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The Demand for Soft Skills in Tech & How You Can Use Them to Progress Your Career.

Updated: Feb 29




In tech, hard skills are undoubtedly important. However, soft skills, including general mental ability, integrity, and conscientiousness, are equally crucial in predicting job success.


At Hammehr, we understand the importance of these skills and how they can shape a successful tech career.

 

We’re taking a dive into a few of the most essential soft skills in tech, and how you can use these to your advantage when it comes to advancing in your career and personal development:

 

General Mental Ability:

 

GMA is an umbrella term covering critical thinking, problem-solving, and learning ability, and it’s a significant predictor of career success.

 

Critical thinking and problem-solving are essential components of a successful tech career. They enable professionals to choose the right tools, troubleshoot technology, and make informed decisions when the solution is not immediately obvious…

Employers are particularly interested in this as it is particularly relevant in high-complexity roles such as tech, where it can explain between 30% and 70% of job performance.

 

How employers may assess GMA:

 

IQ tests, problem-solving exercises, and evaluations of a candidate's ability to learn and adapt to new information or situations.

 

How you can prepare:

 

  1. Practice Diverse Tests: Broaden your exposure to different cognitive tests to improve adaptability and familiarity with various question types.

  2. Learn from Errors: Utilize practice tests to identify and learn from mistakes, focusing on areas that need improvement.

  3. Mimic Exam Conditions: Practice under timed conditions in a quiet space to better prepare for the pressure of the actual test environment.

  4. Target Weaknesses: Concentrate your study efforts on your weakest areas to achieve a more balanced skill set across all test sections.

  5. Develop a Study Plan: Tailor your preparation strategy to your needs, incorporating exercises that strengthen your cognitive skills in targeted areas.

 

 

Integrity:

 

Integrity, encompassing honesty, transparency, and ethical behaviour, is a powerful pathway in tech.

Today, it is more critical than ever with our growing commitments to ethical practices, transparency, and the correct moral usage of data and AI.

 

How employers assess this:

 

Employers may assess integrity through evaluating ethical decision-making, consistency in actions and words, and past experiences where integrity was tested or demonstrated.

 

To demonstrate and build Integrity, job seekers can work on:

 

  1. Effective Communication: Be honest and transparent in all professional interactions to build trust and credibility.

  2. Taking Responsibility: Acknowledge mistakes, learn from them, and take steps to prevent them in the future.

  3. Ethical Decision-Making: Always consider the ethical implications of your actions and make decisions that align with your principles.

  4. Building Trust: Develop a reputation for reliability and honesty, which can lead to more opportunities and stronger professional relationships.

  5. Continuous Improvement: Stay informed about ethical practices in tech and participate in discussions on topics like AI ethics and conscientious computing.

 

 

Conscientiousness:

 

Conscientiousness is highly regarded by employers as it often indicates a candidate's ability to effectively manage their responsibilities and work towards long-term goals, which is essential for job performance and career advancement.


A study found that conscientiousness scores for those in more senior roles, were significantly higher than those of individual contributors. Indicating a direct link between career progression and more conscientiousness behaviours.

 

How employers may assess this:

 

Employers look for evidence of goal-oriented behaviour, reliability, and consistency in a candidate's work history and achievements.

 

To demonstrate conscientiousness, job seekers can:

 

  1. Set Clear Goals: Define long-term professional goals and create a roadmap to achieve them.

  2. Develop a Strong Work Ethic: Commit to delivering high-quality work and meeting deadlines.

  3. Prioritize Organization: Keep your workspace and tasks organized to improve efficiency and reduce errors.

  4. Practice Self-Discipline: Work on controlling impulses and maintaining focus on tasks at hand.

  5. Mental Contrasting: Visualize achieving your goals and consider potential obstacles to prepare for and overcome them.

 

 

Soft Skills in Numbers:

 

Research from Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center found that 85% of career success comes from having well-developed soft skills, while only 15% comes from technical skills and knowledge.

 

There are many ways a lack of soft skills such as dependability, time management and critical thinking can derail an employee with solid technical skills. According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report, 89% of recruiters say when a hire doesn’t work out, it usually comes down to a lack of soft skills.

 

While technical abilities are undoubtedly essential in many scenarios, it's noteworthy that almost 80% of Canadian employers place a higher emphasis on soft skills when considering candidates. This trend suggests a marked preference for individuals who can effectively demonstrate these soft skills. As a result, a candidate possessing stronger technical skills but weaker in soft skills might find themselves at a disadvantage compared to someone who excels in the soft skills an employer is looking for.

 

Conclusion:

 

At Hammehr, we believe that a combination of general mental ability, integrity, and conscientiousness can set tech professionals up for success. While soft skills are often overlooked in favour of hard skills, the data is clear: they play a crucial role in navigating the complexities of the tech industry.

 

So, as you continue to develop your tech skills, don't forget to nurture your soft skills too! They could be the key to unlocking the full potential in your career…

 

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