#KnowYourDev: The Only Soft Skills That a Developer Will Need
Our chat with Mario Eguiluz, our CTO at Wanted took us onto the topic of soft skills and what soft skills developers should possess. Soft skills are considered as the interpersonal, social and communication skills that someone displays in their working environment. For most jobs, having the basic soft skills is important as they are dealing with other people on a daily basis. Developers, however, tend to like more independently.
Mario listed his top soft-skills that are an absolute must for developers who want to be successful in their organisations.
For developers, this is saying yes before simply giving up or saying that it can't be done for Mario. He states that it is very important for someone to be willing to give something a try and see whether it can be done first. In a lot of cases, you find that someone asks the dev to add a feature or a button to the site and the instant response is “It’s too difficult” or “It’s going to take too long”.
A person who says yes to something, and tries it is a very important asset to the team and is very dynamic. That type of developer will most likely be more successful than the one who says no.
Willingness to Learn
This really links into the previous point. If you are willing to say yes to something, you are also willing to learn. Mario pointed out that there are several cases where a dev is asked for a feature that they have never done before. Firstly, being able to say yes, and then work their way through the new feature, teaching themselves how its done is a valuable trait. This characteristics is very important, especially in a start-up environment, where everyone is trying out new things on a daily basis.
Ability to Learn a New Language
A developer who is also willing to learn more than one language can also be a valuable asset in a working environment, especially in a start-up. Start-ups have significantly less revenue to hire several developers and are more likely to hire one that is familiar with more than one language. Specialists usually know one language, whereas generalists are more adaptable and know more. These are beneficial skills to have though, in any working environment.
In his list, Mario highlighted the importance of autonomy and working independently. “You want someone who you don’t have to sit on all of the time”, he states. This is true for most positions, and especially for developers. Managers will assign tasks and bugs to various developers and give them a specific amount of time to complete it. If the developer lacks the drive to complete it, they will simply be wasting valuable time and resources.
Linking this back to the can-do attitude, a developer should be positive about their roles and tasks given to them. A developer who is continuously negative drags down the department, stifles creativity and is usually a lot less successful in their role. Naturally, a developer also has to be realistic about what can be achieved, but a positive attitude can do wonders in the company.
Team and Business Mindsets
“Sometimes it is not only about the code”, states Mario. Most developers are absolute perfectionists he acknowledges, and to them, their code is everything. But when you are working in a team or in a business and have deliveries, expectations, deadlines and pressure on you, you have to make some sacrifices. You have to sometimes make the decision to give forward the 80/20 ratio to meet the expectations of the team.