When we think about software engineering, we tend to think about the technical skill set of the professional first. And this makes sense because the skill set defines the quality of work that the software engineer can perform-and make no mistake, quality comes above everything in software development.
However, there is more to the development process than just coding and creating useful features for customers. Software development requires a lot of contact and collaboration to create the foundation for top-notch web and mobile applications to be built upon and relies heavily on human factors.
Software engineers who understand the importance of having a developed set of soft skills usually make better professionals. Soft skills complement their technological knowledge, making these people stand out from the crowd of their peers. Soft skills do not replace professional experience and domain expertise, but they certainly increase the value of software developer in the professional environment and benefits career growth.
Creativity doesn’t just mean being able to paint or write poems, in fact, technical professions require a lot of creativity that we are not aware of. When it comes to finding solutions to complex problems or research and analysis - creativity is what makes us see the new ways of doing things. It gives us a new point of view, enhancing the capability to create, improve and see opportunities.
Creativity is a source of technological development and innovation. If we take it away from the software development equation, we’ll be left with nothing but sightless coding and following the existing patterns. In order to create something new and outstanding software engineers need to think outside of the box and practice creative approaches to standard problems.
Problem-solving is more of a cluster of skills, rather than just one thing that consists of technical aspects, like research and analysis, as well as common active listening and decision-making. It is a way of thinking that embraces the complexity of the situation and strives to find the most optimal solution to the problem.
It doesn’t mean going after a quick fix but finding the long-lasting option which takes user experience into consideration and aims to provide additional value to the end-user. Problem-solving doesn’t stop the minute you found the solution, it is the ability to look back and analyze the results that can be implemented and adjusted in the future.
Communication is the foundation of collaboration, the essential part of any software development project. Whether it is communication between team members or between the team leader and the client - it is the most important attribute of any engineering professional. It combines the ability to make yourself and your ideas clear to the listener, as well as to listen and hear theirs.
Communication often creates a breach for misunderstanding that can greatly hurt the project success and everyone involved. Software developers should never leave anything for guessing or assuming, making sure that both parties are on the same side about every aspect of the development process. Maintaining active, respectful, and empathetic communication is crucial for successful software development projects.
A short temper is not a useful trait in any kind of business, but in software development, it can add unnecessary pressure both on the developer and their client. When it comes to problems in communication, it is necessary to be able to see other’s point of view even if you think you know the best solution to the problem.
The technical part can present itself with bugs and complications in the process, which can be dealt with expertise and knowledge. Keeping in mind that software development requires a lot of testing and trying, it is common that the errors will appear, but that doesn’t mean that the product is bad - it only calls for revision and adjustments. Knowing this, it is easier to avoid overreacting when such an error presents itself.
To keep an open mind is to be able to receive and consider new information. In a world where technology is evolving with leaps and bounds and can be challenging to maintain the flexible and adaptive state of mind.
Being open-minded benefits critical thinking and reasoning, allowing you to acknowledge and analyze the different possibilities that you didn’t take into account in the first place. Besides that, it’s a humble trait of people who are ready to admit that they are not all-knowing and are ready to learn more and explore other possibilities.
Having mentioned constant changed in the world and evolving technology, it is important to add adaptability to this list of valuable skills. It means the ability to adjust your actions and change the course according to how the situation develops without experiencing any major setbacks.
The flexibility allows you to adapt to the changing environment and its requirements increase the value of the software engineer and make them more indispensable in the workplace. In general, flexibility and adaptability are valued high among employers and can be a significant advantage for professional growth.
Teamwork means much more than the actual collaboration in the team, which is an important part of the software development process. Teamwork refers to the ability to get behind the project and wholeheartedly invest yourself in the team's success and by the team, we mean every stakeholder involved - clients, designers, developers, management, end-users.
Engagement and involvement in the process, together with active participation, contribute to the timely and orderly delivery of the results while increasing the team’s morale and client’s satisfaction. Teamwork enables trust between the members, supports healthy debate and exchange of ideas in order to find an optimal solution, and creates an environment for the accountable and productive development process.
Combined together, these skills make good software engineers exceptional one and help them to stand out from the competition. It is important to remember that the software development process is not limited to coding but also involves creative brainstorming and problem-solving, lots of communication with people involved in the project, and integrative actions.