IT Soft Skills: What Are They And How To Develop Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 10 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Information Technology (IT) is a diverse field with numerous job opportunities and roles. Besides technical skills, possessing the right soft skills can help you differentiate yourself from other candidates during the hiring process and advance your career. Soft skills make it easier for IT professionals to collaborate with others efficiently, improve productivity and demonstrate their dedication to the job to managers and supervisors. In this article, we explore why soft skills are essential for IT professionals, list the top IT soft skills and also share tips for soft skills development.

What are IT soft skills and why are they important?

IT soft skills refer to the personality traits, behavioural and interpersonal skills of IT professionals that help them in the workplace. These skills represent the ability of a professional to work effectively and efficiently with others to achieve a common objective. Soft skills can give you a competitive advantage during the application process as employers prefer candidates who possess the desired abilities that make them a good fit for the workplace.

Once employed, these skills can help you better apply your technical abilities. For example, your time management and organisational skills can help you complete tasks on time. Similarly, resourcefulness and decision-making skills can help you solve challenges efficiently by applying knowledge from previous experiences. Additionally, soft skills help you evolve and adapt to changing trends and technologies, which is crucial in a dynamic, fast-paced IT work environment.

Related: Importance Of Soft Skills In The Workplace

Top 7 soft skills that help IT professionals in the workplace

Besides your technical proficiency, here are the crucial soft skills that can help accelerate your career growth in IT:

1. Communication

Most IT roles require employees to communicate clearly with team leaders and colleagues as part of their daily duties. This includes both verbal and written communication skills. Written communication skills help you write unambiguous emails that are easy to understand and follow. Verbal communication skills help you collaborate and work with your team members to efficiently resolve issues and complete projects on time. Additionally, oral communication skills help you teach and share your knowledge with junior team members and new hires.

Related: Verbal Communication Examples In The Workplace (With Tips)

2. Organisation

Several IT careers are dynamic and require employees to simultaneously work on multiple projects and tasks. Being organised makes you more productive and efficient at work. Organisational and time management skills help you prioritise your daily responsibilities and complete various tasks on time.

3. Analytical reasoning

Good analytical and reasoning skills help you find logical solutions to workplace issues and challenges. These skills can help you analyse the pros and cons of different solutions and identify the right one that yields the best results within a short timeframe. Some examples of analytical abilities in an IT workplace include creating and reading pivot tables in a spreadsheet, identifying key performance indicators, eliminating outliers from data sets and predicting business trends accurately.

4. Creativity

Though IT is a technical role, creativity is a valuable talent for IT professionals. It helps you create and develop innovative products and processes or develop smart solutions to existing tech problems. Using technology creatively can help you fulfil a specific business need or create an innovative solution that adds business value to your company.

5. Project management

It is common for IT professionals to multitask between multiple projects and responsibilities. Good project management skills help you set and reach goals, meet deadlines and achieve benchmarks. Having excellent project management skills gives you an advantage when applying for a promotion or leadership position.

Related: 19 Essential Project Management Skills To Master

6. Perseverance

Perseverance helps you remain successful even as you face new challenges in the workplace. It is a crucial soft skill for IT professionals as it gives you the motivation to keep on trying until you find a feasible solution to complex challenges. Several technical roles require candidates to exhibit other positive traits like self-growth and independent learning.

7. Resourcefulness and curiosity

As IT is a fast-changing field, being resourceful and innately curious keeps you ahead of your peers, giving you a significant advantage in your career. Being resourceful helps you identify new tools that enhance your productivity and ensure that you meet all objectives on time. Having a curious mind is a massive advantage in the workplace as it helps you learn new technologies and keep yourself updated.

How to develop IT soft skills

Like other technical skills, you can develop soft skills with practice and training. Here are a few steps that you can follow to hone your soft skills and be more efficient and productive in the workplace.

1. Prioritise which skills you want to work on

Numerous soft skills help you in an IT workplace, and working on them all at once can be challenging. So, it is crucial that you choose one or two soft skills and focus on them at a time. If you are unsure which skills are essential, you can get feedback from team leaders, supervisors or peers and create a list of the critical skills that your workplace requires. Alternatively, reading the job description helps you identify the crucial soft skills for the role.

Related: 10 Best Skills To Include On A Resume (With Examples)

2. Set aside time to work on each skill

Developing a soft skill takes time and effort. Ensure that you set aside time in your busy schedule for practising these skills. For example, you can set aside 15 to 20 minutes daily to help you develop and learn these critical skills. If you have a busy schedule, you can utilise your weekends to focus on skill development.

3. Identify skill development resources

Here are some of the most popular ways to learn new skills:

  • Webinars and seminars: These online or offline programmes offer you coaching on a specific skill. Most webinars and seminars feature thought-leaders and industry veterans who are experts on a particular topic and provide you with actionable steps to improve a specific skill.

  • Videos and podcasts: Listening to podcasts or watching online videos is another excellent way to learn and strengthen soft skills. Videos and podcasts are great tools for visual and auditory learners who learn better when they can see or hear something.

  • Books and blogs: Several books and blog articles offer step-by-step guidance on developing soft skills. Look for blog articles and self-help books that provide actionable steps to hone a specific skill.

  • Curated content: It refers to subscriptions, journals, publications related to the skill you wish to acquire. Most curated content requires you to pay a subscription fee, and in return, you get specific tips and ideas on how to improve your desired soft skills.

  • Personalised coaching: If you wish to develop multiple soft skills, consider hiring a soft skill coach or joining a soft skill development programme. You can join customised programmes or coaching sessions tailored to your specific requirements, helping you reach your goals quickly.

4. Be open to feedback

Being open to receiving feedback from team leaders, managers and peers help you hone your soft skills. Consider any feedback as constructive criticism and use it to refine your skill-set. For example, if your team leader notes in your appraisal that your written communication skills could be better, you can take a course on how to write efficient emails and reports for work. While receiving feedback, thank the individual offering it and develop a plan to improve and learn.

Related: How To Provide Constructive Criticism In The Workplace

5. Move out of your comfort zone

If you wish to develop new skills, then it is vital that you move out of your comfort zone and take up additional responsibilities and challenges. For example, if you are working on developing public speaking skills, then volunteer to deliver the project presentation. Place yourself in challenging professional tasks that help to showcase your potential and dedication to the job to your team leaders and managers.

6. Observe others at work

One of the best ways to improve your soft skills is observing your peers, managers and supervisors. Everyone in the workplace has their own set of hard and soft skills. Notice how they complete a task, interact with others and use their strategies to improve your skills. Copy the best practices of others and include them in your working style.

7. Practice what you have learnt

It is critical that you practise soft skills regularly to make them a part of your daily routine. Ask a colleague or friend to practice skills with you. For example, if you wish to improve verbal communication in the workplace, ask a colleague or friend to have interactive conversations with you to test your ability. You can even role-play different situations with peers to test your verbal communications skills in different scenarios.

8. Monitor your progress

Besides training and practising, it is essential to measure your progress regularly. The easiest way to track your progress is to get regular feedback from your teammates and supervisors. For example, you can ask your project manager to provide you with monthly feedback on your presentation skills, helping you measure your progress and identify areas for improvement.

Explore more articles