Soft skills are increasingly important for IT workers to possess, but difficult for companies to find. Hiring managers continue to have a hard time finding qualified candidates with skills in communication, teamwork, problem-solving, critical observation, and adaptability.
The importance of soft skills in recruiting tech talent and corporate training was the topic of a recent Trilogy enterprise webinar, “The Lifelong Learner: Why You Shouldn’t Overlook Soft Skills in Your Workforce Development.” Here are some highlights:
Not a specific path but rather a fluid person
Beth Loeb Davies, former director of learning and development at Tesla, starts the webinar with a simple yet thought-provoking question: If learning and development were invented today, what would it look like?
Her answer centers around re-focusing on individuals: how employees need to be continually reskilling or upskilling and what they need in their career paths, which are no longer linear.
“Careers have fundamentally changed,” she says. “The role now is not to define a specific path, but it is to give employees ways to develop skills that are going to be transferable so they can be more fluid as they move through their careers.”
In addition to identifying emerging hard skills, Beth urges webinar attendees to focus on transferable soft skills that remain valuable through their careers regardless of their roles. “Leaders are no longer defined by having direct reports. People at all levels are being called to lead a team or a meeting, or to influence others.”
What is expected and what is necessary
Ricardo Madan, vice president, technology products and services, at TEKsystems Global Services, reinforces the value of investing in soft skills that can last a lifetime and give organizations a competitive edge.
Throughout his more than 20-year career in IT, he believes the current democratization of technology is unprecedented, resulting in lines of business making real-time decisions on how technology gets consumed, how it will differentiate a business, and how it will drive faster market adoption of products, goods, and services.
“Having excellent technical merit is now expected,” he says. “Instead, it’s about the ability to understand how an organization works, the ability to communicate, read a room, and more.”
Accelerate your team’s development
“The stereotypes around soft skills for IT professionals no longer exist,” says Ricardo. “Increasingly what sets our best engineers, architects, leaders, and project managers apart are their soft skills.”
Jamie Farrell, the chief business officer at Trilogy Education, rounds out the webinar with a presentation that includes research from LinkedIn and Burning Glass Technologies about the demand for specific soft skills. She also details why our Talent Accelerator program puts such a strong focus on soft skills training.