Developing soft and hard skills plays a huge role in today’s careers. Experts say that soft skills are paramount before hard skills. But both skills can be developed with the help of various techniques. Srini Kadiyala, CTO of OvalEdge, notes the following:

“The bottom line is, soft skills matter more if a candidate is seeking a long-term tenure with a company. These skills aren’t necessarily taught in university programs, so job-seekers show prepare and practice, ensuring that their technical knowledge and soft skills shine together.

In today’s technology sector, possessing both “hard and soft” skills are ultimately a “must” in order for a candidate to put themselves on a track for success. Soft skills are key, especially if someone is looking to be a part of a smaller company’s team. The ability to speak and get your point across, to have the ability to write a well-worded and easily understandable email/presentation/document, is (and always will be) one of the most valuable assets an individual can bring to a company. A person could be the smartest person in the room with all the answers tucked in their head, but if they are incapable of expressing themselves, no one will ever benefit.

Someone with soft skills typically demonstrates a willingness to learn and expand, which is crucial in technology given the need to keep up with industry standards, along with staying relevant with several top software programs applicable to a given industry and/or skill set. If you are a developer who can only write in Python, you will be much less valuable than if you are proficient with multiple languages like JavaScript, Python, GO, Java, Kotlin, C#, C++, SQL, etc.”


Scott Lieberman, the founder of Touchdown Money, highlights skills relevant for 2024:

“Communication: Effective communication between teams, employees, and employers.

Customer Service: Not all situations can be remedied by AI, therefore skilled customer service employees are necessary to resolve those issues.

Leadership: The ability to listen, delegate, mentor and organize.

Teamwork: Being able to work together to get to the end goal with cooperative employees.

Sales: Having the ability of persuasion to sell products or services.

Problem-Solving: Identifying problems and brainstorming solutions.

Research: Having the ability to understand and interpret AI data to implement it in ways to benefit the company.

Finally, more than ever, the soft skill of adaptability is needed by every employee. As AI enters businesses of all types, it will become necessary for employees to be able to adapt to new changes and technologies.”

Matt Little, the Director and Owner of Festoon House, shares the following opinion:

“The hard skill that I look for is technological proficiency. With the rapid advancement of technology, it’s important to stay updated with the latest tools and software relevant to your industry. For example, in the lighting business, understanding energy-efficient technologies, CAD software for design, and project management tools are essential.

For soft skills, communication is imperative. The ability to effectively convey your ideas and understand others’ perspectives is invaluable in any business setting.

Leadership is another soft skill that I value highly. It’s not just about managing people; it’s about inspiring and motivating them to do their best work.”

“Just like in 2023, soft skills are still the name of the game in 2024. However, one of the most valuable (in my opinion, as an employer) is being comfortable with uncertainty. Making peace with uncertainty and even growing to enjoy the surprises that force you to think on your feet and overcome hardship will go a long way in helping employees and their companies flourish. I’m not sure if we were looking for that specific skill last year, but it’s becoming clear how important it is to roll with the punches.” — adds Jordan Harary, Co-Founder & CEO at The Bid Lab.

How to develop soft skills?

“Staying updated and informed about how to best connect with other people. Being vulnerable in the right situations and connecting with clients in the right circumstances really can’t be understated, so the best way forward is to practice. Train yourself to be self-aware in difficult circumstances. How would you like someone to react, or respond? Talk to yourself in the mirror, or with a friend. Everyone has the ability to grow.” — notes Jordan Harary.

Matt Little makes an interesting point of view and approach to soft skills development: 

“Experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, volunteer work, or participation in group projects and extracurricular activities, can help you improve your soft skills. These experiences allow people to practice communication, collaboration, leadership, and problem-solving in real-world situations, allowing them to hone their skills and gain valuable insights into their own strengths and areas for improvement.”

Many companies themselves have a vested interest in seeing their employees develop and grow. This manifests itself in regular training within the company, as well as compensation for employee training. Many companies also have an individual development plan, which prescribes the development of certain skills necessary for career growth. 

If you want your employees to develop their soft and hard skills, organize the following:

1) Create a community of interest. For example, in IT companies you can organize a community of developers or testers, where colleagues will share their knowledge and train newcomers.

2) Invite speakers and experts to speak to your employees. Organize meetings and Q&A sessions so that employees can communicate with practitioners.

3) Offer employees training opportunities both internally and externally.

4) Don’t forget about the motivational component: it can be both tangible and intangible motivation. 

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