Computer Futures

The increasing value of soft skills in software developers

When applying for a software development position, most candidates are eager to highlight their impressive technical skills. While this is obviously important, the value of soft skills is often forgotten. Although attributes such as leadership, communication, and teamwork may seem like an afterthought, developers with first-rate soft skills are becoming increasingly more attractive to businesses. We spoke to Tristan Hamish Mackrory, Associate Candidate Team Manager at Computer Futures, to find out more.

Showcasing soft skills through your application process

All developer roles come with a list of mandatory technical requirements that candidates must possess. After suitable candidates meeting technical requirements have been shortlisted, hiring managers will begin to look beyond the technical skills. Tristan explains, “Companies are realising that finding someone who can offer more than just the ability to technically do the job is an investment for their team. Once they’ve established a candidate can physically do the job, it’s about the person behind the skills.” 

Hiring a candidate with the technical skills to complete a project offers a quick fix. However, the long-term benefit in sourcing someone with additional attributes is becoming more obvious to managers. Investing in the person and not just their skills allows greater potential for staff retention. If businesses hire a candidate with the ability to thrive as part of a team, it’s more likely they’ll want to build a career with the company.

The value of communication

According to Tristan, the ability to communicate effectively is one of the most desirable skills for a software developer to possess. Collaboration is key to the success of software projects, and the ability to effectively convey ideas is just as important as the ability to write great code. 

Communication is an essential part of the software development lifecycle – if this breaks down, it can impact both productivity and functionality. The ability to strip away jargon and break down complex concepts is essential when working with a group of people with different skill sets. For many organisations, their developers must be confident conveying technical information to non-technical team members. 

How soft skills can advance your career

Skills and traits such as empathy and teamwork are essential for career development within the industry. John Z. Sonmez goes into detail about the traits that separate good developers from great developers in his book ‘Soft Skills: The software developer's life manual’. Adaptable professionals who react positively to change and keep the product user in mind at all times are considered highly valuable.

A combination of technical expertise and strong soft skills is proving to be the key to excelling on a global level within the industry. In our report, ‘The changing landscape of software development in Japan’, we discovered it’s solid soft skills that separates senior developers from regular developers. All over the world, the role of a developer is becoming more customer facing. A sense of perspective and an appreciation of how technical decisions impact wider business functions can allow developers to create more effective products.

Showcasing your soft skills

Within the industry, demonstrating excellent soft skills could give you an advantage over candidates with more technical aptitude. At Computer Futures, we understand the attributes that allow developers to excel in their career. Contact us to take advantage of the full consultative service we offer and learn about the exciting opportunities we have on offer.