Soft Skills for Programmers: Why They Matter and How to Develop Them

Soft Skills for Programmers: Why They Matter and How to Develop Them | In order to sustain in any industry, both domain knowledge and soft skills are essential. Soft skills not only make you a good employee but also makes you a good candidate and a good person overall. Soft skills are non-technical skills and they are essential for you to be in the job position, or even get promoted to higher ranks. They are equally important as technical skills and they should be mastered to shine in your job role. Having the right combination of soft skills and technical skills will help you to get hired and be successful in your endeavors. 

  • This article deals with soft skills for programmers.
  • We will understand what soft skills are, why they matter, their advantages, and how we can develop them. 
  • The difference between soft skills and technical skills will also be elaborated upon. 

As a software engineer, it is expected to have good programming skills, logic developing ability, proper debugging skills, proper code writing, and writing tests. But these alone do not suffice the requirement of a brilliant software programmer. Along with technical skills, it is important that software engineers should also shine in their soft skills. While your technical skills land you an interview or even a job, to sustain it, excel in your field, and maintain a good rapport with your colleagues, you need really good soft skills. 

There is often a myth associated with soft skills that they cannot be developed over the years as it is an innate quality. This is completely wrong as a person can work on soft skills over the years and can significantly develop them. It requires dedication and perseverance to achieve what you need. Hard skills fetch you a job, but soft skills make you more respected, efficient, and noticeable among all. 

By learning these soft skills, you can achieve a lot of goals in life. They will take you a long way irrespective of your profession. When you are dealing with a team, you need strong interpersonal skills and dynamic nature to take your team forward in all aspects. As you will be working on various projects that include top programming languages such as Java, C++, Python Programming, etc., it becomes essential for you to have analytical skills as well to solve complex problems that these languages come with. In this article, you will learn various soft skills that are essential for a software engineer that will pave his/her way toward the pinnacle of success. 

What are Soft Skills?

Before diving into the list of soft skills necessary to become a software engineer, you need to understand what exactly soft skills are. These skills are related to how you interact with your peers and others, how confident we are, your approach while dealing with things, how patient and empathetic you are, and many more aspects. While these are subjective attributes and mostly vary from person to person, everyone can develop the same through the right practice. 

They are not like technical skills. Soft skills revolve around your personality and attitude. Soft skills do not pertain to any single job but are applicable everywhere. They are very beneficial for your personal life but are equally important for your career. Having the right combination of technical and soft skills can help you to pave your way to the top. 

Anyone can develop these skills through practice. Not everyone is good at these skills and are born with them, but everyone can hone their soft skills to shine in their personal and professional life. 

Why Are Soft Skills Essential for Your Career?

Soft skills are not just good to have but they are a vital necessity for software engineers. They not just determine your designation but also determine your personality traits. They make you distinct and stand apart from the crowd. They make you more approachable as you can build your network and eventually plethora of opportunities are open for you. 

There are many people who are sound technically but lack soft skills. This is a red flag for the majority of the companies, as they are looking for those who are also good at non-technical aspects. Dealing with various clients requires good confidence and communication skills along with patience and time management skills. Here, technical knowledge does not come into play. There are also times when there is a conflict among the team members and you will have to resolve it. This requires soft skills. You will be furnished with better opportunities and will have a good rapport with your colleagues too. 

Soft Skills That Are Required for Programmers

Now that we know soft skills play a very significant role in the career path of a software engineer, it is required to have these soft skills which will help you to climb the success ladder. 

1. Communication

This is one of the most important aspects of software engineering. Be it any career, communication plays a very vital role. It is the medium through which you can express your thoughts. 

As a software engineer, it is necessary that you have good communication skills so as to explain your ideas to others, voice your opinion, or tackle the problems faced by the team. It is very important irrespective of the profession. Being able to express yourself is the most crucial part. There are 2 types of communication- verbal and non-verbal communication. Through practice, communication skills can be improved. 

2. Time Management

Time management is a very important aspect of any job. As software developers, it is expected to have a tight schedule with a lot of workloads. You have to report to the concerned authorities and complete the daily target that has been allotted to you. This requires proper time management. The better you are at time management, the faster your goals will be achieved.   

3. Empathy

Empathy is one of the most vital emotions of any human. Every human should be empathetic. Empathy means the capacity of a human to feel or understand what another human being is going through or experiencing at a particular point. Every software developer should have basic empathy. It is expected that you should be able to understand what your colleagues are going through and help them out in that situation. It is that attribute of “putting yourself in other’s shoes” and understanding what the other person is going through and acting accordingly. 

4. Conflict Resolution Capacity

Irrespective of the job, conflicts are inevitable. There are several reasons why conflicts arise. One of the main reasons is the difference of opinion between team members. As software developers, there might arise cases when your fellow team members, testers, or even managers might have a different opinion and this might lead to conflicts. You need to have the conflict resolution capacity to handle the situation and resolve the conflict. 

5. Patience

It is rightly said, “Patience is a virtue to be admired”. As software developers, there might arise situations where nothing goes as planned, delays in tasks, or conflicts that might take a toll on your patience. In such a scenario, you need to tackle the situation with patience. Being impatient will lead to nothing. Best decisions are made with a calm mind so it’s necessary not to lose out on patience.  

6. Problem-Solving

Problem-solving skills are one of the most important skills a software engineer should possess. You will face several problems while working and it is necessary that you are able to find a solution to the same yourself. You should be able to think out of the box for any problem and find the most optimum solution possible. Your critical thinking skills will help you to solve problems that have arisen. 

7. Teamwork

I’m pretty sure you must have heard several teamwork quotes. It is very true that a team can achieve way more than what an individual can do. Together a team can make a difference in everything. There is collaboration, brainstorming of ideas, and working together. When it comes to software engineering, it is quite necessary that you collaborate well with other fellow team members of yours. This will yield more productivity and better results.

8. Accountability

“To err is human, to forgive is divine”. Everyone makes mistakes. As software developers, you might make several mistakes but the main point is that you have to accept your mistake. You are accountable for your own mistakes. You should accept your mistakes and rectify them and make sure that you don’t repeat those mistakes again. Learning from your mistakes can help you grow and improve significantly. 

9. Leadership

Leadership is one of the most important aspects for those who want to become managers or team leaders in the future. A leader is one who mentors others, resolves conflicts, takes decisions and makes sure that the work is being done within time. You should also have the zest to motivate others for work or even handle everything related to the team.  

10. Confidence

Confidence is the state in which you believe in someone or something. As a software developer, you should possess self-confidence. You should firmly believe in yourself and think that you have the ability to conquer any problems. However, it is necessary that you have confidence in yourself and not overconfidence. 


Summing up, soft skills are a very part of software engineering. They are very beneficial for your personal life but are equally important for your career. Having the right combination of technical and soft skills can help you to pave your way to the top. The above soft skills listed are very important and they should be incorporated into your personal as well as professional life too.

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