The Soft Skill Side of Software Development

Software development may at times seem to be solely focused on capitalizing on hard skill sets.  It’s what programmers study (some incessantly) and what hiring managers are looking for on resumes. The software world buzzes with news about new hard skills to have, poor execution of such knowledge, and the amazing advances that are possible. And if you ask a programmer what he or she does, they will probably rattle off a list of, you guessed it, hard skills.

While hard skills may get the spotlight, the soft skills in software development are what sets the backdrop for the hard skills to shine. Soft skills smooth the day to day life, play a large part in company culture, and tend to be what keeps people around at the end of the day.

Here are six soft skills that are especially applicable to people in the field of software development, regardless of what they do.

Listen

How many times do we as people simply wait through another person’s talk until we can start expressing ourselves? It’s very easy to simply wait for our turn to talk and tune everything else out. Have you ever thought about how many good ideas you may have lost by doing so? Slow down and listen, particularly in meetings and during other scheduled blocks of time.

This does not mean that you have to give your full or undivided attention to everyone who comes by your desk or up to you during a quick break or lunch. However, do be aware of the issues and problems that others may see where you do not.

Communication

The other side of listening is open communication. Concerns, questions, objections–it all comes out in some way or another. It is far better to communicate issues openly and honestly before situations reach tipping points. No one likes to have their hand forced by circumstance. Take control while you can!

Obviously, in some situations, communication will be less than ideal. Perhaps a team simply hasn’t formed together well or management can’t seem to get on the same page as the developers. In these cases, it can be tempting to not communicate beyond the bare essentials. Do not fall into that trap if you can possibly avoid it.

Open-mindness

Even the smartest person in the room can be bound by tunnel vision. It’s easy to get lost in the world inside of our minds and work from the plans that we’ve set in motion. Even when people have listened and communicated their needs, wants, and issues, it is still surprisingly easy to block it all out and merrily continue forward.

The (sometimes partial, it is true) solution is to keep as open of a mind as you can. Good listening and communication skills will lend themselves well to this state of mind, as will good team dynamics.

Teamwork

No man is an island and no software project is completed by one man. Even the smallest projects require at least researching what other people have done, if not working with others. This makes teamwork a necessary part of life, particularly over large projects.

Everyone has been on a team where someone is not a good team player. It tends to make things more difficult than they need to be. Make sure you are not that team player and work with those who need some help to move everything along. From the team leader (whoever that may be) to the newest member on the developer team, to the customer-facing team, to the client and customer overall team, teamwork is woven into the core of software development.

None of these skill sets are easy to achieve, and few people master any one of these skills entirely. However, they make the difference between a team and a star team.  At Swan Software Solutions, we know and value the soft skills in software development. This mindset reflects on each and every one of our outsourced teams as they are put together. Each team is customized for the client’s specific needs and can be scaled if necessary with relative ease.

Do you have a software project you’ve been contemplating? Have you been toying with the idea of custom software? Or are you perhaps looking for the right fit? Swan would love to hear from you! Contact us here today and let’s get started on the journey together.

 

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