Many companies hire developers based solely on their coding skills. This is not a wrong strategy, because, at the end of the day, it requires good coding skills to build quality software. However, if your recruitment is looking at only levels of programming skills in CVs, you’re probably missing out on some great candidates. In today’s software development where developers need to increasingly work with one another as a team, many soft skills are necessary to create an effective interaction and smooth workflow. In this article, we’ll share with you what other skills that you should pay attention to so that you can bring the best people into your team.
What is a “Soft” Skill?
Soft skills, also known as common skills, are personality traits and characteristics that a person has, which often play out in their behavior and attitude. Although these skills aren’t as easy to see as hard skills (such as knowledge of a programming language), they are not any less valuable and often can have a great impact on an employee’s productivity and how they interact with other team members.
Assessing soft skills carefully is very important if you want to avoid hiring people who can cause a negative impact on your teamwork. Let’s go through some of the most crucial soft skills that developers should have.
What Soft Skills You Should Look For In Developers?
Being able to communicate one’s opinions and thoughts is essential for teamwork. In such an environment, members often work on different parts of a project and have to exchange ideas, discuss problems, or explain solutions. If any developer isn’t able to present themselves effectively, misunderstandings and errors can easily happen.
Communication skills become even more important as many companies are building a remote work environments. Effective communication will allow team members to shorten online messy Zoom meetings and interact with one another more efficiently.
Collaboration and Teamwork
This collaboration must go beyond sharing code in GitHub and helping debug. Those team members must be capable of sharing and taking advice from those above them, below them, and on the same level. Additionally, those on a team must also respect their fellow developer’s work, ethics, and needs. A great team doesn’t just share code in GitHub and help fix bugs but also shares advice and respects each other’s time, ethics, and needs.
Time Management and Organization
Every project has a deadline, and your developers will miss it if they aren’t able to manage their time and organize their tasks. These two skills often go hand-in-hand, and those who possess them are highly productive.
Members who have effective time management skills give other people in the team the confidence that they will get their part of the job done on time, and managers can rely on them without the need to micromanage. In a team where there’s a lack of time management and organization skills, team members will get frustrated from having to pick up the late tasks of those who can’t manage their time.
Software development is a stressful job. A high level of focus and long working hours, which are what the job typically requires, tend to exhaust developers. This is why emotional intelligence is an important trait. When you have people with solid emotional intelligence in your team, they can help you stabilize emotional pressure in rough times and create a healthy work environment.
Developers with emotional intelligence are also better at managing themselves to keep up with deadlines. Striking qualities of emotional intelligence are having strong listening skills and adaptability. A person who can actively listen to opinions, evaluate them, and make the right adjustments will be able to function more effectively and productively.
It’s inevitable that mistakes happen, but what makes or breaks a team is what the team members do when things go awry. In the face of serious bugs or missed deadlines, if team members start to play the blame game, that’s when you know you’re hiring the wrong people.
Good developers are those who are willing to admit their mistakes and fix them. Without accountability, your employees will keep pointing the finger at each other, and such responsibility denial will hinder your progress. You also need to let your team members know that it’s okay to admit mistakes, and they won’t lose their job for doing so.
Adaptability and Versatility
It’s not rare that a software project doesn’t go as planned down the road, maybe the client wants to make some important changes, or maybe someone messes something up, so you need to have people with adaptability in your team to accommodate such unexpected circumstances.
When changes are required, you need developers who can quickly let go of what was and get on with what will be. Those who insist on doing what was done will just slow down your progress. By hiring adaptable and versatile people, you can be sure that any project will be successful regardless of whatever’s thrown your way.
Last but not least, patience is a very crucial trait that developers need to have. Success rarely happens overnight, and a lot of times a project will run into delays, chaos, or even dead ends. When these things happen, your team members need to be patient to be able to find solutions.
Also, though speed is important, quality is even more important. Just because one member completes their work early doesn’t mean others have to rush theirs to catch up. Your hires need to understand that not everyone operates at the same pace so that they don’t get affected by peer pressure which can hurt the quality of their output. Patience in these situations is necessary for a developer to stay focused on what they should do rather than what they feel pressured to do.
The bottom line is when it comes to hiring developers, programming skills shouldn’t be the only thing that you pay attention to. Although they are top priorities and will have a direct impact on a project, in the long run, soft skills are what allow you to build a strong and healthy team who will continue to help you take on challenges, not just short-term projects.
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