Soft skills to thrive as a software developer

An interview process is also oriented at assessing your soft skills.

What are soft skills?

I would group under this term anything that’s not strictly tech related, and instead is related to dealing with other people.

Soft skills are essential to anyone, but in particular to people working in teams, something that you’re going to do in 99% of the jobs.

Everyone has its own version of what are the best soft skills to have.

I would mention those:

  • body language
  • empathy
  • being open to new technologies
  • you are not your code
  • be open to change your mind
  • you will learn forever
  • ask questions

Body language

Try to practice being as comfortable as you can with interviewing.

This of course gets easier the more interviews you do.

Body language is an art, and when we are nervous we clearly show without even saying a word.

Empathy

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their feelings, why they might behave in some way.

I list this first, because lack of empathy can be the source of many problems.

Understand the point of view of the other person, actively listen and be nice.

Being open to new technologies

During the interview you might be asked if you are willing to learn framework X, or language Y.

As a developer, it’s essential to develop a desire to learn everything you can.

You will learn new things forever.

You are not your code

Your code will always get criticized. No matter how good it is, or how bad it is, you are not your code. Your code is not a testament of your ability. It’s just the product of your work at a specific point in time, under specific constrains.

If the recruiter does not find your code good enough, there might be reasons, and you should not be personally offended or irritated, and derail the interview.

You did your best within the current situation, but you can do better next time.

Be open to change your mind

It’s easy to be attached to a specific set of tech you spent so much time learning, and think that is the best tool ever built.

But in a team environment, a lot of times your preferred technology, framework or language could be swapped for another, better tool.

Always be proactive when it comes to changes, and don’t be too attached to anything.

It’s important to show in the interview that you’re open minded.

Ask questions

Be curious. Don’t assume anything, and ask instead.

Asking questions means you gather all the requirements before jumping to conclusions.

At the interview, ask about the company. It’s an interview for both of you. They get to know you, you get to know them.