Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Soft Skills Matter!

This article, found in the latest ACM CareerNews Alert, emphasizes the importance of soft skills in IT. I believe that, as women, we sometimes have an easier time with a selection of these, especially because we can be such social creatures. Others, like negotiation, we perhaps aren't so good at. Either way, it's well worth our time to practise, practise, practise! That means contributing to the CU-WISE blog by emailing us (wink, wink), speaking at CU-WISE events (or any other presentation opportunities), and so on.
Surviving the IT Job Market: How Soft Skills Give You an Edge
CIO.com (via Computerworld), April 21

Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, explains how soft skills like public speaking, negotiation and persuasion are becoming critical to finding the right job. While IT employers have long touted soft skills, today's economic realities have made those abilities more valuable than ever. As a result, IT professionals who understand which soft skills are the most important have a distinct advantage over similarly qualified peers. From an employer’s perspective, these soft skills can help prevent or alleviate situations caused by poor morale or sinking productivity; help build consensus within an organization; and clearly communicate the value of certain projects to stakeholders.

Don't overlook leadership as a key soft skill just because you aren't occupying or seeking a management-level position. Stepping up to assume extra responsibility—such as taking the lead on a challenging project—is another ability that current economic conditions have made valuable. One option for improving your soft skills is to look for classes that can help you develop these abilities. Keeping in touch with members of your network and attending industry events can also keep your interpersonal skills sharp. One of the most powerful ways to develop your soft skills is to teach. Look to local continuing education programs, community colleges and mentor organizations for opportunities to share your knowledge of the IT profession and build your interpersonal abilities.

Click Here to View Full Article