When people think about pursuing a career in information technology (IT), they tend to focus heavily on the technical skill requirements related to the position. But where do soft skills in IT fit into the equation?
Soft skills in the IT industry are crucial because while your technical prowess may get you the job, your ability to master those skills are what will keep you there.
The IT landscape is vast, and the opportunity to flex your soft skills muscles in the field are plentiful. Above and beyond the requisite hard skills, employers in IT are looking for candidates with the interpersonal skills capacity to thrive within their organizations.
Though there are a variety of soft skills in IT that you’ll need in your arsenal, let’s touch on seven of the most universal.
Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving & Decision-Making
Problems are inevitable in the world of technology. From errors in coding to flawed prototypes to viruses running amok, numerous incidents surface daily that will call on your ability to “figure things out.” Your team will rely on you to aid in critically analyzing and assessing situations, providing viable solutions and making decisive moves as needed for forward movement in the process.
Adaptability, Creativity & Innovation
Change is constant in IT. With the ever-evolving updates in hardware and software, what was new and improved just six months ago is ancient news now. With its pervasively competitive environment, your adaptability skills will be challenged at every turn, requiring you to shift, pivot and reassess at a moment’s notice.
Along with adapting, you’ll be tasked with keeping abreast of trends and always remaining ahead of the curve. Therefore, creativity and innovation are crucial to your success in the field. Effective brainstorming, thinking outside the box and pushing the envelope will become your norm as you continue to help push technology into unchartered territory to remain the last man standing (at least for the moment) in the race for technological excellence.
Communication & Collaboration
Information technology often conjures up the image of someone sitting in solitude behind a computer screen, but this person is only one cog in the giant machine that is IT. As a team member, you’ll be responsible for communicating with others to ensure that the job gets done.
Whether you work in a traditional office setting or remotely, communication and collaboration drive (or prevents) productivity. From phone calls to emails to team communication tools like Slack, your oral and written communication capabilities and ability to serve as a cooperative team player will play a role in your team’s ultimate success (or failure). Also, should you decide to move into an IT management role, your ability to communicate with your team sets the tone for how they communicate and work with each other.
Your Challenge: Which soft skills in IT do you need to improve upon? Write them down, and explore opportunities to sharpen them to set yourself up for success.