There are a lot of skills we need in life, and when it comes to our working lives, the ones we hear about needing the most are hard and soft skills. We also need functional skills, which are core English, math and ICT abilities.
Hard skills are fairly easy to quantify: if you’re a programmer and you can code in C++, Python and Java — bingo, there are three easy-to-define hard skills right there. Others could include UX design, project management, video editing, foreign language fluency or data analysis. They are essentially the things that underpin the “what” and the “how” of your job.
It is the soft skills which people often struggle with defining, and as a result can dismiss their importance. Where hard skills are the nuts and bolts that define a job, soft skills provide the glide to make your day-to-day easier. They are the communication, persuasion, presentation and problem-solving abilities that go hand-in-hand with your core competencies, and by combining the two sets of abilities, you can deliver a power-boost to your career.
This especially matters if you work in a technical role and want to avoid being siloed — developing your presentation or communication muscles can be a great way to move up the career ladder into a more senior role where face-time with leadership will be part of your role.
Soft skills may be even more important than previously thought. Corporate learning experts at Bellevue University have studied workforce requirements and come to the conclusion that in order to cope with the massive changes in requirements we are seeing, agility is key. Those with good soft skills will be drivers of this agility thanks to their ability to adapt and thrive regardless of what change may bring.
Their research has recognized a set of seven “Power Skills” which reflect their importance in workforce productivity and company competitiveness. They are problem-solving; decision-making; judgment; communication; self-management; collaboration and value-clarification.
But it isn’t always so easy to get companies to understand the value and importance of soft, or “power” skills. In fact, a study from Corporate Learning Solutions found that most current soft skills assessment relies on anecdotal evidence. Employee skills gaps are the widest around soft skills too, and this gap is getting worse.
That is despite the fact that employees who receive soft skills training also exhibit greater levels of productivity than those who aren’t trained — which in itself can be used as a lever to persuade management to put in place some training for soft skills in 2023.
If you would like to move to a role where you can put your power skills to the test, then we have three worth looking at below, as well as plenty more to discover on the VentureBeat Job Board.
The Senior Program Manager position requires a highly qualified professional who is innovative, organized and dependable. The ideal candidate will have strong technical experience and skills, an ability to manage expectations and relationships with a diverse set of stakeholders, flex between the strategic and the tactical, outstanding verbal and written communication skills, and a high level of energy and flexibility to get things done. You will need a Bachelor’s degree with five years’ of experience, with an MBA preferred. A solid track record in project management in software, SaaS and/or related industries is preferred and you will need strong listening, analytical, problem-solving and conflict resolution skills as well as the ability to communicate efficiently with executive-level leaders. Get the full job description.
Duolingo is the most popular language-learning application in the world, with over 500 million users. As an Android Software Engineer, you will be developing applications primarily in Kotlin and using the Android SDK. You will collaborate on software projects with product design and backend aspects, develop, release, and maintain native Android applications and lead individual project priorities and deliverables. You’ll need to have a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related technical field and strong competencies in data structures, algorithms and software design as well as programming experience in Java/Kotlin. Apply for the role here.
Siemens is seeking a DevOps Engineer for Siemens Smart Infrastructure. You will support standard design, maintenance, enhancement, testing implementation, and support of software, and drive exploration of new best practices in continuous integration and develop automated release tools meant to allow for continuous build and release processes. You will need a BS in computer science, a related field or equivalent work experience plus five years’ of overall DevOps experience in building and enhancing CI/CD pipelines and tools to deploy software and experience with CI/CD, Gitlab, and GitHub. Find out more about the requirements here.
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