It's not all about the code: Crack the soft skills employers value and hack your career
Posted by Magdalena Marcisz
You're a brilliant coder, but you can't land jobs at innovative companies based on your technical skills alone. Bloomberg found that 60 percent of hiring managers have their eyes on soft skills when they make hiring decisions, compared to the 32 percent who focus on hard skills. By emphasizing your soft skills, you can stand out in a crowded coding environment.
Today's technology landscape pushes collaboration at all levels by removing data silos and encouraging integration between departments. This culture shift also changes how many employees work today; with CMSWire reporting 77.8 percent of employees work at companies using a distributed team framework. Instead of having a single, dedicated team, employees bring their skills to several teams at once. Good team players can bring their technical skills to each team while also understanding how to enhance the overall team. Instead of focusing entirely on your duties, being a team player means understanding how you fit into the overall team dynamic and knowing ways you can use your expertise to help others. If you're working on R&D projects, stepping outside your skill box can lead to innovations and better ways of accomplishing goals.
Another way to stand out from other R&D developers comes from leadership skills. You don't need to be a manager to benefit from being able to guide coworkers to a shared goal or assert yourself if you need buy-in for your ideas from others. You not only know your skillset inside and out, but you also have enough top level knowledge of other technical skills that you can help your team improve their productivity and workflow. You have a big picture perspective instead of siloing yourself within your sphere of knowledge.
End user empathy
The end users putting your end product to use are, statistically speaking, probably not developers themselves. Employers look for coders who keep the end user in mind throughout the entire R&D process. You don't have to be a UX designer to benefit from some end user empathy when it comes to adding user-friendly ideas to the system. Customer and user experience are two prominent trends in today's business world, and reducing the difficulty it takes to accomplish these goals makes companies pay attention.
You can be the best coder in the world, but if you can't convey your ideas through text and verbal communication, you'll have a hard time standing out and making a difference in your projects. Many developers run into issues where they can't convey critical information to key decision makers because they stick with technical terms. If you can translate from coder to business language, you'll find it easier to explain what you're doing and how you bring value to the organization.
You spend a significant amount of time with your team, department and other coworkers. Even if you don't play the office politics games, you do need to contribute to a positive work environment. A negative or toxic work environment leads to employee dissatisfaction, lost productivity and lower retention, so employers pay a close eye to candidates who display relationship building and interpersonal skills. You don't have to be everyone's best friend, but being easy going on a personal level won't hurt your chances.
Your technical skills will get your foot in the door, but together with your soft skills you can convince companies that you're the total package! Differentiate yourself from other developers with these soft skills and secure the job of your dreams!
R&D is engineering but it is also determining and defining what our products should do for people who work with it. Working at Unit4 has a purpose and our purpose is to create, sell and implement software for people. So, it is for the nurses in the hospital, the professionals at the professional services firm, it is the employees at public services who benefit from the software. Do you like to help people in service organizations with your code? Want to develop exciting new technology? Have a look at our careers website for our possibilities!
Because we are in business for people, we are organizing: Hack4Culture. This is our first night hackathon organized by us as part of the GeekWeekWro event in Wroclaw, Poland. The hackathon will take place on 15-16 April 2016 in Wroclaw Centennial Hall. It will be held under the banner of culture and focused on actions for the benefit of local community. Add new value to culture and community using tools you have at your disposal. Hack4 Culture – when innovation becomes art! For more information about the contest visit http://hack4culture.pl/en/!