Though it’s essential for software engineers to have confidence in their abilities to use programming languages, create data structures, and test projects, these skills aren’t the only things to focus on for those who want to be professional software engineers.
Successful software engineers must have a number of other skills that stretch beyond the technical. Soft skills for software engineers are just as important to successfully complete a project as any technical knowledge.
Best Soft Skills for a Software Engineer
Honing your soft skills will give you an advantage whenever you’re looking for a job or starting to work with a new team, and there are quite a few good soft skills for software engineers to focus on. Skill development is an ongoing process, so there’s always a chance for you to identify new areas to work on.
Resilience enables you to recover quickly when you make mistakes and stay concentrated on your goals. It requires both mindfulness to handle stressful situations as well as the tenacity to stay focused on the task at hand and see it through to the end.
Resilience is vital to growth. Software engineers may face a great deal of adversity, so the ability to motivate themselves through trickier problems becomes critical. It’s important to learn from failure and adapt to new, future engineering challenges based on knowledge you’ve gained from your experiences.
Strong Work Ethic
Having a strong work ethic means you’re committed to the quality of your professional efforts. Those with a strong work ethic show up and accomplish their tasks, even if they have to shift or shimmy a bit if something comes up. They’re reliable, which is crucial in the workplace, and especially for software engineers. A strong work ethic grounds you, helping you make the right choices about how to work through what you have on your plate.
Not Afraid of Making Mistakes
Some people feel like they need to do everything right the first time, but perfectionism is not a synonym for “doing a good job.” Sometimes making mistakes is a fundamental part of growth, and getting better at a job as demanding as software engineering means your mistakes are learning opportunities.
Not being afraid to make those mistakes means you create more learning opportunities for yourself throughout your career, and you gain the skills to solve new, difficult tasks more efficiently. Having the flexibility and confidence to address issues allows you to expand a project’s scope, where necessary, and improve its delivery.
Having the confidence to build your ideas, whether they ultimately work out or not, can also help build morale in terms of learning and challenging yourself.
Collaboration and Teamwork
Teamwork and collaboration are important interpersonal skills for software engineers. Given that software engineers often work together to design, build, and test complicated software, it’s important that everyone’s on the same page about each person’s role and what the ultimate goal is. Team members must be able to collaborate toward a common objective.
Sometimes there’s a learning period where you become accustomed to everyone’s strengths and working styles, but the real skill comes in learning how to leverage each member’s strengths to achieve success as a team.
Teams are built on respect, trust, and supporting one another, which heavily relies on your ability to collaborate and communicate.
Ability to Cope with Rejection
Software engineers often face rejection throughout their careers. It might be during the interview process for a new job, at the final stages of being a candidate, or maybe somewhere along the line with a project they’ve completed for a client. Either way, it’s important to see these moments as learning experiences and stepping stones for continuing to build their careers.
Those who can embrace rejection and treat it like any other learning opportunity are setting themselves up for success.
If you decide to pursue software engineering, you may face a number of setbacks. You may encounter bugs in your code, receive critical feedback from an interviewer or coworker, or otherwise need to return to the drawing board. Learning how to cope with rejection can help you become a better problem solver.
How to Develop Software Engineering Soft Skills
Developing software engineering soft skills is simply a matter of practice and actively working at it. Some of these skills can be difficult to learn on their own, but may be easier in a workplace or through a professional development course.
Here at App Academy, we focus on these soft skills as well as the essential technical skills you’ll need for your new career.
One way to build your resilience is to remind yourself to push through setbacks and failures when you encounter them. This can be difficult to get started with, but even encouraging yourself to do it once is a huge step in the right direction.
App Academy’s high-intensity coursework can help you familiarize yourself with the need for building resilience. Like most coding bootcamps, the coursework takes a high level of commitment, and students encounter challenges everyday. Completing a bootcamp means you’ve pushed yourself to your limits, and you’ve still made it to the other side.
Strengthening Work Ethic
Improving this skill can be a matter of setting aside time to work on your projects. Outline time windows for certain tasks, set up a strong support structure, and give yourself a clear set of objectives.
App Academy’s admissions process and curriculum help introduce students to why a strong work ethic is so important and ingrain these skills. Tasks and lectures include clear guidelines so our students know what they’re setting out to achieve and how to best work toward it.
Worrying Less About Mistakes
Being a perfectionist can often be a challenge in software engineering, since it’s difficult to get things right the first time around. Perfectionists actually tend to shy away from solving coding problems, and this can present itself in tech interviews — they’re too hung up on the possibility of making a mistake.
App Academy’s selection process makes it more difficult for a perfectionist to move forward, which might be an indication to you that this is something to work on before diving headlong into a coding bootcamp. Our curriculum can help students begin to overcome their perfectionist tendencies, with positive support from lecturers and TAs as students work through problems, but it’s up to our students as well.
Collaboration and Teamwork
The best way to improve this skill is to seek out more opportunities to work with others or in a team setting. Some teams might be more difficult than others, but every experience can teach you more about yourself and how you work in pairs or groups.
App Academy makes use of paired programming, where our students work together on solving problems. It helps them discover new solutions to problems, build a sense of trust with their peers, and help improve their communication and teamwork skills.
Coping with Rejection and Incorporating Feedback
The important part of experience rejection is being able to figure out what you can learn from the experience. It can be beneficial to adopt an “always learning” mentality.
App Academy is dedicated to creating a growth mindset in all of our students. We work to remind them of how far they’ve come, and we encourage our students to keep working no matter what. Whether you’re working through coding problems or practicing interviews with one of our career coaches, our coursework gives you the skills to interpret and incorporate feedback so you can apply it to your work and keep improving.
Why Soft Skills Are Important for Software Engineers
Soft skills are a key aspect of long-term success. Honing your soft skills helps you stand out from other job candidates. You can highlight your soft skills on your resume, cover letter, and during the interview process to improve your chances of getting hired.
Grow Your Skills with App Academy
App Academy’s programs can help you develop your soft skills alongside your technical skills, making you a well-rounded candidate when you start your job search. After one of our bootcamps, you’ll have a full understanding of what it takes to be a successful software engineer.
Explore our curriculum or learn more about our Career Services today to get started.