Soft Skills Any Remote Software Developer Needs to Master
Software developers have long been stereotyped as lacking in social and/or interpersonal skills when their career actually comes with great technical demands. To be great at what they do, we vouch just how much every software developer must go through rigorous secondary and/or technical schooling, career training, and accumulated work experience. Yet, we will also admit that many professionals in the tech industry currently need further work on their soft skills— especially when working remotely.
This blog post will pinpoint the precise soft skills software developers need to master with concise soft skills examples, especially when working remotely with U.S.-based clients.
Learning more on the topic of hard skills vs soft skills through this reading can help current software engineers secure great long-term positions, sustain their teams’ active collaboration, and do an even neatlier job!
But what is a soft skill, anyways?
The term soft skills refers to all those interpersonal qualities, behaviors, and attitudes that enable a person to interact effectively and harmoniously. If we speak of a soft skill meaning, we need to encompass communication, empathy, problem-solving, assertiveness, team collaboration, negotiation, active listening, and conflict resolution as part of soft skills examples.
Hard skills vs soft skills: The key difference
You might be wondering what the difference is between hard skills vs soft skills at this point. Hard skills refer to specific, teachable abilities that can be clearly defined and measured. Those assets include coding or debugging knowledge, for example.
Soft skills are more intangible qualities than hard ones. Also termed power areas, soft skills speak of a person’s ability to interact with other people and successfully navigate interpersonal relationships.
Now that a common definition is clear, let’s get to the juice of soft skill mastery for developers.
5 vital soft skills examples for remote software developers
We’re describing 5 different and key soft skills by defining what they are, why they’re important, and how they can give remote developers an advantage when working with U.S.-based clients.
- Assert yourself during meetings. In remote environments, it’s important for software developers to use the unique opportunity meetings give to speak up. Voice your opinion and professional feedback whenever possible.Challenge ideas, if needed. Doing so can help strengthen your soft skills, but also push projects forward!
- Be adaptable when speaking to others. As part of regular duties, developers commonly need to explain technical concepts to both technical and non-technical audiences, whether those be internal or external parties to their working environments. When working with U.S. teams, tech talent furthermore needs to be sensitive to cultural and language differences. To achieve such a goal, explain concepts patiently and seek verbal and nonverbal communication methods. Different ages and backgrounds require different tones and levels of technical language, so being able to shift accordingly is an essential soft skill.
- Communicate honestly and clearly. Tied to honest communication, part of Nearsure’s key values in our company culture, is the ability to stay productive and complete tasks in a timely manner as these attributes connect directly to developers’ communication skills. Remote developers need to maintain honest and straightforward communication as much as possible with their teams. Doing so sets clear expectations for everyone involved in a specific project, task, and role, which in turn becomes essential for customized task management and workflows, efficient processes, timely deliveries, meeting team goals, and everything falling down the work pipeline. In seeking clear communication, feel free to speak up whenever instructions or metrics, business objectives and more aren’t clear, and especially whenever you have conflict or disagreement with team members.
- Set firm boundaries with colleagues and superiors. Being the nicest in the bunch who smiles and agrees isn’t the best business strategy. It may be scary to speak of boundaries at work, but conceive those simply as the limits a person needs to set for his or her own behavior and between themselves and others for optimized workflows, as well. Clear limits to our roles can help dictate how people will and will not relate with us at work. Boundaries are an essential part of maintaining healthy, productive, and successful work relationships. This soft skill should also include setting expectations early on, scheduling specific hours for work and communication, and being aware of how people speak to you. Setting boundaries will also help developers as disposable tech talent, especially in remote work scenarios that challenge how often we interact or whenever we work from abroad.
- Be a self-learner who holds yourself accountable. Finally, to keep updated with all the fast changes in the tech industry, successful software developers must be self-disciplined and capable of independent learning. A fast-paced industry such as nearshore outsourcing software development constantly calls for talent to grasp new concepts, languages, techniques, and skills that are necessary for their long-term success. Self-learning is thus an essential soft skill, one remote developers need in order to stay ahead of the fierce competition in this labor market. In our remote context servicing North American clients, we know U.S. companies love and prefer self-learners who can take a growth initiative for their career path and continue to hone tech, soft, and even hard skills on their own. These traits remove micromanagement, but also allow talent to take control of their careers without mandate. It certainly takes discipline and commitment to hold ourselves to high personal standards.
How Remote Software Developers Can Master Soft Skills
This is how we break the stereotype to which software developers are commonly held! Soft skills are a vital asset. There are many ways to learn these skills—including attending seminars, taking online courses, or using different frameworks. In-person methods are also a great way to gain tangible understanding of these vital skill sets. Mentorship conversations and role-playing with other developers can provide helpful feedback on expectation management, conflict resolution, and even a rather simple to say and hard to achieve soft skill such as an assured display of confidence.
Try finding in-person meetups or networking opportunities to practice these soft skills. Our Talent Marketing Team constantly launches new sponsored events, meetups, and other tech-community related events we welcome you to join. Either way you decide to do this, seek to create meaningful connections to perfect your work skills while building long-lasting relationships in the tech field.
Care to join our teams? Check out our open positions.