11 Important Soft Skills For Software Developers To Improve

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 June 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.

To be successful in the technology industry, you require various soft skills along with technical skills. Software developers use soft skills to work efficiently and productively with their colleagues. If you are interested in a software development career, learning about soft skills and how they apply in the workplace can help you prepare for the job.

In this article, we define soft skills for software developer, glance at 11 examples and how they apply in the workplace, explore a few tips to improve them, and discuss how to showcase these skills during your job search.

What are soft skills for software developer?

Soft skills for a software developer are the attributes that enable professionals to coordinate well with people in their work environment. These skills are equally important as technical abilities, such as writing code and creating user interfaces. Soft skills complement technical skills by allowing one to identify the needs of team members and organise ideas for developing programmes.

11 Important soft skills for software developer

Here are some of the most common soft skills for software developers:

1. Communication

Communication is a central part of the software development process. Developers may collaborate with engineers and stakeholders and it is critical for them to communicate about their project's progress. Following are some major types of communications that developers often employ:

  • Interpersonal communication: This involves one-on-one interactions where software developers adjust their communication style according to the individual. For example, when speaking with a colleague using a technical vocabulary whereas using simpler terms when speaking with a client.

  • Active listening: As a software developer, you require active listening to understand clearly workplace interactions. This requires focusing on what the speaker is saying and using non-verbal indicators like nodding to convey that you understand what they are saying.

  • Public speaking: Software developers may conduct presentations when planning or developing a new product. Speaking clearly and using easy-to-understand language are two important parts of good communication.

2. Creativity

It is critical for software engineers to consider novel approaches to the development process. They employ innovative practices to create products that appeal to users and align with the client's requirements. Creativity can also help differentiate the product from the competitors.

Read more: Creative Thinking: Definition, Development And Advantages

3. Problem-solving

When software developers perform troubleshooting on their products to ensure they function properly, their problem-solving abilities help them easily find and correct technical faults. Typically, software developers assess their work and develop useful potential solutions. For instance, if the programme does not perform as expected, developers can examine the code to find out the root of the problem and run an application to improve the software's speed.

Related: Problem Solving Questions For Interview (With Examples And Tips)

4. Patience

As the software development process can be long and complex, these professionals require patience. Patience can assist developers in maintaining their productivity and producing high-quality work. Patience also helps in improving workplace interpersonal relationships.

5. Adaptability

Adaptability refers to the capacity to adapt to changing conditions. User needs and technology keep changing with time, thus requiring a rethinking of the development process. Adaptable professionals can adjust their techniques and performance standards to suit changing conditions.

6. Negotiation

After developing an application's design plan, software engineers may negotiate to align their objectives with their stakeholders and clients. For example, clients may have specific expectations, while organisational leaders may have limited resources to complete the project. Developers can negotiate with senior management for a larger budget or with clients for less stringent deadlines to ensure that their work satisfies all parties involved.

Related: Negotiation Skills: Definitions, Benefits And Examples

7. Self-awareness

Although positive input from coworkers is valuable, self-awareness allows software developers to evaluate their professional characteristics independently. They can identify areas where they excel and those that may require improvement. Self-awareness can also assist them in developing their confidence, allowing them to take more initiative in the job and continue to improve their competence.

8. Collaboration

When software developers work in a cohesive team, they require efficient collaboration with their coworkers. Software design and testing often require the expertise of multiple specialists, such as a software engineer and user interface (UI) designer. Developers that embrace cooperation form a great working relationship with their coworkers and managers.

Related: Collaboration Skills: Definition, Benefits And Examples

9. Time management

Often projects have deadlines for the various milestones. To meet those deadlines, software developers require efficient time management. Time management can entail developing a project plan for the entire development process, where developers schedule days for job completion and review meetings for completing projects on time.

10. Leadership

Leadership is a critical soft skill for software developers interested in becoming managers or leading a team on a project. As a leader, you may be accountable for:

  • resolving workplace conflict

  • mentoring new members of the team

  • measuring the performance of team members

  • delegating tasks to team members

  • making challenging decisions

Related: 12 Ways To Build Leadership Strategies At The Workplace

11. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence refers to how you respond to difficult events at the job. With a high level of emotional intelligence, you can maintain your composure when unforeseen situations, like budget overruns or shifting customer needs are risking the success of your project. You can stay firm in case of professional obstacles and remain focused on the organisation's objectives.

Software developer soft skills in the workplace

Here are tips for demonstrating your soft skills in a workplace as a software developer:

Finding creative solutions

You can combine your creativity and problem-solving abilities to find creative solutions. Efficient troubleshooting and observation can uncover a previously unknown technical fault. You can use your problem-solving skills to explore the issue, ask for peers' help and plan a strategy to resolve the issue.

Adapting to the work environment

You can stay productive even in unexpected situations by combining ingenuity and adaptability. For instance, when a business reorganises its budget for a project, you can apply your creativity to find cost-effective strategies to incorporate into their plans, thus adapting to changes within available resources.

Communicating clearly

Effective communication is a critical component of teamwork in the workplace. You can accept divergent viewpoints and overcome group disagreements. For instance, if many developers have different views on which user-interface to use, you can communicate their concerns and agree on how to proceed with the project while respecting everyone's viewpoints.

Using emotional intelligence

An emotionally intelligent leader has the potential to have a positive influence. Your team members may look up to you as a manager for guidance when a problem arises. You can maintain a pleasant mindset and professional environment for your team despite difficulties.

How to improve software developer soft skills?

To improve your soft skills for a software developer position, you can consider the following techniques:

1. Identify the areas to improve

Consider your performance at work and list the skills you wish to develop. For instance, you may discover that you require additional training in public speaking or want to learn how to approach the development process more creatively. Knowing which abilities you want to improve allows you to concentrate your efforts in the right direction.

2. Practise soft skills

Strengthening your soft skills often requires regular practice. Look for occasions to put your abilities to the test. For instance, if you want to improve your problem-solving skills, take on a tough assignment and analyse your ability to manage disagreements. If you want to enhance your time management skills, you can begin by recording your job responsibilities in a planner and track how much time you spend on each task.

3. Ask for feedback

An honest assessment of your soft skills by a coworker or mentor can assist you in determining actual progress. You can request an evaluation of your workplace performance from a coworker. Often, coworkers can offer constructive feedback and suggestions on how to improve.

Ways to highlight your soft skills for a software developer job

Here are a few ways you can highlight your skills in the hiring process:

On a resume

Hiring managers often look at your resume to better understand your qualifications. Review the job description to discover what specific skills the employer is looking for in a candidate and then include them in your resume's skills section and career objective section. If the job description specifies that the candidate requires working effectively with others and leading monthly company meetings, you can include public speaking and teamwork as soft skills.

In a cover letter

If an employer asks you to include a cover letter with your application, you may use it to describe the soft skills that make you a good fit for the role. In your letter, emphasise your strengths and give examples of how you have used them in your past job. For example, you can write about how you met the preferences of your colleagues while delegating project responsibilities and encouraged them to advance professionally.

During a job interview

You can use the interview answers to demonstrate your soft skills and give examples of how you have used them in the field. Ensure the interviewer understands the circumstance and your contributions by being specific and providing important context. You can also talk about how you have worked to develop your skills over time, demonstrating that you are open to feedback and willing to learn.

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