Soft skills are not just nice to have. They are essential for those who want to work in software development. The information age we live in has made the world smaller and more interconnected than ever before, which means that it’s easier than ever to connect with clients, customers, team members, and other stakeholders. At the same time, it’s a very competitive industry with lots of opportunities. This means that you have to make an impact to stand out from the crowd.
In my opinion, the most significant advantage that soft skills provide is that they help you build networks within organizations and communities. Having good soft skills means being approachable, likable, reliable, trustworthy — basically, someone other people enjoy working with and want to know more about. This opens doors for new opportunities.
I often see engineers who are confident with their technical skills but lack communication abilities and struggle to showcase their value to the company they work for. If you think about it from a management perspective, why would anyone hire someone who lacks confidence when there are many great candidates out there who are confident enough to prove themselves?
Confidence is such an essential factor in making hiring decisions! There’s nothing wrong with being humble, though. Just remember that self-confidence that comes from knowing what you’re doing helps significantly in putting forward a strong case whenever you need something from management or colleagues.
This applies to more than just job security. Remember that other people tend to notice when you bring value into conversations by sharing relevant perspectives or ideas instead of just agreeing with everything everyone says. It shows them that you’re worth spending time with because of what you’re bringing to the conversation rather than merely because of who you are (or who they think/assume/hope you are).
You’ll find yourself better positioned for promotions, exciting projects at work (with increased responsibility!), more significant influence over critical team decisions, etc. The list goes on!
Building good relationships within teams and companies (and community-wide) makes going through bad times easier since there will always be people around who care enough about your situation and want to help. It might be hard at first — especially if you’ve been labeled as “not sociable” — but trust me, once this starts happening more often, things will improve dramatically!