11 Important Soft Skills for Software Developers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 25, 2021

To be successful in the technology industry, you may need a variety of soft skills and technical aptitudes. Software developers use soft skills to work efficiently and productively with their colleagues during the development process. In this article, we list examples of software developer soft skills and explain how to showcase your abilities during your job search.

What are software developer soft skills?

Software developer soft skills are abilities that enable professionals to interact well with others in their work environment. As a software developer, it's important for you to have technical skills, such as writing code and designing user interfaces. Soft skills, however, enhance your technical abilities, allowing you to assess the needs of members of your team and organize your plans for designing programs.

Related: 10 Great Reasons To Be a Software Developer

Examples of software developer soft skills

If you're interested in becoming a software developer, you may use soft skills in your role, such as:

Creativity

As professionals build software, they use creative strategies to design technology that attracts users and satisfies clients. Creativity can also help technology stand out among competitors, which is why it's important for software developers to think of new ways to approach the development process.

Communication

Communication is an integral part of software development. Developers may work with engineers and stakeholders, and it's important for them to communicate their progress on their projects. Types of communication software developers might use include:

  • Interpersonal: Interpersonal communication involves one-on-one interactions, where software developers adjust their communication style depending on who they're speaking with. For example, developers may use more technical language when talking with a colleague and simpler terms when conversing with a client.

  • Active listening: In workplace interactions, it's necessary for software developers to listen to understand and respond appropriately. Active listening entails concentrating on what the speaker is saying and using nonverbal cues, such as nodding, to show you're comprehending the speaker's words.

  • Public speaking: As software developers design new technology products, they may need to lead presentations. Public speaking skills include projecting your voice and using clear pronunciation that's easy for the audience to comprehend. For a speech, you can also establish your credibility as a speaker and use visual aids to keep the audience engaged.

Adaptability

Adaptability refers to adjusting to new circumstances. For software developers, the needs of users and technology can evolve over time, requiring a fresh approach to design. Professionals that are adaptable can modify their building processes and performance standards to reflect changes.

Problem-solving

When software developers troubleshoot their products to make sure they work properly, problem-solving skills allow them to identify and fix technical errors. Software developers typically analyze their work and devise helpful solutions. For example, if the program functions differently as intended, developers may review the code to determine the source of the problem and install an application to enhance the software's performance.

Patience

The software development process can be long and complex, so it's necessary for developers to practice patience. Patience can help developers maintain their levels of productivity and continue to produce quality work. It may also be necessary for interpersonal relationships in the workplace. When working with other members of their team, software developers can use patience when training new personnel or waiting on manufacturers to deliver equipment, for example.

Self-awareness

While constructive feedback from colleagues may be helpful, self-awareness can enable software developers to review their professional qualities on their own. They can recognize areas where they perform well and areas where they need to improve. Self-awareness can also help them build their confidence as software developers, which can help them take more initiative in the workplace and continue to increase their competence.

Time management

Clients may impose deadlines for the submission of the final product, which is why it's necessary for software developers to manage their time effectively. Time management can include creating a schedule for the entire development process, where developers reserve days for completing their tasks and hold one another accountable for finishing projects on time.

Negotiation

Once software developers create a design plan for an application, they may use negotiating tactics to align their interests with those of their stakeholders and clients. For instance, clients may have certain expectations, and organizational leaders may only allocate certain resources to finish the project. Developers can negotiate a more extensive budget from upper management or less strict deadlines from clients to help ensure their work satisfies every party involved.

Collaboration

With cohesive teamwork, software developers can work productively with their coworkers to accomplish their tasks. Software design and testing may require the expertise of several professionals, such as a software engineer or user interface (UI) designer, and colleagues may have different work styles. Software developers who welcome collaboration can build positive workplace connections with their coworkers and managers, and they can learn from their colleagues.

Leadership

Leadership is an essential soft skill for software developers who are interested in becoming managers or leading a team on a project. As a leader, you may be responsible for tasks such as:

  • Mentoring new members of the team

  • Resolving workplace conflict

  • Making challenging decisions

  • Delegating tasks to team members

  • Measuring the performance of team members

Related: How To Become a Software Development Manager

Emotional intelligence

In a software developer position, emotional intelligence refers to how you respond to challenging situations in the workplace. With high emotional intelligence, you can remain calm when unforeseen circumstances, such as overspending budgets or changing client demands, can interfere with your project's success. You can also persevere through professional challenges and remain focused on achieving organizational goals.

