Soft Skills: What are they and why do they matter?

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Soft skills

In this age of great technological advances and impressive inventions that have revolutionised the way we work, we are running the risk of ignoring one of the most important needs for employers: the development of soft skills. 

Soft skills are a set of behaviours, personality traits and work habits that can help people thrive, such as collaboration, critical thinking, perseverance and communication. Many organisations are starting to value these even more than technical knowledge. For example, according to a LinkedIn Global Talent Trends report from 2019, 89% of recruiters say that when an employee doesn’t perform, it’s usually due to a lack of soft skills.  

 

If you don’t believe us…

 

Try Walt Whitman, the great 19th century American poet and humanist. As he put it: “Nothing endures but personal qualities”. Soft skills are becoming increasingly important in a reality in which a large part of the production process is automated: Tomorrow’s professionals will have to do what a machine cannot

In a 2017 report, Deloitte stated that soft skills-based occupations will account for at least two-thirds of all jobs by 2030 and that hiring employees based on their soft skills could increase a company’s revenue by more than $90,000 on average.

Another report by McKinsey affirms soft skills are in progressive demand in the current job market and will continue to increase in demand.

The multinational IBM conducted a study among 5,800 executives in 50 countries to find out what skills business leaders would need in the coming years, and the conclusion was that these would have less to do with technological training and more to do with soft skills.

 

Soft skills can be learned

 

Soft skills are often seen as innate, like social skills, which are normally related to one’s own way of being rather than to what one has learned in class. But like emotional intelligence or social intelligence, they can be learned through practical exercises. A commitment to unlearning, constant learning and continuous evolution is key.  . 

Needless to say, it is also important for each individual to focus on personal growth and the improvement of professional skills based on our work needs and objectives, but for many experts, soft skills will be as important as hard skills when it comes to facing the challenges of a future marked by new technologies. 

People with soft skills contribute to improving well-being within companies, providing, among other things, optimism, motivation, communication and empathy, which translates into higher productivity and results.

 

The importance of soft skills in tech 

 

Interestingly, it is in the tech industry where the human component is becoming more important. This is why there is so much talk about emotional intelligence, the importance of communication, empathy, adapting to change and concepts such as resilience and self-motivation.

Karla Hart, Careers Coach at CodeClan, is no stranger to soft skills “Soft skills are what makes us uniquely human and are often seen as less important than showcasing technical ability. However, evidencing them is vital to achieve success in interviews and at CodeClan we focus a lot on self-reflection to help students build their self awareness which will support them to confidently articulate their unique strengths.”

 

Soft skills at CodeClan

 

In CodeClan we understand that our duty to our students is not limited to teaching them how to code if we want them to succeed in the real world. Our Careers team trains our students in the skills they need to find their first role and thrive in it. Our aim is to help them to find a job that is a great fit, and through CV workshops, mock interviews, and industry talks we help them discover what employers want and how to successfully apply. 

“I often say interviewing is a skill in itself. However, in saying that there is no right way to interview and it is not about fitting the mold of what you think you should be like. It is more about being the best version of yourself and confidently articulating your unique strengths whether that is quiet and capable or loud and enthusiastic or anything in-between.” said Karla.

Additionally in our ‘Careers week’, through a series of classes and workshops, we help students get the knowledge and confidence to pitch their new skills to employers, whether on their CV, LinkedIn, portfolio, job applications or in interviews.

 

Interested in getting involved?

 

If you’d like to pick up the skills needed to launch a career in software or data, we’re currently enrolling new students onto our Professional Data Analysis and Professional Software Development courses. Get started by joining us at our next coding workshop.

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