ability to explain your point of view, focus on learning information, and the ability to apply analytical skills in different situations. While working on a project, unforeseen problems may arise; it is important not to panic, correctly assess the situation, and choose the right solutions. How to improve? Ask yourself specific questions more often, analyze and think through different solutions to problems and situations. Advice from SolveIt's Head of HR Try to identify a difficult situation in the team, processes or non-standard tasks on the project, make and implement a plan to solve it. Top books for developing Critical Thinking skill: - "BEHAVE: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst", Sapolsky Robert M. - "Critical Thinking: Your Guide to Effective Argument, Successful Analysis and Independent Study", Tom Chatfield - "Thinking, Fast and Slow", Daniel Kahneman - "How Not to Be Wrong", Jordan Ellenberg
5. Mindfulness and ability to concentrateYou should first calculate where the problem might arise so you have time to fix it. An attentive professional gets more done in a day and doesn't waste time. To be as productive as possible, you need to focus on the task at hand and immerse yourself in it. How to improve? Do each task one at a time, following the list you made in advance. Try to concentrate all of your attention on doing a particular task. Advice from SolveIt's Head of HR To always remain attentive and not "spread out" on several tasks is worth taking care of your emotional and physical state. Try to pay attention to your mood and body needs, if necessary, take breaks and rest from work. It is also worth paying great attention to your workspace - it will be much easier for you to concentrate in a comfortable chair and space with fresh air and good lighting. Top books for developing Mindfulness and Concentration skills: - “Unlimited Memory: How to Use Advanced Learning Strategies to Learn Faster, Remember More and be More Productive“, Kevin Horsley - “A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science“, Oakley Barbara - “The Power of Forgetting: Six Essential Skills to Clear Out Brain Clutter and Become the Sharpest, Smartest You“, Byster Mike, Loberg Kristin
6. ProactivityBeing proactive means taking well-planned actions to achieve goals. It means focusing on the important, not just the urgent. A combination of the qualities such of being proactive, being aware and responsible. How to improve? Take on more responsibility and take on new tasks. Learn from small mistakes. Advice from SolveIt's Head of HR Show initiative and take responsibility for training someone on the team. Offer specific innovations in project processes. Top books for developing the Proactivity skill: - "Flipping the Switch: Unleash the Power of Personal Accountability Using the QBQ!", John G. Miller - "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", Stephen Covey - "Screw It, Let's Do It", Richard Branson
The world around us is developing and changing every second. In IT, everything changes just as fast. Employees constantly have to learn about trends, rearrange and change processes and tasks according to new technologies. How to improve? It is best to take your time with adaptation: break down the process into many small details, conducting them in such a way that you don't get tired. Adaptation is not only about adapting to new technologies, strategies, and methods, but also about working with colleagues. Advice from SolveIt's Head of HR All people have certain patterns of behavior. Analyze what they are for you, take feedback from your colleagues, and try to change them dramatically. Surround yourself with people who are interested in the same things you are interested in. This will make it easier and faster for you to learn new things and adapt to change. Top books for developing the Adaptability skill: - "Adaptability: Responding Effectively to Change", Allan Calarco - "Elasticity: Flexible Thinking in an Ever-Changing World", Leonard Mlodinov