3 soft skills for software engineers and digital workers

18 days ago   •   3 min read

By Sylvain Reiter
Table of contents

If you're looking to enter a new career in a digital agency, or if you want to grow in your current role as a software engineer or web developer, you obviously need to be able to write code, write the tests and understand the data structure and algorithm principles.

However, more than those technical skills, I want to share with you today, the top three soft skills that I've seen in the best software engineers / developers I have hired and worked with for the last 15 years in my career of co-running a digital agency.

Why you need more than technical skills

Most things in this world rely on interactions between people to share an idea, execute it and improve it over time. Specifically in the digital world, we use technology to solve real life challenges: making our life better, our processes more productive... This is why the best engineers and software developers need to have those three soft skills.

Clear communication

The first is clear communication. We deliver most projects in a team, so you need to be able to give status updates and share your progress on daily stand-ups for example. You will need to articulate your challenges to highlight any blockers or explain why things might take longer... It applies to both oral communication to share progress, but also in a written format: it's very important. You need to be clear and concise in your writing so you're able to write good commit messages for example, or documentation.

Business acumen

The second soft skill is business understanding. As a digital producer, you are responsible to build something that works well technically, but also provides a good user experience for the end customer.

You might not always receive the full specs in granular details, therefore you need to think about how it will be used, what is the business goal behind it, or why did we ask to build that feature in the first place? I'm not saying that everyone needs an MBA, but you need to understand the basic commercials like how much is the client paying, and what is the actual value that you're producing.

Rigorous with processes

The third soft skill is being very rigorous with processes. In most teams, you will have a set of workflows and best practices that need to be shared between all team members. I know everyone is different and bringing their own skills, experience and personality... that's great. However, the underlying workflow should be consistent so everyone can gain efficiency and avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Of course, you need to be able to challenge those processes with your team if you think it can be done better, but don't do anything in isolation, just on your own!

These apply to all digital workers

Thinking about it, all of those three soft skills really apply to most roles in the digital world and could actually be extended to UX designers or digital marketers. It's the same concepts that apply: they also need to understand the value being produced for the clients, the end users and the overall business objectives.

I think in terms of communication, business acumen and rigorousness with the processes, these are the three things that everyone in the digital space should aspire to master.

That's it for today. On this blog, I will continue to explore best practices to deliver a better website, SaaS and web application portals using user-centered technology. This will help you make better decisions on your next digital project. If you have any questions, just get in touch. Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow me on Twitter to keep learning with me and grow your career in digital.

Until next time, stay safe and see you soon.

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