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4 Soft Skills Every Tech Professional Should Have

4 Soft Skills Every Tech Professional Should Have
Credit: By SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock

When people think of technology careers, they think of computer-savvy people who can code, understand computer networks, run cable and have various other technical skills. Most overlook the importance of soft skills, which are important for any career.

Tech professionals not only need to be able to work well within their own teams, but also work well with other employees in the company that lack their understanding of technology. Harris Allied, a technology staffing placement company, recently conducted a survey about tech recruiting, hiring and retention in 2017. According to the report, here are fourof the most important soft skills in demand for the technology industry.

In a business setting, technology supports applications, which in turn support the business itself. Therefore, tech professionals need to be able to work well with all of the members of the teams they support for the business to run smoothly. Collaboration is particularly important when there appears to be a conflict of interest between the different teams. Working in a tech position becomes significantly easier if you have strong conflict resolution skills to be able to mediate tense situations.

"The only way to be effective in a company is to work collaboratively across all business lines," said Kathy Harris, founder of Harris Allied. "It's important not to work in isolation but to understand other teams' workflows."

The technology industry is rapidly changing. To thrive in this field you need to be able adapt to the new problems that arise with new technology and create solutions. Every year there are new computer viruses and new updates for software, and each of these new interactions come with their own unique set of exploits or malfunctions. Handling these challenges sometimes requires creative problem-solving skills that go beyond technical knowledge.

"Technology is about innovation, successful companies create their competitive advantage through innovation and as a result look for employees with creative problem solving skills," Harris told Business News Daily.

In any tech role, you will be interacting with people who do not have the same level of technical expertise as you. It's important that you are able to explain complex technical concepts in a digestible way for someone who doesn't have a that background. It is equally important that you can break down the potential business implications of a technology problem. Remember, technology is there to support business functions and whenever you interact with management, whether to get a budget for a project, request new equipment, etc., you need to be able to clearly explain the impact it will have on the business. 

As you move up the ladder in the company, you need to demonstrate the capability to effectively lead your team. This includes being able to see the strengths and weaknesses of your team members, and distribute the work to the person who can do the tasks the most efficiently.

You also need to be able to motivate your team members, settle disputes fairly and be able to accept a greater level of responsibility for your team's success. You may be placed in a situation where the internet isn't working, a business application is malfunctioning, or there's a security breach. You will be expected to able to walk into a room full of disgruntled employees and executives, take control of that situation, and solve the problem. To do this you need to have a strong constitution and a calm, analytical mind.

"Leadership raises the bar for the entire team," said Harris. "Strong technology leadership understands how technology can solve real business problems."

For workers looking to land a job in the technology field, Harris advised learning the business and industry, as well as the specific role and company you're applying to.

"Know the problem that you will be trying to solve and understand the business drivers and the competition," she said.

Shimon Brathwaite

Shimon Brathwaite is an undergraduate co-op student from Ryerson University, graduating in 2019 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce. Shimon has worked in information technology and the water sports industry in between academic semesters. He now works as a freelance contributor for Business New Daily and is looking to expand his clientele as a writer. His hobbies include a wide variety of sports such as Soccer, Basketball, Muay Thai and keeping up with TV series like The 100 and Game of Thrones. Contact him at sbrathwaite@ryerson.ca and check out his website at cyberintel.ca.

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