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Top 5 soft skills every developer should have

Posted on April 9, 2019

Writing good code can only take you so far in your career as a developer. Whether you’re a full-stack developer, a DevOps developer, or a data scientist, being able to collaborate, innovate, and interact successfully with others are essential skills for your career success. In fact, in LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2019 report, 92% of talent professionals agree that soft skills are equally or more important to hire for than hard skills.

So what are the top soft skills every developer should focus on? Here’s the list and some tips to consider.

1. Creativity
According to LinkedIn’s Data, creativity is the number one soft skill in 2019. Even when it comes to programming, there’s a lot of creativity that’s involved. Software developers need to be logical and creative in order to develop code that works well. Creativity comes into the picture when you’re finding ways to improve your code. Making it more readable, bug-free, and extensible, for instance, requires you to take a step back and look at your code from a different perspective.

As a developer, there are many ways for you to explore your creative side. Consider starting your side project and/or participate in a hackathon. Have you ever thought of building a simple operating server? Or create a game simulation? Think of some ways programming can make things more convenient and engaging—and see where your imagination takes you.    

2. Persuasion
Having a great platform or a neat concept is one thing, but it’s another thing to get people on board. Persuasion is an essential skill for developers. You may be tasked with building a system for your clients and explaining your code to your teammates. If your development team is having trouble understanding your code, you want to help get them up to speed.

Being persuasive is the opposite of forcing your idea until someone gets it. Giving a long-winded one-way presentation is not how you should approach this. Ask questions and find out what concerns your teammates have. See where they’re coming from. Be open to feedback and be willing to admit your code isn’t perfect. If you want your ideas to have a better chance of being considered, start small. For instance, help one person on your team understand your code before you push forward your idea with the rest of the team.   

3. Collaboration
Effective collaboration is so important for developers because most projects are developed by teams. Even if you work remotely, you are still required to communicate with others. You can boost collaboration within your team by hosting weekly lunch-time seminars. It doesn’t have to be anything too sophisticated. Put together a short presentation to show how a technology could help make things more efficient. Hosting meetup events, speaking at conferences, are some other ways to take the stage and share your learnings with the tech community.

4. Adaptability
You need to be adaptable in order to navigate today’s ever-changing world. Pay attention to new ideas. Read books, attend industry events, see what other developers are working on sites like GitHub, and continually learn. You can bulletproof your career by staying up-to-date on the latest trends. Employers and recruiters are always looking for candidates who are curious and demonstrate a thirst for learning. 

5. Time management
Time management is a timeless skill that everyone needs to for their career success. For developers, planning is a key part of every project. If you want to meet all your deadlines, you should spend time planning. Productivity tools such as Trello and Google Calendar can help you stay on track and prioritize your tasks. If you struggle to stay focused, consider installing apps or website blockers, such as Focus and Cold Turkey, so you can concentrate on your work.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help
While soft skills can’t be improved overnight, adopting some of these tips can steer you in the right direction. If you need help highlighting your soft skills for an potential interview, our Hays expert consultants can provide you with tailored feedback. To learn more, connect with a consultant in your area.

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