Being excellent at writing code is not enough and we say it because as the software industry becomes  integrated with business, the expectations from developers evolve. 

Software developers must indubitably have tech skills, but there is another popular set of abilities that is gaining momentum: soft skills. Soft skills are a key part of the toolbox as a software developer. Technical know-how is one way of measuring how good a developer is, but soft skills are really the ones that help them receive the stamp of approval from the industry.

To start, let’s talk about what exactly soft skills are. There are so many concepts that define this topic, to make it clear let’s say that soft skills enable you to communicate and interact with other people. And to do so in a meaningful and harmonious way, this includes things like communication, empathy, patience, and more. Soft skills are the difference between adequate software developers and ideal ones. In the software industry, there are not limited technical abilities and specialist knowledge. 

Many soft skills can come naturally as software developers spend most of their life refining them informally, but it is important to clear that some of them need to be worked at the same time as technical skills.

The most commonly soft skills sought needed for working in computer programming:

  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork/collaboration
  • Research
  • Creativity

Communication 

Is a usual suspect in most soft skills lists, not only for developers – but for any profession. But in software development, communication is crucial. Keep in mind that communication is a two-way road.

 It is important that the software development team is a good listener. Listening to your colleagues, customers, or users will make all the difference. When you listen, you are getting an unfair advantage compared to those who only talk. You get to learn things, expand your horizons, and broaden your worldview. It also helps you rank tasks and to comprehend in the most effective way what the client or user wants 

Equally as important are the verbal and non-verbal skills. Verbal skills are key to fostering relationships that are collaborative and respectful, and, ultimately, productive. This also applies to written communication.

Problem solving

Finding a suitable solution for issues can be accomplished by following essential steps.

Problem solving does not just require analytical, creative and critical skills, but a particular mindset; those who can approach a problem with a cool and level head will often reach a solution more efficiently than those who cannot.

If a software development team/ member is able to:

1.- Define the problem

2.- Generate alternative solutions

3.- Evaluate and select an alternative

4.- Implement and follow up on the solution

We can ensure that it doesn’t matter whether the problem is, being a problem solver will give the person a specific skill needed to solve any kind of troubles in the best and most organized way.

Teamwork/collaboration

Working in a team towards a common goal requires the intuition and interpersonal acumen to know when to be a leader and when to be a listener.

Good team players are perceptive, as well as receptive to the needs and responsibilities of others.

Teamwork skills are the qualities and abilities that allow developers to work well with others during conversations, projects, meetings or other collaborations. Having teamwork skills is dependent on the ability to communicate well, actively listen and be responsible and honest.

Research

In a nutshell, research skills help us find answers to questions. Research skills are the ability to search for, find, collect, analyse, interpret and evaluate information that is relevant to the subject being studied.

Being a good researcher implies:

  1. Keep an eye on the topic
  2. Data collection
  3. Analysis of information from different sources
  4. Develop new ways to execute activities 
  5. Identify what customers want
  6. Get better at what they do
  7. Keep up with changing technologies

Creativity

Creativity is the ability to think about a task or a problem in a new or different way, or the ability to use the imagination to generate new ideas. Creativity enables you to solve complex problems or find interesting ways to approach tasks. 

A software development team that is creative, is able to look at things from a unique perspective. The team or the developer can find patterns and make connections to find opportunities. There is some risk involved with being creative, but they can show you are self-motivated to try things that have not been done before.

Making connections, asking questions, making observations, networking and experimenting are several kinds of creative skills that  can be practiced to become more creative in the workplace. Used in combination, they can be effective in helping the team think differently about a problem or a task.