“Soft skills” are increasingly preponderant at work in information technology (IT) companies and whoever lacks them, disadvantaged part of the world of workthe experts say.
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Communication, collaboration, negotiation, emotional intelligence and leadership are concepts that until recently were thought to be unrelated to the world of computing, but that now they are increasingly necessary to be competitive.
‘Soft’ or complementary skills
For Darío Macchi, development advocate and software engineer at the company Howdy (formerly Austin Software), “soft skills” are complementary to “hard” ones, which are those related to the basic training of IT professionals.
“The answer comes from contrasting with “hard” skills, which are the ones for which we receive curricular training in universities, which is all the training that has to do with computing, mathematics, physics (…) with “soft skills” , that complement and make professionals stand out and can be successful in their daily livesMacchi says.
In a world where IT solutions can be a global network, proficiency in English is vital for technology professionals. However, Latin America seems to be lagging behind in this regard. According to the most recent report by Education First (EF), only one country, Argentina, falls within the very high level range of English proficiencywith a Competence Index (EPI) of 562.
Colombia, for example, has an EPI of 477, while Mexico’s is 447.. “The most up-to-date information that you will be able to get is from the source, and it is generated in English. If you wait for someone who speaks Spanish to do the translation, it will take time,” and no matter how good a translation, It is very likely that, but apart from that you are going to be reading a product that can be very good, a very good translation but it is still a translation and because nuances and details are lost, points out this engineer.
Apart from a good command of the English language, the IT professional must be able to have communication skills.
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The complexity of technological products requires that IT developers work collaboratively and interdisciplinary. When developing software, the user demands a lot of requirements that are beyond the capacity of one person. A single developer cannot meet the minimum required by a user.
“If you understand the business of software development, you know that you can’t play alone, that you need a team.“, points out Darío Macchi. Antonela Caldano, Howdy’s marketing manager for Latin America, assures that “today the success of a company depends one hundred percent on digital”, which makes the professionals in charge of these areas assume a fundamental role within companies. And despite all the computer baggage they have, they must resort to collaboration”.
It is taken for granted that the creativity process is inherent to the work of creating and implementing software, but it must be emphasize the touch of distinction to the product that is made. “If people aren’t inspired, if they’re not in an environment that allows them to be creative, they’re not going to be good developers,” Macchi says.
“You have to see what the solution is, what is the best way to make the products more successful to achieve the objective, be it the incorporation of new users, “engagements” (“interactions”), the use of the platform, the sales, whatever“, explains Caldano. Creativity is also a matter of analyzing trends, digital behaviors, tastes, he adds.
In the interaction between clients and developers, an original idea can be made stronger by overcoming egos, negotiating, and subjecting it to scrutiny. “This problem has been well studied: the client comes with his needs, we developers have our squarest heads, we have already begun to think about the technical requirements.
But luckily in the middle you can negotiate, you can start with a negotiation in which we have to explain the technical problems, the challenges, and give customers participation in decision-making,” says Macchi, who is a professor at the ORT University of Uruguay.
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have emotional intelligence
IT professionals are like any other, with their ups and downs, and they must learn to deal with these feelings so that teamwork is not damaged. “It would be great if we were all robots, right? It is impossible for one to press a button and cancel out the anger, the anguish. How to suppress all these feelings that arise when situations occur? One is a person before a professional“, declares Caldano, who previously worked in companies such as Grupo MSA SA and GlobalLogic Latin America. Every team needs a guide to show the way, but the role of leadership does not necessarily have to fall on a single person.
“The fact that agile methodologies have entered our sector with force for some twenty years means that the figure of the “coach” should not exist in a utopian way. Teams should manage themselves and have rotating leaderships”, concludes Macchi.