Soft skills to help you excel in IT

I received this piece by email and thought I have to share it. 

ITprofessionals know that the development of technical skills is fundamental andnon-negotiable in the development of their careers.  The degree to which these technical skills are achieved and applied can beeasily measured through tests.  They can also be noted at a glance by simply finding out what tertiaryeducation the professionals have done and what qualifications were achieved atany one of the country's 21 universities.

At the Cape Peninsula University of Technology alone, there are 25 000 studentsdeveloping their technical skills and preparing for the working world by comingto grips with the technologies, theories and histories of their chosen careers.  But learning about and mastering the subject matter is only one of thenecessary talents every IT professional must cultivate.  There is a strong human component: essentially eight soft skills that must alsobe mastered for industry players to excel in their chosen technology fields.


Whether yourtechnical skills are average or above- average, applying a positive attitudeand energy can improve the working environment and your career prospectssignificantly.

Be energised about how you view problems, be positive in your approach tosolving them, and show conviction.

Attitude and energy applies as much to what you do as it does to how you do it.It also applies to the interpersonal skills you bring to the workplace.

Simply because you are a friendly person does not mean that you automaticallyhave the energy and attitude to be successful in your chosen IT career.


In anyprofession, communication is important. The more communicative you are, themore you will find yourself surrounded by people and projects that help yougrow your career prospects rather than bog you down with problems and hurdles.

Communicating ideas is important; doing so in ways that the people you aretalking to will understand is even more so.

In IT, however, there is an added need for written communication as it isimportant to provide users of systems or products with manuals and informationon how to maximise the solution.


Keepingperspective when faced with major obstacles is a must.  It enables you to see complaints, compliments, issues and non-issues for whatthey really are.

Understanding the context in which things occur is also important. If neitheris done, it becomes difficult to overcome issues, little problems can be blownout of proportion and solutions mismatched.

Without context, you could find yourself scrambling to chase away the smokerather than putting out the fire. Worse, without perspective you could befuelling the fire instead of fighting it.

Business savvy

To ensurea successful, prosperous and long career in IT, it is important to understandthe business as well.  It is necessary to get a grip on what drives the business, to understand whatthe business's objectives are and what your role is in getting it there.  To effectively do your job, it is necessary to know what your managers anddirectors want of you and what the company's clients expect of you.

In coming to terms with the business, you must align yourself with it. If youfind that alignment is not possible, it is best to move on as you serve no oneworking for a company that you do not understand or appreciate.


Control relatesto how you approach leadership. There must be an understanding and respect forthose in positions of leadership in the business.  They must be used as mentors to expand your skills and knowledge on as manyfronts as possible.  Occasionally, management decisions should be challenged, provided the businessstands to benefit.


On theother side of the control coin, those in positions of leadership must applythemselves to sharing their knowledge and they must lead by example.  Your leadership ambition must be fuelled by energy, but it must be checked byperspective and context, assisted through communication and guided by businesssavvy and control.


Responsibilityfor your career is yours and yours alone. Companies cannot be expected to tellyou what career you should be following or how to get there. Rather, theyshould assist in your career growth.  This is most effectively done when you align yourself with the business andtake responsibility for yourself, your knowledge and your actions.


Technology requires very specific skills to be acquired, but toensure a successful career in IT, you must complement these skills with ageneralist approach.  Broadening your knowledge and understanding in your chosen field, and coming toterms with the more general concerns that surround it, gives you power to goplaces. 
It makes you more marketable to employers and more sellable to customers. Whilespecialists can make money, generalists rule the world.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *