Today’s IT specialists have great career prospects ahead of them in the fast-digitising economy. But they need more than just technical knowhow. They also need to be totally ‘in tune’ with the business and environment they work in. That ability to think and talk with customers on a business and strategic level requires a series of specific ‘soft skills’. Here are some of the important social, emotional and intellectual skills they require:
- Communication skills. This is one of the most important soft skills for an IT specialist today. Having good communication skills means you are equally at home talking to an end-user as you are briefing a business owner. Adjusting your speaking style and tone of voice flexibly to the person you are talking to is crucial. And being able to listen and act empathetically to that person is another requirement. IT specialists also need to be able to write fluently and eloquently. They are often asked to give advice and recommendations in language that is understandable and to write business reports that will be read by non-IT specialists.
- Team-play. As an IT expert, it’s usually not too smart to play just a solo game. Chances are you will have to work in a team where everyone has their own role, experience and character. It all boils down to making the best possible use of the other people in your team as you work together, as well as sharing your own knowledge while fully taking on your role within the team. This means that you have to be pretty flexible in the way you deal with your colleagues and the way you handle the task in hand.
- Powers of persuasion/self-confidence. Convincing a business owner, manager or team about a particular idea, cost-saving or project objective is an art. As an IT specialist, you are more than ever a business consultant. You must have the necessary self-confidence to stand up for yourself in the department or company. This is a soft skill that is still often overlooked.
- Strategic thinking. It goes without saying that an IT specialist approaches things pragmatically and is willing to roll his or her sleeves up and get down to work. He or she is also expected to think outside the box and demonstrate that IT makes a major difference and creates a competitive edge for the company. The ability to keep sight of the bigger picture in addition to day-to-day issues in IT is also a plus point today.
- Presence. Leaving a professional impression behind begins with an orderly and neat appearance. If you are careful about the way you come across and the manner in which you present yourself to customers, the people you work with or management, you will generate the required credibility and create an air of assurance. All of which will boost your professional chances and be good for your self-confidence.
In the business world, good soft skills are becoming more important all the time – and not just for IT people. Which is why at Cheops, working through our Cheops Academy, we not only keep the technical skills of our IT specialists up to the mark, but also their soft skills, so that our customers can always rely on competent IT and business professionals.