The Top Soft Skills That Every IT Professional Should Have Today

Job hunting in the IT world is a strange thing. Do a Google search of job opportunities or articles covering the demands in different IT fields, and you’d think it’s a wide-open road out there with no obstacles, and that the job of your dreams will practically fall in your lap.

Yes, there are an enormous number of opportunities out there, and there are certainly talent shortages in many fields that make it easier to find an ideal position, but it’s not as easy as that. For instance, just because some jobs are tough to fill doesn’t mean that’s the case in your geographical area. There are most likely other people in your vicinity who may be trying for the same jobs you are.

That is why, if you’re an IT professional, you need a well-rounded skillset. You need the hard skills you acquire through instruction, classes, bootcamps, simple work experience, and soft skills.

What’s a soft skill, you wonder?

That’s what we’re covering here today. We will define soft skills, call out the most important ones for an IT career, and how you can gain them.

Full Stack Java Developer Course

The Gateway to Master Web DevelopmentExplore Course
Full Stack Java Developer Course

So, What Is a Soft Skill?

Soft skills are non-technical skills, a conglomeration of people skills, communication skills, personality or character traits, social intelligence, attitudes, habits, and emotional intelligence quotients. These skills, as a rule, aren’t things you can learn in school. Not many universities have “Decision-Making 101” in their curriculum.

So hard skills are measurable, teachable skill sets (like learning Java or how to repair a wireless transceiver), and soft skills are the less-definable attributes and traits that make us better employees.

Now, considering the sheer number of unquantifiable attributes that exist, which ones are most important for Information Technology professionals?

Adaptability and Flexibility

Not only is technology continually changing and improving, but sometimes projects and assignments don’t follow the plan. Thus, a promising IT professional needs to smoothly integrate new technology and procedures and roll with the punches when unexpected wrinkles appear. Perhaps the higher-ups want to add something to a project or change the timeline. The right IT professional doesn’t get rattled when faced with sudden changes but instead adapts to them.

As a sub-skill, consider teachability. Many people are resistant to change, such as new procedures, citing excuses like “This is the way we’ve always done it!” Quality IT professionals can and will learn new methods and philosophies.

Communication

This skill is critical. Knowing how to relay ideas (verbally and non-verbally) and listen and understand what others are trying to communicate is critical for IT professionals. On any given day, someone may be called upon to report a project’s status to middle or upper management, then call a team meeting and communicate new ideas and goals to the group members.

Poor communication causes misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations and wastes time, resources, energy, and money. Conversely, a team that communicates well is a team that works as a single unit and gets things done.

Full Stack Web Developer Course

To become an expert in MEAN StackView Course
Full Stack Web Developer Course

Collaboration

There have been situations in the past where a smaller company could get away with having a one-person IT department. Still, unless the company in question is exceptionally tiny (as in, fewer than 50 people), the lone wolf is a vanishing breed.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to collaborate remotely has increased dramatically in importance. With no definable end in sight to the health restrictions, the ability to work together when everyone is in a different location is paramount.

Remote working needs aside, collaboration also makes tasks like coding and app development easier. Every team member must not only know their role but be able to stay in their lane and lend a hand when needed.

Problem-Solving

IT is a complex field with numerous diverse elements, making the field a breeding ground for problems of all levels of difficulty. That’s why IT professionals need to have a passion and curiosity for solving problems. When faced with an obstacle, the problem-solving IT sees it as a challenge and opportunity, not a setback.

Self-Confidence

Not to be confused with being egotistical, an IT professional with a healthy ego has enough confidence that they won’t get rattled when they make a mistake. Errors, rather than living in their heads and inhibiting their future performance, instead become opportunities to learn. Furthermore, professionals who have a healthy ego and self-confidence have no reservations about standing aside and letting others tackle problems, rather than the "I alone can fix it" mentality, leading to failure and disappointment.

We can divide this soft skill into two sub-skills, humility and accountability. Taking responsibility for your actions and owning up to your mistakes makes you more comfortable to work with in a team setting, whereas the opposite causes teams to break up due to mistrust.

Self-confidence often stems from possessing the right hard skills to do a job, so taking courses in your related field could boost your confidence along with your skillset.

Organization

The better IT professionals are organized. It doesn’t mean that these people are OCD, but a level of organization helps you multitask (something you will inevitably be required to do), prioritize, and manage your time. An organized professional is a productive and efficient professional, thus an asset to any organization’s IT department.

Perseverance

IT tasks are notorious for being either difficult or tedious. A good IT professional can tough it out and keep grinding out results, even when lesser mortals have given up. Perhaps there’s an application that crashes at a given point, and no one can figure out why, try as they may. Determined IT professionals rise above the circumstances and are relentless in their pursuit of results. Nothing slows them down or discourages them, at least not for too long.

Creativity and Resourcefulness

Sometimes, an IT team member needs to think outside the box, implementing an unorthodox yet effective solution. This need also means developing creative ways of using the resources the organization has given you to accomplish tasks or at least know where to find the answers.

Learn top skills demanded in the industry, including Angular, Spring Boot, Hibernate, Servlets, and JSPs, as well as MVC, web services, and SOA to build highly web scalable apps with the Full Stack Java Developer Masters Program.

How Do You Acquire Soft Skills?

While you can learn Java programming by attending a bootcamp, you can’t take a night course in self-confidence, although a course in design thinking could help you improve your problem-solving skills. There are no easy answers here, but you can get off to a good start by disciplining yourself to adopt habits conducive to nurturing those soft skills within you.

About the Author

SimplilearnSimplilearn

Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

View More
  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.