It’s one thing to be a talented engineer. It’s another to be a talented engineer who can work well with a team and communicate their ideas to untrained coworkers.
Becoming a professional in any industry requires a healthy combination of technical knowledge and social skills. Technical knowledge is commonly referred to as hard skills, while the interpersonal attributes associated with collaborative work are referred to as soft skills.
Honing and maintaining both hard and soft skills is essential to a long, successful, fruitful career in industries like software engineering and beyond. This article will break down both the hard and soft skills associated with software engineering to illustrate the importance of learning them simultaneously.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in software engineering, ALX Africa offers both an Introduction to Software Engineering programme, as well as a Software Engineering Plus programme for learners of all skill levels.
Hard skills in any industry refer to the techniques, abilities, and skill sets that someone has that are learned and can be demonstrated in a measured way. The simplest way to understand what is a hard skill is something that you can learn and improve on through practice. Teachable, measurable abilities like reading, writing, coding, or math fall into this category.
For software engineers, there are many specific hard skills that you must possess in order to be hired and excel in your field. These skills help software engineers navigate the dynamic and complex tech landscape they inhabit, while being the mechanism for their ability to innovate effectively.
Hard skills help software engineers develop robust and efficient software solutions. Without them, they could not be considered software engineers at all.
Some of the key skills that every software engineer should possess include the following:
While technical skills are crucial for software engineers to do their jobs properly, the development of soft skills are just as important. In highly-collaborative roles like software engineering, hard skills and soft skills tend to complement each other.
Soft skills are interpersonal skills and character traits that revolve around someone’s relationships with others. They are less focused on what a person knows, and more focused on who they are.
Some examples of soft skills that are useful for software engineers include:
By mastering key soft skills, you can, ideally, collaborate effectively with others, easily adapt to changing dynamics, and thrive in diverse work environments. When you combine soft skills with technical expertise, software engineers are best set up for success in their careers.
Learning software engineering is much more than just perfecting technical skills. Though those hard skills are essential to becoming a successful software engineer, there are a multitude of soft skills that are equally as important to master.
By combining both hard and soft skills, you can set yourself up for future success as a capable software engineer who is technically talented, with interpersonal skills to match.
ALX Africa offers software engineering programmes that focus on teaching learners both hard and soft skills together. Sign up for our Software Engineering Plus programme today and get a head start on becoming a tech professional.
Software engineers learn to be proficient problem-solvers and communicators. They know how to convey technical concepts and collaborate with diverse stakeholders to get their point across. They are adaptable and flexible, always embracing change and learning new technologies.
Other soft skills include teamwork and collaboration to contribute effectively in a team environment, time management, and organisation to efficiently manage projects and meet deadlines, attention to detail for accurate testing and debugging, continuous learning to stay updated with emerging trends, and emotional intelligence to navigate conflicts and foster positive relationships.
Coding is considered a hard skill. It is a technical discipline with specific rules and procedures that you can learn and improve upon as time goes on. An example of a soft skill would be your ability to communicate complex code to an untrained person on your team.