Professional skills and experience are very important in the IT industry, but the so-called soft skills, which few people think about, play an equally significant role. As Vinted’s vice president of engineering Mindaugas Mozūras notes, next to technical abilities, every IT specialist must not forget and improve himself in the areas of pragmatism, empathy and efficiency.
“Software developers are still haunted by the cliché that their work is done individually. People outside the field often think of programmers as hunched over computer screens in dark rooms. However, this stereotype is quite far from reality – programmers work in teams, together looking for ways to solve certain problems. How a professional is able to cooperate and find a common solution in such situations often determines the success of his career”, M. Mozūras observes.
A survey conducted by career platform Ziprecruiter revealed that 93% of companies surveyed said that soft skills determine whether a candidate is hired after all. This means that the skills needed in the IT industry are not limited to technical competences – in the long term, IT professionals will not be able to move forward without improving in the areas of communication, stress management or empathy.
Ability to work efficiently
The best programmers aren’t the ones who will write long or time-consuming, complex code to perform a small-value function. On the contrary, those who are able to predict in advance whether the time devoted to the implementation of the task will be worth it are valued in the market.
According to M. Mozūrs, the greatest attention should be paid to what creates the greatest impact with the least effort. This does not necessarily mean doing your immediate task. Sometimes, the most useful thing can be to provide timely help to a member of your team: “Efficient work first and foremost means well-planned time management – task planning and coordination, which is extremely important in a hybrid work environment.”
Pragmatism helps to return to reality
According to the expert, setting high goals is important, but remember that there is no such thing as perfect software. Rather, one should pay attention to the available opportunities, not cling to inflexible theories and rely more on one’s own experience.
For example, before starting a new project, decisions are made about which programming language or other technological solutions will be used. As M. Mozūras observes, it is possible to search for a perfectly suitable programming language for the solution of a certain problem, but at the same time we risk investing too much time in the process compared to the obtained result. A perfect score today is better than a perfect score once. Therefore, it is usually sufficient to choose a programming language that programmers know and that is already used in other tools. This will save time not only for decision-making, but also for subsequent technical support.
Communication and empathy should not be forgotten
Good communication skills, whether written or spoken, are a must-have competency for technology workers, according to Hired’s 2022 State of Software Engineers survey.
The importance of this competence becomes evident when solving unexpected problems during the project. What seems insurmountable alone is often easily solved in a team. However, this requires the ability to communicate and empathic skills.
Taken together, these three main qualities – efficiency, pragmatism, empathy – are loosely connected and combine other soft skills, such as, for example, the ability to accept criticism and convey it correctly to colleagues. Therefore, every IT specialist should not only focus on improving his professional skills, but also remember to pay attention to self-knowledge and self-development”, emphasizes M. Mozūras.
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