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Ben Halpern for CodeNewbie

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What Non-Technical Skills Do You Need for a Successful Career in Tech?

When it comes to a successful career in tech, it's not just about technical skills. Non-technical skills are just as important, if not more so! Some examples of non-technical skills that can help you succeed in tech include:

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Time management
  • Collaboration
  • Critical thinking

What other, maybe less obvious. non-technical skills do you think are important for a career in tech? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Top comments (25)

baenencalin profile image
Calin Baenen

Does English count as a non-technical skill? It definitely aids in the furtherment ov one's career.
Linguistics, as a whole set ov concept and terminology, is vastly important and can help bridge gaps in communication, but that is more than technical, so it doesn't count.

cappe987 profile image

I think it definitely counts. It's important in several ways.

Coming from a non-English speaking country I think it's very important to learn to search for information in English. There is much more information available, and often much better sources of information. Just take wikipedia as an example. Any article in English will have way more information than the same article in my native language (unless the article is specifically about something related to my country/language, but most technical articles aren't).

I see programming as an English-first job. There may be exceptions, but it certainly helps.

elizabethtuz3 profile image
Elizabeth Tuz

Well, support u.
When i started, it was difficult to communicate with colleagues. I had to upgrade english from the "speaking" one to professional. There are always many apps to improve the language. For example, Grammarly.

Btw, my friends developed an extension for Google Chrome (i dont know if i can post here links, but lets try) It can rephrase and correct your texts online. They are searching for first users (it`s definetely free) for tests

baenencalin profile image
Calin Baenen

That's why I wanna diversify the languages programming can be accessible in.
Specifically, I've been practicing Swedish, which I will make programming articles in. (You can see a, not yet implemented, preview of that on my GitHub profile.)

Thank you for your engaging response,

nerro profile image

May I not sound rude when I ask this, Do you know English?

baenencalin profile image
Calin Baenen

Yes. Of course I do, I'm an English (US) native.
May I ask why you ask or what prompted you to ask?

cotcotcoder profile image

For communication some people think it is "How to speak" but the first part is listening: even people we don't agree with / even people who attack you. You have to stay calm, extract primary idea from oral sentence, put it in your memory-queue and wait your turn (silence is a requirement to a respectful communication). Being impulsive is something to fix.

I love to see diagram in documentation (UML or not), I think it's a good tools to explain something: tracing a HTTP call inside network, explain a debug process. So the ability to resume complex idea into a simple thing is very helpful for communication

kayis profile image

For various reasons: frustration tolerance

Some things will be hard to understand and require you to try it multiple times until you get it.

Documentation will be bad or even non-existent.

Higher ups will want you to do things you think are a bad idea.


jodoesgit profile image

I've been told there's many times when you moralistically and individually will have to place yourself aside for the greater good of the companies you work for. I know this from non-technical standpoints, but imagine it doesn't change much in the technical field. Especially if you're a er...peppery person =P!

lawrencek1992 profile image

Estimating the amount of time a task will take (I am terrible at this). I feel like I always say "a day or two most likely" and never anticipate weird things that make tasks take longer than expected.

jodoesgit profile image

I've heard always pad things with extra time. Now how you do that? I couldn't tell you. Just heard it as sound advice.

frikishaan profile image
Ishaan Sheikh • Edited

Writing emails, or in general, communication.

alvaromontoro profile image
Alvaro Montoro

Listening and paying attention to what others do an say will help you boost many soft skills at once. I talked about it on this article (Sorry for the self promotion)

sagaofsilence profile image
Sachin • Edited

Be it professional life, social life or personal life, many of these soft skills are needed. The list is long and may not be complete:

  1. ** People skills ** (THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL)
  2. Courage, Grit, Resilience, Perseverance
  3. Kindness, humanity, humility, empathy, sympathy
  4. (continuous) learn, relearn, unlearn
  5. Keep shut when not needed to speak, raise voice when needed, fight for justice
  6. Attitude, aptitude, gratitude
  7. Keep cool, get angry, let go, express feelings
  8. hard work, smart work, teamwork, solo work
  9. passion, compassion
  10. survive politics, play politics
  11. work seriously without getting serious

If I think I may add a couple more skills to this list recalling from my experience.

Learn from books

danbailey profile image
Dan Bailey

Time management is huge. One of the things I have to do so I don't get bogged down in constant meetings is block out time on my calendar every day specifically for work -- at least two hours. I do this on the first or second day of a new job, and I defend that time viciously. I'll outright reject meetings during that time, unless it's my boss, in which case, I'll propose a new time. But I don't back down from it. During that time, my headphones are on, my IDE is open, and I'm pounding out work. I find that when I'm interruption-free, I can get more done in those two hours than I can all week when trying to squeeze in time around meetings. (Also, definitely don't go to a place that has a meeting-heavy culture.)

schultyy profile image
Jan Schulte

Curiosity: Be curious about your users.

Try to understand how they do their job. What are the challenges they face with the current approach?
What would an ideal solution look like from their point of view?

Sometimes, you get the chance to sit down with your (potential) users and ask them all these questions.
But even if you're not in contact with them, try to make the effort, for instance by reading support emails or ask to work on the support team once a week to have these conversations.

Gathering this first-hand knowledge opens doors. First of all, you get to see the problem from the user's point of view.
Additionally, your users might lead you to a solution you haven't thought about before.

jenniferwonder profile image

Thanks for your sharing. Add life-long learning skill here 👉How to Boost Learning Efficiency-9 Tips You Should Know

leob profile image

3 things:

1) communication;
2) communication; and
3) communication

All the rest (including collaboration) follows from that.

villelmo profile image
William Torrez

I have null social skill and i don't have leadership.

tanish901 profile image
Tanish Jhamtani

is personality development important as a non-technical skill for a career in tech?

jenc profile image
Jen Chan

imo, patience and listening... and the humility to question my own assumptions...

rachelfazio profile image
Rachel Fazio

I am surprised I missed this discussion! PATIENCE! Patience, patience.