Last year, LinkedIn released its annual Global Talent Trends report, which explores the four big trends fueling the future of the workplace. Topping the list? Soft skills. Employers look for job-ready candidates and that means candidates who have an impeccable combination of both ‘hard skills’ like programming knowledge, hands-on experience, and ‘soft skills’. As automation is taking over the workplace, that last soft piece weighs heavily in the equation.
In an era when companies focus on technology and data, it’s easy to dismiss the ability to build relationships and collaborate as a nice-to-have rather than a must-have. However, research is showing the opposite. A report by McKinsey says it best: “Social, emotional, and technological skills are becoming more crucial as intelligent machines take over more physical, repetitive, and basic cognitive tasks. Soft skills—which are needed to effectively communicate, problem-solve, collaborate, and organize—are becoming more important for success as the workplace evolves socially and technologically.”
With that in mind, here are the top soft skills that are needed to land a job in tech:
In WEF’s 2020 annual report, critical thinking and problem-solving top the list of skills that employers believe will grow in prominence in the next five years. These skills have consistently scored the highest since 2016. Today more than ever, employers are hiring people with the capacity to think on their feet, particularly as we navigate the changing nature of the workplace. People with critical thinking skills can tackle complex problems and weigh up the pros and cons of different solutions – all using logic and reasoning, rather than relying on gut instinct.
There are hardly any ‘lone-wolf’ jobs in tech. A coder sitting in front of a computer screen alone in a dark basement is a thing of the past. Effective developers nowadays program code, play with big data, and collaborate daily with diverse teams of developers, product managers, marketers, and salespeople. Harvard Business Review finds that teams solve problems faster when they are more diverse. In order to think out of the box, we have to break out of our comfort zones and be able to communicate successfully with others.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective. Why is this important in tech? Without empathy, you tend to focus on yourself. A common problem is assuming that everyone thinks, behaves, and communicates the same way we do. A worse mistake is to focus our product updates and feature development on the developer’s burning issues (like a code that was not invented here or a small bug impacting some backend systems), rather than focusing on others, our customers and end users. Empathy helps you realize that it’s not about you.
Ground-breaking ideas and cutting-edge companies are constantly disrupting industries and shaking things up. Sometimes, a ‘black swan’ like Covid-19 arrives and turns things upside-down. To keep up with the change, both organizations and employees have to learn to be adaptable and innovative. People that are flexible enough for the shifting workplaces and technologies will be leaders that see change not as a burden, but as an opportunity to grow.
When discussing the automated workplace, Forbes stated that since machines can’t easily replicate humans’ ability to imagine, create, and dream, those with high creativity will be in greater demand in the future workplace. With all the new technology coming our way, companies will require new ways of thinking – making human creativity an important asset. AI might be the future of technology, but for now, it is creative humans who teach machines how to think.
Originally coined by Stanford professor and motivation research pioneer Carol Dweck, people with a growth mindset believe their talents can be further developed through hard work and feedback. Companies with a growth mindset culture report more empowered, loyal, and innovative employees, while companies with a fixed mindset culture report employees taking shortcuts, deception, and other toxic practices. A tech professional with a growth mindset understands that building skills, and keeping them up-to-date through upskilling, leads to higher achievements. They’re willing to take on new challenges, learn from their mistakes, and actively expand their knowledge.
If you’re thinking of reskilling to tech, find a program that not only delivers the tech knowledge, but also gives you a true opportunity to practice soft skills in a team setting.
CTIA Training, a tech education provider focusing on the reskilling of people to tech jobs in high demand, design programs that aim to produce job-ready graduates, with coding skills, relevant soft skills, and hands-on experience in both hard and soft skills. Wawiwa’s proprietary Job-Effective Training (JET) design training methodology makes sure that the training experience feels a lot like everyday work at the future job role, be it a Full-Stack Developer or a Data Analyst. CTIA’S program lets students gradually acquire the skill of self-study and personal development. Working in pairs and teams, and reviewing one another’s code, gives students the opportunity to improve their communication and feedback skills. The project-based learning used by CTIA in its training necessitates students to develop problem-solving skills and a healthy approach to tackling new challenges.
“Hands-on experience in coding is paramount in importance to employers. However, softer skills are as important for employers, even if implicit.” says Eran Lasser, founder and CEO of Wawiwa Tech Training. “It is through presentation and communication skills that a candidate conveys his experience at the job interview. It is problem-solving and creativity that help candidates crack assignments during the recruiting process. And it is empathy and past examples of teamwork that let the recruiter assess a candidate’s fit to the company culture and seal the deal for the candidate’s new job in tech.”