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Top 5 Soft Skills Every Developer Must Have

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Top 5 Soft Skills Every Programmer Must Have

What are Soft Skills?

‘The Great Resignation’ saw drastic changes in the jobs market. But, with so many shifts in trends around employment, how important are soft skills today?

The term soft skills reflects your interpersonal abilities. If you have strong soft skills, you’re likely reliable, approachable, dependable and generally pleasant to work with.

Some careers rely on soft skills more than others. For example, a software developer will rely heavily on their ability to code to do their job well. On the other hand, a salesperson will rely on their communication - or soft skills - to make a sale.

Are Soft Skills Important for Web Developers?

Some web developers prefer to work alone as freelancers, others prefer to work in bigger teams. Like any occupation, the world of work requires soft skills, no matter the size of your company or where you are based.

Web development is a focus-orientated profession. Often, you’ll find yourself coding for hours without saying a word to anyone. But, that doesn’t mean soft skills aren’t necessary.

As tech recruiters, we’re often briefed to look for tech professionals who are sociable, reliable, independent and an everything-in-between coding extraordinaire.

But, the reality of being a software developer doesn’t have to require the charisma of a politician, or unfathomed dependability – but it could help.

Which Soft Skills Do Programmers Need?

So, which skills do you realistically require to bag that next role? How can you match your skills to what companies want? Do companies even know what they want?

Our specialist team of tech recruiters have collectively summarized the things they most commonly see employers seeking within their next hire.

So, take advantage of their insight and see if there’s any aspects of your offerings you may need to upskill to help you get your next role.

Communication Soft Skills

With hybrid working being the norm these days, communication skills are becoming more and more key. This new-ish way of working had brought up all sorts of questions like, ‘How can you be better at communicating while working from home?’ and ‘How do I effectively manage a team working from home?’.

Having stellar communication skills is a good place to start when tackling working from home. It might sound obvious, but whether you’re communicating with your CTO or a member of a non-dev team, knowing how and when to use the right jargon, phrases and tone can go a long way.

Communication Soft Skills in a Job Interview

Communication soft skills also come into play when you’re searching for a new role. A good relationship with your recruiter needs to come from both sides.

“A lot of developers that I have spoken to just say ‘You’ve got my CV, it’s all in there’. That’s not good enough, you want to give them a detailed run through of your career in a clear and concise manner.

Developers must have this attitude while job hunting just like a client would when they are telling me about their role and company. They wouldn’t make you refer back to a job spec.” said Jordan Hayward, Managing Recruitment Consultant at Amicus Recruitment.

Approachability Soft Skills

Being an approachable software developer is more important than you might think. Whatever your role within an organization, your ultimate goal as a software developer is to solve problems.

Whether it’s a member of your team struggling with a task or an urgent error that needs attention, your ability to put others at ease is pretty vital.

If people feel they can’t approach you, you could end up with a backlog of unsolved problems because no one felt they could present them to you.

Approachability Soft Skills in a Job Interview

The same goes when you’re looking for a new role. Employers want to see you’re approachability from the off.

Managing Recruitment Consultant, Jordan Hayward said, “Smile – Interviewing is very different to what it was 2 years ago. We no longer go to offices and meet people face to face.

This makes it difficult to gage people’s reactions and assess their body language. If you aren’t going to smile on Zoom, don’t turn up to the interview.”

Creative Thinking Soft Skills

Like we just covered, software development is problem solving. To be good at it, you’ll need a little flair! Producing good, clean code is a technical job, but aside from code, there are other aspects of being a software developer that require a little thinking outside the box.

For example, if you run a team, inter-office feuds will need a little more than a slap on the wrist. Producing creative solutions will sit well with your team and they’ll appreciate that you figured out the most effective way to diffuse the situation.

Creative Thinking Soft Skills in a Job Interview

Employers will be looking for creativity as soon as they view your resume and continues through to your interview.

“Creativity and showing that you can think outside of the box will take you a long way in an interview. Even in the finer things like the details of your CV. Is everything in the correct chronological order? Is it easy to read?

When preparing for an interview, think of the things that are going to make you stand out that aren’t your bog-standard answers!” said Talent Acquisition Manager, Hannah Crawford.

Enthusiasm Soft Skill

Showing enthusiasm for the work you’re doing and the company you work for can seem like an obvious requirement. But, you’d be surprised how many people neglect it’s importance.

Senior JavaScript Consultant, Jamie Crowley said, “Showing a willingness to learn and develop is one of the most important things an employer looks for. It shows that you’re willing to adapt to trends and don’t want to shoehorn yourself into a niche area of programming.”

You can always develop your understanding of your filed and broaden your horizons by listening to programming podcasts, attending webinars or chatting with a specialist like those on our team.

Showing Enthusiasm in a Job Interview

You don’t need to smile until your face hurts or rave about the colour of your interviewer’s tie. There are subtle ways for you to show you’re enthusiastic without coming across too strongly.

Jordan Hayward said, “Ask interesting questions. I’ve had so many developers get rejected because they didn’t seem interested. So, make sure you ask them questions about growth plans, what they do and what their mission is etc.”

Empathy Soft Skills

There’s no right or wrong way to be empathetic at work. But, there’s tons of ways you can show your empathetic side while remaining authoritative – presuming that’s what you’re going for.

Letting someone console in you, being a good listener, allowing emotional connection and withholding judgement or bias are all surefire ways to appear more approachable and empathetic.

Being an Empathetic Coder

You can also be empathetic with your code. Considering future interactors with your code can help you produce cleaner, maintainable code and might stop you from sacrificing quality for speed.

Software developers move in reasonably close circles, so it’s a good idea to be careful not to rub people up the wrong way by appearing rude or unsympathetic.

Jordan Hayward said, “Development is such a close knit career and there is a high chance you will have crossed paths with people you meet in some shape or form.”

How to Show Your Soft Skills in a Job Interview

Being your best in a job interview can be draining – especially if the process has multiple phases or challenges.

Nailing your job interview doesn’t have to be difficult. You can get personal, bespoke guidance from people like Jordan and Jamie when you team up with a recruitment consultant from Amicus.

We’re award-nominated specialists in JavaScript, Python and Golang roles onsite across Europe and globally remote.

From freelance, contract and permanent opportunities, find your next tech role with us and receive specialist advice and guidance all the way from application to the first day of your new role.

Take the next step in your career, click here.

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