This is a list of what I have learned about the “soft skills” of Software Development.
1. It’s all about communication
Did you hate writing papers in school? I did and so I just did OK on them. I get into the real world and I have run into three things, reading, writing and talking; lots of reading, writing and talking. I found out that technical writing is very different than English class. I have to be concise, clear and know my audience. I don’t write the same if I am writing notes to my coworker that I have worked with for the last 5 years than if I am writing a blog entry. I can’t waste time explaining flowery sentences to people. You know what, I don’t have time to say the same thing 3 different ways so the next guy can understand. That is why I am as clear as possible. I make lots of pictures too. A picture can explain a concept a lot better than I. Writing papers in school prepared me to effectively communicate. I can’t tell you how many times in how may ways I have explained things so a coworker can integrate with my code. That leads to wasted time that can be dedicated to coding, testing, etc.
2. Knowing People
Did you know the hobbies of your coworkers? If you did, you would learn something about that person. Knowing that will help with number one. I have a coworker that races motorcycles. I have another one that likes to do computer forensics. I approach both of them differently. I also know that one of my coworker’s idea of an IDE is vi. I approach him differently too. Have lunch sometimes, you may learn something.
3. Let it Slide
Do you have a coworker that really irritates you? Do you have one that doesn’t agree with you on one or more points in software development? Unless they are really getting in the way of you working, let it slide. They are allowed to have opinions just like you. Do you expect a bunch of yous running around? That would be boring and the solutions you produce would not be as good. Agree to disagree and that be that.
4. Get a Hobby
Do something else besides software development all the time. I watch football. This will allow you to decompress from grinding your gears doing the same thing all the time. Switch gears and watch your productivity and attitude be on the up and up.
What Do You Think?
I ran out of things to talk about. What “soft skills” do you use at work?