How to improve software developer soft skills

To strengthen your soft skills for a software developer position, consider using the following techniques:

1. Identify the areas you need to improve

The first step to improvement is to recognize your strong skills and the areas where you can build. Reflect on your workplace performance and make a list of the abilities you want to enhance. For example, perhaps you discover you need to improve your public speaking skills, or you want to learn how to approach the development process more creatively. Knowing the specific abilities you need to strengthen can allow you to focus your efforts in the right areas.

2. Practice building your soft skills

Becoming stronger in your soft skills may include actively practicing them. Search for opportunities to test your abilities. For instance, if you want to become a better problem-solver, handle a complicated project and assess how you manage conflict. If you're interested in managing your time better, you can practice writing your job duties in a planner and tracking how much time you spend on each task. As you practice your abilities, it may be helpful to reflect on your performance and how close you are to reaching your goals.

3. Ask for feedback

An impartial perspective from a colleague or mentor can help you assess the levels of your soft skills. Ask someone that you work with to examine your performance in the workplace. Coworkers can provide constructive criticism on where you need to improve, as well as suggestions on what you can do to become a better software developer.

Software developer soft skills in the workplace

In a professional environment, software developers use various soft skills to perform well in their roles. For example, they practice self-awareness to track the quality of their work performance and ensure they're being an approachable manager or team member. Here are tips for practicing your abilities in a professional setting:

  • Find creative solutions to problems. Professionals can combine creativity and problem-solving skills. Suppose their troubleshooting presents a technical error they've never encountered before. With creative problem-solving, software developers can research the problem and ask for assistance from colleagues, determining a way to fix the error without negatively impacting their progress.

  • Adapt to changes in the work environment. Software developers can use a combination of creativity and adaptability to remain productive in an unexpected situation. For example, a company reassembles the budget for a project, which decreases the available funds for hardware. Developers can creatively search for cost-effective and quality equipment to use for their designs, adjusting to the change in the budget.

  • Practice patience when managing your time. A combination of patience and time management can help software developers complete their projects timely while staying organized. For example, a delay in the shipment of hardware may require professionals to be patient, while time management skills allow them to refine their schedule to account for the delay and reserve enough time to finish the task.

  • Communicate thoroughly when collaborating with coworkers. Effective communication is a significant part of collaborating with others in the workplace. Team members need to know how to welcome different perspectives and resolve group conflict. For example, if several developers have conflicting approaches on what user-facing technology to use, then they can communicate their thoughts and compromise on how to approach the task while respecting the opinions of their teammates.

  • Use emotional intelligence in your leadership style. An emotionally intelligent leader can be an impactful leader. Employees may look to you as a manager for what to do when a problem manifests. With emotional intelligence, you can maintain a positive attitude and professional setting for your team despite adversity.

How to highlight software developer soft skills

If you're interested in applying for software developer roles, then learning how to emphasize your soft skills can help you capture the attention of prospective employers. You can highlight your abilities in the following ways:

Software developer soft skills for your resume

Hiring managers read your resume to decide if you're qualified for the job, so it may be helpful to list your software developer soft skills on your resume. Consider reviewing the job description to find out what particular abilities the employer seeks in a candidate, and then incorporate them in the skills section on your resume. For example, if the posting states a preference for a candidate to work well with others and lead monthly assembly meetings, you can list public speaking and collaboration as soft skills you have.

Related: Software Developer Resume Samples

Software developer soft skills for your cover letter

Employers may require you to submit a cover letter with your application, which you can use to write about the soft skills that make you a good fit for your desired role. Emphasize your abilities and provide examples of you using them in your letter. For instance, if you can empathize well, you can write about how you addressed the needs of your teammates and encouraged them to grow professionally.

Related: How To Get a Job as a Software Developer

Software developer soft skills in the job interview

The interview is another opportunity for you to showcase your soft skills and cite examples of you practicing them in the field. Consider using specific language so the interviewer fully understands the situation and your contributions. You can also describe how you've worked to improve your skills over time, which can show the employer you're receptive to feedback and eager to learn.

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