In fact, 200,000 jobs were added in 2017 in the United States alone. Industry growth isn’t looking like it will slow down anytime soon, so if you’re interested in getting in on the action, now is the time to prepare.
One skill area the tech industry needs desperately is people skills. Beyond knowing the technical skills required, people skills and emotional intelligence are rare and valuable commodities in technical fields. Here are 5 of the most valuable “soft” skills you can develop that could potentially push you past the people who only focus on their technical skills.
Tech founders and employees may be brilliant. They may be innovative and hardworking. But they’ll only get so far without effective leadership. Unfortunately, many people have no idea how to be a good leader, especially younger leaders. Baby Boomers are retiring, and Millennials, which will make up the majority of the workforce in the next few years, aren’t being trained to replace them. 63% of Millennials say their leadership skills aren’t being developed—over half!
Good leaders make everything better. They facilitate communication, support employees, and usually increase both morale and productivity. If you want to get into tech, developing your leadership skills is a great way to get hired.
Communication is a broad skill. It applies to just about every interaction we have with another person. Poor communication can directly or indirectly cause lots of problems in the workplace. Managers not being able to clearly communicate expectations, people gossiping, teams refusing to collaborate, or dishonesty—it all lands under poor communication.
Improving your communication skills can mean you are more productive because you don’t waste time on misunderstandings. You’ll be able to clearly communicate your value in the interview and you’ll be more effective once hired. Being a good communicator can reduce frustration for both yourself and others.
3. Conflict Resolution
Workplace conflicts are common—and upsetting. The worst part? Very few people know how to resolve them without upsetting everyone further. Mastering the art of conflict resolution can help you be more effective and well-liked in any tech office. It could also help you land a better position and become a leader within the industry. The best part? Being skilled in conflict resolution means you’ll spend less time stressing about your colleagues.
One big area needing conflict resolution: diversity. The tech industry isn’t known for being welcoming to women and minorities who get hired. Mindfulness about the cultural background of who you’re talking to can help organizations become more diverse, welcoming, and successful. It’s important to be willing to speak up, especially as diversity in the United States grows. As of 2016, 14% of the population was foreign-born, and many of these residents have a lot to offer the tech industry.
Are you afraid to think big? Innovation is a key skill tech companies are looking for. They rely on big thinking, risk-taking, and new ideas. Some businesses have even been on the brink of ruin, but innovation has brought them back to life. Just think of Hostess, which was brought back to life after new owners brought in their modern outlook. If you want to get hired, you need to be willing to take those kinds of leaps.
Developing this skill isn’t something you do overnight, however. You can start small by taking little risks. Try something new, and see what happens. Do some brainstorming sessions on problems you’re having. Is there a new solution you hadn’t thought of before? That’s innovation.
This might seem like a surprising skill for the tech industry, but the overall lack of creativity in the tech industry is the reason they need it so badly. Sometimes, ironing out tech or personnel problems takes some creativity. Growing a tech company is tough, and organizations need to be able to adapt and lead to stay relevant. Having a staff of creative people who are willing to tackle challenges in an unexpected way is key.
Soft Skills Grow Businesses
At the end of the day, tech companies can’t survive without a combination of hard and soft skills. Hard skills bring the product or service to life, but soft skills nurture and sell that product. Companies that want to innovate, create an appealing culture, and advance their success are looking for people with these soft skills. These smart tech companies are the ones you want to work for.
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