There is a lot more to being a software engineer than just writing code. It takes the right kind of person to work well in this type of environment, and there are a number of essential soft skills needed by software engineers on top of the necessary hard skills. There are a lot of different things you can do to rise above the rest as a software engineer, which is essential because, beyond understanding software and programming languages, recruiters are looking for candidates with high-quality soft skills.
Soft skills are non-technical character traits that can help you in any job. Soft skills dictate things like how you work, how you get along with others and manage conflict, how you balance your tasks with your time, and so much more. Soft skills can say a lot about a person, and having desirable soft skills can make you stand out in your chosen field – particularly in the recruiting stages of your career.
Software engineering is no different. Though this is a technical field, there is a range of crucial soft skills that are also necessary. Here are our top 10 essential soft skills needed by software engineers:
Creativity is not just about creating art, it can also be about coming up with unique approaches to problem-solving. Software engineering requires a lot of reworks and planning, which requires a lot of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking from the developers and engineers working on these projects. Being creative and coming up with new methods for solving problems is a great quality for software engineers to have.
No one likes making mistakes, but a sign of a good software developer is one who is willing to own up to them. It can be hard to admit to them sometimes, but it is a way better option than hiding from them or, even worse, trying to pass the blame onto someone else. Being accountable for your mistakes and growing from them will make you a great software engineer. You will gain the trust and respect of your peers, making it easier for you in the future to work your way up and become a leader.
Sometimes good software engineering takes some trial and error. Some plans do not go as expected and you will need to regroup and think of a new strategy. Being tenacious is a good way to ensure you are getting the best quality work done despite these types of adversities. Determination and tenacity are great skills to gain while working in software engineering. This one may require some practice and experience to get right. Great software engineers are inspired by setbacks to work harder and smarter.
The past few years have had a unique effect on the workforce. Being adaptable to workplace changes is a great way to make a good impression as a software engineer. Whether it is big changes like working remotely, or small ones like wearing a mask, being comfortable with adapting to new work environments is key to success and working well with your team.
Effective and quality communication is one of the most important soft skills in software engineering and, realistically, in any teamwork-oriented career. You should be friendly and open with the people you work with on projects. Open and honest communication leads to projects getting done faster and more effectively since everyone has been given enough information to progress and succeed.
Being a good software engineer requires excitement for the work being done. The best way to be good at something is to care deeply about the project and the end result. Fortunately, there are a lot of avenues for software engineers to work in, so if you find you do not have enthusiasm for your work, it may not be software engineering as a whole but the specific company or project you are working on. Caring about your work and wanting to do better is a great way to stand out amongst the crowd.
Great software engineers want to learn more. They want to keep up with the latest innovations in tech and understand as many coding languages as possible. The best software engineers are lifelong learners. There are always ways software engineers can explore and expand their knowledge, so being curious about your career will help you explore those options.
Quality work takes time. Being patient with yourself and others is an important part of working as a software engineer. When you are working with a team of people, you need to be understanding of their needs and patient when others need help or make mistakes. This fosters a healthy work environment for everyone. For any job requiring a lot of teamwork, patience is a key soft skill for success.
The trust you have in yourself and your work rubs off on others, making confidence an essential soft skill for software engineers. One confident person on a team will inspire the whole team to be more confident. Confidence in yourself and your ability to get the job done right may take some time, and it may come with more experience in the field. This is a soft skill that can be difficult to achieve, especially as a newbie, but practising trusting yourself and your abilities will definitely pay off in the end.
There are many ways that different kinds of management play an important role in software engineering. There is time management, which helps you get tasks done on time in the best way possible. There is management of groups of people, which will help everyone reach their goals on time in the right way. There is also management of yourself. Managing your emotions, your expectation, and your workflow will make you a high-quality software engineer. Also, starting off as a software engineer with a great ability to manage will set you up for becoming a manager in the future.
How to Improve Your Soft Skills
There are many ways you can work on these and other essential soft skills needed by software engineers. There are courses available online to help you improve your weak points. There are also books and videos coming from people who are great at certain soft skills, or who had to learn how to get better at the soft skills they were lacking. Finding a software engineering mentor can also give you industry-level insight into what soft skills are required.
Some of the soft skills you will also gain while working and learning from experience. It is a great idea to start building the framework now so you will be ready to grow and strengthen your soft skills on the job.
Become a Software Engineer
To begin learning and strengthening your soft skills to become a software engineer, book a career consult to find out more about how close you might be to achieving your dream role.