The greatest IT professionals — both contractors and full-time employees — are extremely skilled in their technical areas. Where the average professional is lost and confused with technology beyond MS Office, IT workers have an uncanny ability to create complex programs, fix the most confusing bugs, and organize data to provide intelligence that a business owner never thought was possible. Having these skills are the pillars to landing a lucrative tech gig, but as we’ve discussed many times in the Talent Development Centre, improving your soft skills will make you competitive in your search for IT jobs.
There are an unlimited number of soft skills out there that you can improve and deciding where to put your focus can be a daunting task. A recent contractor quick poll found that IT professionals want their co-workers to have good communication skills, emotional intelligence and time management. We also shared an infographic last year that gave more specific insight into what soft skills are most important for a Project Manager. For what should be a simple topic, when we dig into soft skills, it can easily get complicated.
Earlier this year, business consulting company West Monroe Partners conducted a study to answer questions about a soft skills gap in IT and what soft skills companies look for in technology candidates. You can download the complete report here, but if you’d prefer a good summary, InformationWeek summarized the top 10 findings:
- 98% of HR recruiters look for soft skills when hiring tech workers
- 81% of organizations ask business leaders to evaluate IT job candidates’ soft skills
- Most business leaders say IT pros’ soft skills are equal to or better than those of other departments
- Half of organizations use personality tests to assess soft skills
- Recruiters say IT job candidates are good at verbal communication
- HR recruiters say leadership is the least important skill for IT pros
- Organizations in NYC want flexibility and conflict resolution skills
- Older people want teamwork and flexibility; younger people want leadership and conflict resolution skills
- Male and female hiring managers look for the same soft skills
- Different industries have different soft skills requirements
What can we take from all of this? The good news is that if you’re part of the majority, your soft skills are exactly where they need to be! If you want to focus on something, flexibility and conflict resolution look to be the top priorities in IT hiring managers, where leadership is the least. It’s also worth keeping in mind that these priorities vary by industry.