When it comes to the digital and IT world, there’s no denying that hard-skills are crucial – you need to have the right technical know-how to fulfil your role and deliver the projects that you work on. Your job offer was likely based around your hard skills, previous experience and your ability to do the job.
It’s easy for employers to focus on concrete skills when going through the hiring process, however a strong set of soft skills shouldn’t be underestimated – they complement technical skills, and help people to carry out their duties in a more productive, efficient way.
Given the ways in which workplaces have changed over the past 18-24 months in regards to remote working, soft skills are even more critical. Teams need to feel connected when they’re working in different locations, collaboration still needs to happen and communication between colleagues needs to be more effective than ever before.
To help you to get ahead in your role, and in your tech career, we’ve compiled a list of five essential soft skills that you should develop in 2022.
Whether your job is ‘Manager’ or not, there is an ever-increasing requirement in the digital workspace to enhance your leadership skills and capabilities, as traditional, hierarchical structures within businesses become less and less prevalent. Add to this the rapidly growing impact and influence of technical solutions in the day-to-day workplace and it is easy to see why more and more businesses are relying on their CTOs to head up their business strategies.
This increased reliance on technology is placing extra emphasis on individuals in the wider technical teams to step up to the plate and lead on various projects and initiatives. With democratic leadership becoming a more popular choice within digital teams, employees are feeling more empowered to help to contribute to business decisions, thus improving confidence in their own abilities. This confidence – along with numerous other characteristics – helps to develop great leadership skills.
It’s more important than ever for tech workers to develop resilience. It’s arguably the sector which evolves and innovates at the most rapid pace, so you need to be willing to embrace change with a positive mental attitude.
Even on a day-to-day level, new challenges will arise which you’ll need to overcome. A project might not go according to plan, a colleague might let you down or a deadline might be missed. You need to be able to remain level-headed and think on your feet to ensure that you pick yourself up and start afresh the next day.
Great communication skills are so important for tech workers. Think about all the things you need to communicate on a daily basis: project progress updates, workload delegation, unexpected problems which need to be solved. If you can’t provide these updates clearly and effectively, your colleagues and stakeholders will soon become frustrated. Worse still, productivity could be impacted, and errors could be made.
Poor communication skills could also impact your ability to network and host events – something which is commonplace in the digital sector.
When assessing your communication skills, consider the following:
Being able to work well not just with your immediate team, but with stakeholders from the across the business, is vital in the age of COVID-19.
Many organisations have long-term plans around flexible working, giving staff the choice over when, where and how they work. If you’re not all together around the same table, in the same room, at the same time, then collaboration becomes all the more challenging.
Whether you’re working in an office or remotely, there are some simple ways in which you can enhance your collaboration skills and make the working day easier for you and your colleagues. Always participate in team-building events (even if they seem like ‘forced fun’), and if you’re given the opportunity to, volunteer to take on projects which are outside of your comfort zone. Be proactive in offering help and support, and showcase what skills you can bring to the table if your colleagues need a hand.
Interpersonal skills and collaboration skills go hand-in-hand. People with good interpersonal skills work well with other people and tend to have better working relationships – this ultimately leads to improved productivity and better job satisfaction. To assess whether your interpersonal skills need some work, think about the following:
Once you’ve given some thought to these questions, you should have a good idea of whether your interpersonal skills require improvement. It may be that you only need to work on one or two of these areas – but investing the time to do so will lead to a more harmonious working environment.
Even simple things like getting to know your colleagues on a personal level can help to foster collaboration in a professional capacity. Consider organising a team lunch or activity to bring everyone together, especially if your team is working remotely.
So, there you have it – five essential skills that are easier than you might think to develop, but could make a huge impact on your career prospects going forward. As important as it is to stay ahead of the game with your technical skills, we recommend dedicating time to work on your soft skills next year. Consider it one of your New Year’s resolutions!
If you’re actively looking for a new opportunity right now, or are considering a move in the New Year, we can help you find your ideal digital role where you can showcase both your technical knowledge and your soft skills.
Get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more about some fantastic roles we have on our desks at the moment, including opportunities which would be suitable for overseas freelancers.