It’s hard to keep your skills up to date in today’s workforce in general, not just IT, and it is a lifelong task to identify what are the emerging skillsets that will get you ahead of your competition and build a long, rewarding career. In the midst of this turmoil of changes, there are very important skills that will never go out of date. SOFT SKILLS!
There are a range of skills within the soft skills category, in this article I will talk mostly about people skills and communication skills. Here’s a link to a list of soft skills if you’d like to find out more.
Why are they important in the IT industry? Isn’t it enough to have good technical skills so you can get the job done? There are many reasons why, but today I want to talk about 3 benefits of having strong soft skills.
- More job interviews
They will help you score more interviews! According to the Labour Market Portal 2016, 1 in every 3 jobs is not advertised. That is 33.33% of the job market. Click here for more info. This means that these positions get filled internally, by word of mouth or via recruitment agencies. Whichever the case might be, you could have a higher chance of finding out about these opportunities if you have a good relationship with people around you.
- Technical skills become redundant
Another reason why soft skills cannot be overlooked in today’s IT market is that technology changes so quickly. According to Moore’s Law (which hasn’t kept up with the emerging technologies itself), computer power doubles every two years which enables technology advancements in ways we can’t imagine. With the fourth industrial revolution upon us, thinking that your job is safe because you believe you are an expert in certain technologies is quite dangerous I have to say. I believe for this reason, it is critical to continue honing your soft skills which will never be outdated, if not strengthened over time.
- Hiring managers DO care about your soft skills
Lastly, reflecting on my own experience in dealing with hiring managers almost every hiring manager says they can’t stress enough the importance of people skills in particular communication skills. On the other hand, I have spoken to some hiring managers who didn’t really care about the soft skills or attitude because the skillset they were requiring were very niche and hard to find. Unless your skills are very rare, it would be in your best interest to give your people skills their fair share of attention. Having said that, if your skills are very rare it probably also means that your job market is very small.
There are myriads of other benefits to paying attention to your soft skills. You are more likely to succeed if people like you. Thanks for reading!
Terry Park, IT Recruitment Consultant.