As a tech professional, possessing strong technical skills is undeniably important. Your core skills ensure you have the knowledge needed to work with the tools, programs, and processes common to your industry. But equally essential, and often overlooked? Your IT soft skills.
What are IT soft skills?
Soft skills are considered inherent behaviors or personality traits. Rather than being learned skills, they characterize how you interact in your relationships with others or how you react in certain situations. Infographic: Top 10 Most In-Demand Soft Skills
Why are IT soft skills important?
Your technical skills might land you an interview, but they may not be enough to land you the job. With many companies building technology into their overall strategy, they are looking for tech professionals who can interact with others, manage resources, and even lead at an executive level.
While these responsibilities certainly require a strong technical foundation, it will be your IT soft skills that will determine how far you can progress in your role. As a result, hiring managers will be closely evaluating your IT soft skills as you move throughout the hiring process.
Top IT soft skills
There are a variety of IT soft skills that can help take your career to the next level. They include, but are not limited to:
Communication: In today’s world, especially with remote work on the rise, communication is one of the most important IT soft skills. Not only must you be able to communicate with your team, but you must also be able to articulate technical processes, issues, and solutions in a way that non-technical staff can understand.
Teamwork: Today it’s rare to find a job in technology that doesn’t require teamwork. This even rings true for remote employees and those working on independent projects! Since collaboration often leads to better innovation, the ability to work as part of a wider team towards a common goal is critical to career advancement. Other IT soft skills that show you are a good team player include sharing responsibility, encouraging others, listening, and offering to help.
Time management: Having poor time management skills can have a ripple effect on the rest of your team. If you’re often missing deadlines, an entire project may have to get pushed back. This can lead the team to lose their trust in you—leaving you with less assigned work on future projects. On the other hand, demonstrating that you are dependable and can manage expectations on-time will make you a very valuable asset to your team.
Problem solving: A variety of challenges can arise throughout a project’s timeline: unclear expectations, software and infrastructure issues, team composition, etc. Instead of letting these roadblocks put the project at a standstill, it’s important to put your problem-solving skills to work. Having IT soft skills such as being resourceful, thinking creatively, and seeing the big picture will help with project management, troubleshooting, and process involvement?
Flexibility: Because technology and project requirements can evolve based on the unique needs of the situation or stakeholders, your ability to be flexible is key. Employees with a flexible attitude are willing to accept and adapt to change by modifying their approach or responsibilities. Some specific ways you can demonstrate flexibility include learning a new programming language to increase efficiency, pushing aside your daily to-do list to address an issue, and being willing to try new ideas.
Leadership: With executives relying on tech teams to keep the business running effectively, your leadership skills are key. Even if you’re not in a formal management position, there are several areas where leadership comes into play. From vendor management to task delegation, demonstrating strong decision making, project management, active listening, and effective feedback are all IT soft skills that will make you a better leader.