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Developers Need Soft Skills Too!

HTML5... CSS3...JavaScript.... C#.... SQL.... Having a good knowledge and experience with these tools is great, but the thing that I have realized in my years of IT recruitment is that companies want more than those candidates with strong technical knowledge. Companies look for soft skills too!

Successful developers that will work at large corporations (and even smaller, boutique firms) and also have a lot of growth and advancement opportunities in their careers will need to be able to communicate well with others and work well within teams.

So many times I speak with IT talent (not just developers) who are very technical and have great skills yet have trouble describing what they actually do to the non-technical person. Think about senior managers, sales managers, and essentially end users or clients. Those with the soft skills and solid technical skills are what companies will seek out and often times present with great offers.

Here are my tips to those preparing to be or currently working in the IT industry.

1. Communication
Learn how to explain technical topics to people that are not technical. Describe what you are learning in school or a project you are working on to a friend or family members. These folks will tell you whether you are explaining things well or whether you need to work on this. Sometimes you just need to slow down the pace that you are talking to let some things sink in while other times you need simply the terms you are using, and yet other times you may need to use a relevant examples that most will people can relate to. It may even be a combination of the three, however this is an area that anyone should focus on with IT professionals are no exception to this.

2. Teamwork
Don't just be "that guy" (or girl) to sit behind your computer screen all day, without even speaking to your neighbor or any of the folks on your team. Have the ability to get along well with others and build relationships with your team. Take the initiative to chat with teammates. Maybe share an idea or a new tool or ask for help with some things. These are actually key to being a great team player! Know how to ask questions and also provide helpful tips to your team and offer to help others. For developers, please also document your code! This goes right along with good teamwork. This is helpful when others take on your projects and need to know why or how you did something. This shows you are thinking about your team. The team dynamic is a big thing that companies consider when hiring talent.

3. Presentation
This goes two ways! First, learn how to speak in front of a group. Most colleges will build presentations as a part of the curriculum so really take the opportunity to make the best of any opportunity to present information to a group. Developers that can present ideas to a team (whether the IT group or non IT) will go far! Most IT managers spend a lot of time presenting new ideas and also working with other teams. Tech skills + presentation skills equals an infinite amount of career opportunities. (Project Management..., Senior IT Manager.... Business Analyst... Architect...and much more.)

I hope this helps someone working in the IT field!


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