It’s Not Only Coding:
Five Crucial Non-Technical Skills
A Software Developer Should Have
To be a software developer you just need standard skills for tech: to know how to code and understand the technical elements, right? Wrong.
To be a software developer you undoubtedly need strong programming skills, however, to progress in your career and to land competitive tech jobs it is most definitely beneficial to have a strong set of non-technical skills too.
Take a look at the five most important non-tech skills that you should be able to demonstrate to employers.
The days when tech experts could fulfil the geek stereotype and sit quietly in the corner crunching data are long gone. To succeed in most tech jobs, an ability to communicate is definitely a bonus. Software creation is a multi-team, multi-disciplinary process and as such there will be times when different teams need to cross over and communicate with each other to ensure that the project runs smoothly, and the software meets expectations. So, it stands to reason that hirers are much more likely to employ someone who has the skills and qualifications as well as great communication skills and teamwork because they will be able to listen to different stakeholders, take on board what they are saying, and make appropriate adjustments if necessary.
Software developers won’t just be required to take part in inter-team communication, either; on occasions it may be necessary for developers to interact with clients. When informing a client that their expectations can’t quite be met – and why – while suggesting a more feasible approach, communication can be the difference between a happy client that buys in to a concept and a dissatisfied, therefore difficult to manage, client.
Another stereotype about software developers is that they know what they know, and they stick to it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While programmers clearly have an understanding of the binary, they must also embrace the non-binary; in an industry where change happens on an almost daily basis, developers have to be open minded and agile in order to embrace the new whilst adhering to the fundamentals of the industry. As such, when hirers are filling software jobs, they are likely to look for flexibility and an ability to embrace new concepts.
Open mindedness doesn’t just apply to technical skills. It is important that you continue to develop your non-technical skills to prevent your skillset from becoming obsolete. It’s not surprising that one of the most commonly requested soft skills for tech job positions is open-mindedness.
Ability to prioritize
Software development requires some pretty complex multi-tasking. One minute you are developing new code, the next you are required to look over an existing program or interact with a client. As a result, software developers need to act, and react, at appropriate times during the software development cycle. Failure to do so could lead to errors or delays. It is, therefore, vital that as a developer you are able to assess the jobs in hand and prioritize them so that they all get done, with the most time-critical being completed first. Through prioritization and critical path analysis, software developers are responsible for ensuring that the programming phase runs smoothly, with optimal impact and minimal disruption.
Another crucial skill for software developers is time management. Software development projects can be complex and time-consuming, and there are often multiple tasks that need to be completed within a tight deadline. Effective time management is essential for ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget.
One of the key components of effective time management is prioritization. Developers need to be able to identify which tasks are the most important and allocate their time accordingly. They also need to be able to estimate how long each task will take, so they can plan their time effectively.
Another important aspect of time management is setting realistic goals and deadlines. Developers need to be able to break down large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks and set realistic deadlines for each task. They also need to be able to communicate these deadlines to their team members and stakeholders, so everyone is on the same page.
Here are five modern time management techniques that developers can implement to improve their productivity: the Pomodoro technique, time blocking, the Eisenhower matrix, task batching, and the Getting Things Done (GTD) method.
Pomodoro Technique:This technique involves breaking up work into intervals, usually 25 minutes long, separated by short breaks. This method helps you stay focused and avoid burnout.
Eisenhower Matrix:This method involves categorizing tasks into four quadrants based on their urgency and importance. By prioritizing tasks based on their level of importance and urgency, you can stay focused on what needs to be done first.
Time Blocking:This technique involves dividing your day into blocks of time and assigning specific tasks to each block. This can help you stay focused and avoid distractions, as well as make better use of your time.
The Ivy Lee Method: This method involves writing down your six most important tasks for the day and focusing on completing them before moving on to anything else. By limiting your to-do list to a manageable number of tasks, you can stay focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Getting Things Done (GTD): This method involves breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces and organizing them into lists based on their level of priority. This method can help you stay on top of your tasks and avoid feeling overwhelmed by a long to-do list.
Software programmers are the ultimate problem solvers. They are given a problem, task or challenge by colleagues or clients and it is their job to apply their extensive knowledge and explore different methodologies to deliver what the client wants and needs. Problem solving is at the very center of all programming, whether the consumer knows it or not. While it is true that the tech industry has been known to create a problem so that they can also create the solution, it is also true that every program is created to solve a problem. As a result, programmers are problem solvers by nature; always exploring alternative routes or solutions to achieve better results.
Whether you are looking to develop your career as a software developer, or looking to start a new career, it is vital that you keep your technical and soft skills updated and as sharp as you can. If you are uncertain what skills you need to help you to get your career to the next level, it can help to have a look around at the opportunities currently available, or check out a specialist tech recruitment agency who will be able to help you to get your resume looking strong ready to find new opportunities.
About the Author
Veronika Biliavska is an independent copywriter and marketing consultant. She is passionate about rocket science and ancient Greek literature.