Soft Skills for the IT Professional

For most technology professionals, working with hardware, software, and data is the easy part. Their challenge is dealing with clients, peers, and management while meeting timelines and financial goals. To thrive in an IT professional career, you will need excellent technical capabilities along with an exceptional set of soft skills. IT leadership is now placing more emphasis on soft skills: adaptability, problem-solving, and communication effectiveness.

Soft Skill: Adaptability

The pace of change is ever-increasing for businesses.  Employees who become adept at learning new skills and managing change will get ahead in their field. Instead of resisting, morph with the shifting priorities and challenges. Embrace the change and showcase your ability to adapt to new situations. Stay ahead of the curve through research on what is happening within your area of expertise. Join LinkedIn groups, associations and participate in on-line industry-related podcasts & webinars.

Macro photo of tooth wheel mechanism with arrows and OLD WAY, NEW WAY; concept of change
I.T. professionals need to be adaptable and agile.

Soft Skill: Problem-Solving

Be strategic in highlighting your problem-solving capabilities. When you log an accomplishment, instead of: “Debugged and released the RFID handhelds.” Tie your accomplishments to an organizational goal or bottom-line strategy. Your written accomplishment should look more like this: “Personally developed, tested and released software used in three new in-field handheld devices applications allowing real-time capture of product movement through RFID technology.  This solution reduced shipping errors and eliminated the last paper-based stages to the logistics chain, resulting in a 5% reduction in inventory carry costs system-wide.”  The key to expanding upon your problem-solving abilities is affirming your comprehension of the objective and mastery of the solution through your attention to detail.

A Symbol for finding a solution. Dice and a light bulb form the word "SOLUTION".
I.T. professionals are excellent at problem-solving

Ultimate: Communication

Strong communication skills are key in today’s workplace. As organizations become more connected with an increased focus on collaboration and social tools, being able to communicate effectively is more important than ever. Strong verbal skills, partnered with attentive listening, is vital. Listening and asking probing questions is part of effective communication. When asked to pull data, be sure to ask the purpose so you can present the results in a way that offers a complete view of the information for the person who requested it. Utilizing strong communication skills will result in improved team building, conflict resolution and superior negotiation capabilities.

Confident male boss leader in eyeglasses explaining project details to new female employee at meeting.
Continuous effort towards improving communication skills will always pay off.

Never underestimate the importance of soft skills. I.T. professionals may be hired for their technical skills but may lose their position due to a lack of soft skills.  It is worthy of consideration, the IT research resources available to improve your soft skills at SIM (Society for Information Management)

Check out Mantek Solutions jobs where you can put your excellent technical and soft skills to the test.

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