The top 5 most desired soft skills for tech and IT roles
Though having solid technical skills for IT and tech roles is vital, employers are placing a greater emphasis on soft skills when hiring technical talent.
In fact, a West Monroe study stated that 78% of HR managers actively seek out tech talent who are blessed in the soft skills department. 67% have even held back a job offer because the candidate lacked the right soft skills for the role.
At RED Global, we’ve worked with over 12,000 tech and SAP employers around the world. So we thought it would be helpful to survey our internal consultants and see what top five soft skills employers want in a tech candidate.
Below you'll find an explanation of what soft skills are, why they're essential for tech and IT roles, what the top 5 most sought-after tech soft skills are, and some pointers to develop each soft skill.
What are soft skills?
While hard skills relate to your aptitude for fulfilling the technical requirements of a role, like coding or software development skills, soft skills relate more to the personality traits that make you successful in the workplace, like collaboration and communication skills.
Why are soft skills important?
Soft skills are important for technology-based roles because there's no point in knowing how to implement a new piece of technology if you don't possess the soft skills required to work efficiently as a team, communicate effectively, or adapt to challenges.
Employers are seeking tech and IT talent with a healthy balance of soft and hard skills, as both skill sets are critical to a new hire's success in the role and impact on the business long-term.
How to develop the five soft skills tech employers want?
Knowing how to develop and communicate your soft skills is crucial if you're currently on the hunt for your next career move in the SAP or tech space. But what key technology soft skills are employers looking for? Find the results of our internal consultant survey and tips for developing each soft skill below.
Our most requested soft skill, communication has many facets, but this skill mainly relates to your ability to communicate, listen, and comprehend information.
You might be able to "speak code". But how good are you at communicating complex technical ideas or data insights to colleagues in the budget department?
Sending emails, running client meetings, collaborating with colleagues, presenting your ideas, and listening to feedback are some ways you'll need good communication skills to successfully carry out your job.
Without good communication skills, you and your colleagues may miss important information leading to technical errors and projects that go awry. It may also lead to a lack of innovation because you couldn't adequately communicate your ideas with key stakeholders.
It’s no wonder almost every client requests this skill.
How to improve your communication skills
- Read this guide, "How to Improve Your Communication Skills in 5 Simple Steps"
- Read this guide, "4 Silent Exercises to Improve your Listening and Communication Skills"
- Read this book, "Effective Communication at Work: Speaking and Writing Well in the Modern Workplace"
- Read this book, "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual by Jon Sonmez"
- Read this book, "Shut Up and Listen: Communication with Impact"
- Watch this video, "How to Improve Communication Skills at Work"
- Watch this video, "How can we Improve Workplace Communication?"
- Complete this course, "Effective Communication in the Workplace"
2. Critical thinking
Critical thinking is evaluating information, data, ideas, and more to develop an objective, logical judgment or analysis.
A large part of your IT or tech professional work will be solving problems through developing and implementing technological solutions.
To effectively solve these problems, you must be able to think critically and make a fully informed decision based on the information you have.
Critical thinking enables you to see challenges from a different perspective and approach problems with a creative mindset, leading to innovative solutions - essential in the tech world.
How to improve your critical thinking skills
- Read this guide, "How To Improve Critical Thinking Skills at Work in 6 Steps"
- Read this guide, "How to Improve Critical Thinking Skills At Work – The Ultimate Guide!"
- Read this book, "Thinking, Fast and Slow"
- Read this book, "Bulletproof Problem Solving: The One Skill That Changes Everything"
- Read this book, "Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem–Solving and Decision–Making Skills"
- Watch this video, "Professional Development: Critical Thinking in the Workplace"
- Watch this video, "13 Easy Steps To Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills"
- Complete this course, "Thinking Critically"
Collaboration is the ability to work efficiently with your colleagues to achieve a specific business outcome or goal.
Having good collaboration skills is of the utmost importance in a tech workplace environment, as there will be very few technical projects you alone will manage from concept to completion.
It is often the case that tech staff achieve more when working together, as each project benefits from the experience, unique talents, and insights from several diverse professionals rather than one.
Collaborating with others on your team enables you to delegate tasks in a way that plays to people's strengths, minimizes information falling through the cracks, and helps keep your workflows running smoothly.
How to improve your collaboration skills
- Read this guide, "6 Ways to Improve Your Collaboration Skills"
- Read this guide, "5 Ways to Develop Your Workplace Collaboration Skills"
- Read this book, "Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos"
- Read this book, "Collaborative Intelligence: Four Influential Strategies for Thinking with People Who Think Differently"
- Read this book, "Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Build Common Ground, and Reap Big Results"
- Watch this video, "Collaborating at Work: The Collaboration Skills You Need to Succeed"
- Watch this video, "Professional Development: Collaboration in the Workplace"
- Complete this course, "Collaborative Working in a Remote Team"
Proactive is the opposite of reactive. So instead of taking action after something has happened, being proactive is about taking action before something happens.
In a tech workplace setting, being proactive means looking for opportunities to excel and going for them without being told to do so. Proactive individuals don't wait for instructions; they know what needs to be done and do it.
Proactiveness is an essential soft skill for tech and IT roles because it means you can self-motivate, work on your own initiative, and require less "management."
Being proactive fosters a more productive work environment, resolves minor issues (before they become more complex problems), encourages innovation, and produces faster results.
How to become more proactive
- Read this guide, "5 Ways Successful People Are Proactive At Work"
- Read this guide, "How to be more proactive at work and in life"
- Read this guide, "25 Tips on How to be Proactive at Work"
- Read this book, "The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!)"
- Read this book, "How to Become a Proactive Person"
- Watch this video, "The Secret To Being More Proactive At Work"
- Watch this video, "How to Switch To a Proactive State from a Reactive One"
- Complete this course, "Master the Art of Proactive Thinking and Taking Action at Work"
Adaptability is one of the most critical soft skills in the tech industry, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. It's the ability to respond positively and quickly to changes in circumstances and stay agile.
In most tech and IT projects, certain elements will not go as planned or require amendments. As a tech candidate, you must be able to show how well you respond to these changes.
Another aspect of adaptability is how well you react to changes in the tech and IT landscape, from evolving consumer demands to innovations in the industry.
Digital transformations are in constant flux. That's why adaptability is such a desirable soft skill, as it shows you can move with the times instead of against them.
How to become more adaptable
- Read this guide, "6 Ways to Develop Adaptability in the Workplace and Embrace Change"
- Read this guide, "4 Ways To Boost Your Adaptability Skills"
- Read this guide, "What Are Adaptability Skills And How To Upgrade Yours"
- Read this book, "The Adaptation Advantage: Let Go, Learn Fast, and Thrive in the Future of Work"
- Watch this video, "3 Ways to Measure Your Adaptability - and How to Improve it"
- Watch this video, "Professional Development: Adaptability in the Workplace"
- Complete this course, "Flexibility and Adaptability in the Workplace"
Need help taking the next step in your tech career?
Want to learn more about what employers are looking for in tech, IT, and SAP candidates? Need help navigating your next career move in the tech space?
From acing interviews to brushing up on your soft skills, RED Global is here to support you throughout your career transition.
With strong ties to the world's leading tech and SAP companies and unrivaled knowledge of SAP, its associated technologies, and all the complexities of each role, you won't have to waste time telling us what you do - we already know.
Get incredible support from recruitment consultants who know SAP better than anyone else.
Register with RED to get started.
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