Published: July 29, 2018
Simple and to the point is always the best way to get your point across.
I'm sure when you come across this article you might think of a lot of things crossing your mind when you are reading the title.
Like Soft skills? Why do I need to learn it? Isn't it better for me, to just learn new technology and be better in my craft? Why does it matter that I need to learn it? There are tons of things for me to learn.
Calm down young grasshopper, all will be revealed to you shortly. First of all, what would it come to your mind when I'm talking about software skill?
Is it networking with new people? Speaking in front of a crowd?, Writing reports? presenting ideas or projects? Persuading someone to a certain way of thinking?
In a certain way, yes it's above just that it might not be what you think it is. Have you ever tried to share videos, messages that you feel is important?
Have you ever talk about things you loved, that you can't wait to share with everyone. Either through conversations, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or SnapChat?
What I'm getting into is actually about things you are passionate about. So you believe the world would want or believe in your message to make the world a much better place than it could be.
So you might think that yeah it's fine and dandy, so what's the point of learning about soft skills as a software developer?
Well, software development is not on an island despite our language of choice is programming.
This does not mean that we won't talk to team members or product managers about our engineering decisions.
Why should we adopt certain practices that make the organisation better and lives easier despite it might affect the current process?
How does one communicate to your team members, product managers that a certain feature could greatly impact the user experience for the users?
How would you do it? Is it purely with one's passion alone or your own extensive engineering knowledge that it will work?
That might get your foot in the door but definitely, it might not convince everyone to adopt that practice.
The lack of understanding each of your team members, product managers or the user's perspective. Could be a downfall to your idea which might not be the best idea out there.
Learning to listen attentively and ask questions is one of the best form of understanding a person's, cause you get to know what the person is thinking just by simply observing their body languages.
If you want to know about how to observe a person's body language, you should read "What Every Body is Saying" By Joe Navarro, that talks about various human body language and quirks that we show to people in various situations.
Understanding what a person is thinking is just the starting point. How would you convey the message is another, which could be both written or through a face to face conversation with them.
Increasingly text messages has been the ideal medium to convey an idea. Due to its convenience of sending or reading it at any time of the day, through the use of Slack, email, WhatsApp or Telegram.
This lead to a few tech companies like Automattic and Basecamp that uses writing skills as part of their hiring process to understand the potential hire's thought process in clarity of thought.
So learning to know on how to write is an important skill as a software developer to demonstrate one's thought process. Therefore I would always point them to the book called "On Writing Well" by William Zinsser to understand and formulate your written communication.
For me after reading the book, it has actually benefited me in writing better especially the chapter on "writing non-fiction" that is worth its weight in gold.
Do you still remember that when I first started there's a need to be passionate about your message? Well without conveying passion, sincerity or authenticity in your messages that are unique in one's own voice. It will be hard to be able to add value to a person's life.
It's hard to ignite anyone on an emotional level to believe in you, to share your message across everyone they know cause they believe in the idea and in your message that you convey to actually take action.
One book that truly talks in detail about it is Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Action by Guy Kawasaki.
Who talks in great detail on the art of enchantment that focus to create a cause for everyone to rally around it to take action that will spread the idea like a wildfire.