What skills do you need to be a software developer?
The programming languages you are familiar with, your coding abilities, and the skills required to architect and implement applications are likely the first things that come to mind. To put it another way, technical or hard skills.
However, it is easy to overlook the soft skills required to be a software developer. These range from problem-solving and analytical abilities to leadership and critical thinking abilities, among other things.
Interpersonal skills, on the other hand, are among the most important soft skills you can have. These abilities enable you to communicate effectively with teammates, clients, and other stakeholders. And, as you are aware, all of these are essential in your role as a software developer.
What are Interpersonal Skills?
Let’s start with an explanation of what interpersonal skills are.
Interpersonal skills are the abilities that one employs when interacting and communicating with others, such as friends, family, and coworkers. Because of this, they are frequently referred to as “people skills” or “life skills.”
Perhaps the best way to demonstrate these people skills in greater depth is to examine some examples of effective interpersonal skills.
Emotional intelligence (EQ)
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage your emotions, as well as perceive and deal with the emotions of others, both individually and in groups. In general, having higher levels of emotional intelligence allows you to better manage your emotions and deal with stress. And what software developer doesn’t experience stress?
However, emotional intelligence does not end with better stress and emotional regulation. It also includes empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation as subsets of skills. Some of these are particularly relevant to software developers.
Higher emotional intelligence leads to greater self-awareness, which allows you to better identify your flaws. And if you can do that, you’ll be able to put in place the necessary strategies to improve.
Communication abilities can be broadly classified into three categories:
- Verbal communication
What you say and how you say it are both aspects of verbal communication. This is frequently the foundation of effective communication and conveying your message to others.
- Nonverbal communication.
Nonverbal communication is just as important as verbal communication when it comes to effective communication. In this situation, your gestures, tone of voice, and body language can either reinforce or undermine the message you’re attempting to convey.
Communication does not occur solely on one side of a conversation, correct? As a result, listening skills are essential when it comes to communication skills. You’ll actually spend up to 45% of your time listening.
More about improving your communication skills you can read in our blog post about it.
As a software developer, teamwork is probably one of the most important skills you can have. It includes how you collaborate with others in formal settings such as meetings as well as more informal project chats.
It can refer to how you work as a team towards a common goal and how you collaborate in software development. Effective teamwork can increase efficiency, creativity and innovation.
Dependability and Responsibility
As a software developer, you must accept responsibility for any new tasks assigned to you. In other words, you must know what to do and when to do it. As a result, your colleagues, teammates, and other stakeholders should be able to rely on you to complete the work on time.
To put it another way, you must be dependable. When you are reliable, you see new, often complex tasks through to completion, no matter how difficult they are.
Reliability not only ensures that you, as a software developer, will deliver high-quality work within any agreed-upon time frames, but it also makes you a valuable member of the team.
Leadership skills are essential, especially if you are a more senior software developer. Why? You’re more likely to end up in charge of a group. Leadership is typically defined as a subset of other skills used to effectively lead a team. These include organizing, planning, risk management, decision-making, and problem-solving abilities.
Aside from these, excellent emotional intelligence, communication, empathy, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills are required to be an effective leader. With these skills under your belt, you’ll be able to effectively lead any team to deliver high-quality software based on the needs and requirements of a specific client.
Negotiation and persuasion skills
Negotiation and persuasion skills are frequently considered a subset of communication skills, but they are so important that they deserve to be considered as separate interpersonal skills. This is especially true for programmers.
They will enable you to not only persuade other team members of the best course of action, but also to find common ground where there are differences. This, in turn, leads to the best solutions for a problem that take into account each team member’s ideas and proposals.
Conflict resolution skills
Negotiations will not always go smoothly, and you will have to deal with disagreements and conflict. This is not always a bad thing, as opposing viewpoints can lead to novel solutions to problems and, as a result, better software. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
This is where conflict resolution skills come into play. These abilities enable you to positively resolve conflict while maintaining valuable relationships. Conflict resolution skills are a subset of skills that include mediation abilities, the ability to communicate in difficult situations, and the ability to deal with feedback and criticism.
You might be thinking right now that decision-making isn’t an interpersonal skill. After all, you make your own decisions and must deal with the consequences of those decisions.
The thing is, your decisions have an immediate impact on those around you. This is especially true when working as part of a group. Consider this: you must make decisions regarding the code you write, the features you include in a product, and how the team will work towards the goals, among other things.
Tips for improving interpersonal skills
Now that we’ve seen some examples of interpersonal skills and where they might be useful as a software developer, let’s look at some ways to improve them.
Make goals for yourself.
Setting concrete goals for yourself is the first step in improving your people skills. Here, you’ll need to carefully consider all of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as decide which specific skills you want to improve. Based on these objectives, you will be able to implement the necessary strategies for improvement.
Make your point.
It is critical that you concentrate on being clear in your communication with others, whether verbal or nonverbal. It’s simple: communicating clearly with a team member, client, or other stakeholders eliminates the possibility of misunderstandings and allows you to get your message across every time.
Give people context and background information, structure your messages clearly, and include deadlines as needed.
Be eager to learn.
Being open to learning from others is one of the best ways to improve your interpersonal skills. Remember that almost everyone you interact with has something to teach you, whether they’re a colleague, a client, or even management.
Be ready to listen.
You’ve probably heard that there’s a distinction between hearing and listening. It is also critical that you learn and are willing to actively listen. You see, when you’re in a conversation, you’ll frequently begin preparing an answer to another team member’s or stakeholder’s point of view or question before they finish it.
As a result, you risk missing out on critical information, which could lead to misunderstandings. Conversely, if you listen to another person’s point of view, absorb it, comprehend it, and then respond, your response will be far more effective and relevant.
Remember that no one likes an arrogant software developer, which is why you should be able to handle feedback and constructive criticism. However, it is also critical that you remain humble in your interactions with others.
This not only keeps you from coming across as arrogant, but it also contributes to the overall success of your team.
Be prepared to speak up.
Being willing to speak up is one of the most important skills you can develop and work on to improve your interpersonal skills and interactions with others. As a result, you must be willing to express yourself, share your knowledge, and provide feedback to team members and stakeholders.
As a software developer, you must have excellent interpersonal skills in addition to excellent technical skills. These abilities will not only enable you to communicate effectively and efficiently with team members, customers, and other stakeholders, but will also enable your team to create better software.