Do hard skills still shine brighter than soft skills in the IT world?

QA Community Lead Faray Castillo discusses how our new reality requires more soft skills to flourish and grow

Our world is no longer the same place it was before the pandemic. People no longer work together in the same office every day. This is why companies and their employees respond to this new work environment by developing their social skills to the same level as their analytical skills.

The IT world is an active, agile, and innovator-friendly business. This is why it always requires extra effort to keep up with the market’s needs and trends. Critical thinkers, problem solvers, and clear communicators benefit from higher productivity and more constructive collaboration. This is where soft skills are essential.

Developing soft skills can sometimes be an uncomfortable process because it requires a little self-reflection to know where our weaknesses are and how we can improve them or acquire new skills. After all, yes, soft skills can be learned. This can be tough, but it’s also a rewarding process. 

What are soft skills, and how can organizations facilitate soft skills development training?

Soft skills, commonly defined as non-technical skills, can range from communication and interpersonal skills like teamwork to personal character traits like time management and organizational aptitude.

The first step to start is to do a self-reflection. You won’t know how to improve or develop soft skills until you know which ones you need to put your effort into. For organizations, it’s necessary to encourage employees to reflect on the soft skills they’re already good at and to be honest with themselves about the skills that could need some extra work. Often, a combination of self-assessment and 360-degree feedback is the best way to identify employees’ soft skills gaps.

Some of the most common soft skills that organizations need to train their employees are time management, adaptability, communication, problem-solving, teamwork, critical thinking. An effective reskilling of this requires blended learning journeys that mix traditional learning, including training, digital courses, and job aids, with nontraditional methods such as peer coaching and constant motivation to encourage people to not only begin their soft skill learning journey but to continue with it.

It’s time to recognize that soft skills are just as valuable as hard skills now in the post-pandemic era. Without them, organizations’ workforce will bring issues like poor leadership, weak problem-solving, and specially miscommunication which is very important in these fully remote work times. Organizations must enhance and expand development initiatives for business longevity, and we start our own personal upskilling.