Related Posts

For the modern-day Software Engineer, soft skills are no longer simply “nice to have” but essential.  In the Tech industry, soft skills are just as important as technical skills needed to develop projects, as companies look for professionals with personality attributes and drive that complement their team. The industry is competitive, recruitment processes are tougher than ever, and developing your soft skills could mean the difference between success and failure. 

In this guide, we've compiled a list of the top soft engineering skills that will help you stand out as a software engineering candidate.

Understanding Soft Skills in Tech?

Soft skills are the non-technical core skills that differentiate a good software engineer from a great one. Soft skills are not considered essential parts of the role, so they are often overlooked.  Demonstrating strong soft skills and characteristics is crucial and can allow an interviewer or hiring manager to start ascertaining how you will fit into their organisation. Soft skills act as an insight into how you would interact with others, fit in a team, be managed and how you communicate.

As a Software Engineer, you will know that skills like Java, .NET or Python can be developed, improved, and mastered as you’ll be working on these skills every day, and soft skills shouldn’t be any different. A recent study by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center stated that 85% of job success is derived from obtaining excellent soft skills, and only 15% of professional success is from technical skills.

So, developing core soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving will help you collaborate and connect with colleagues differently, solve clients' problems more effectively, and take your career prospects to the next level. 

Now that we can understand exactly what soft skills are and their importance, let’s delve into the top 5 essential soft skills needed by a software engineer:


1. Problem-Solving

Your ability as a software engineer is to solve routine and complex problems, which will build managers' trust in your ability, set you apart compared to other software engineers, and distinguish you from rivals in the IT recruitment process. Critical thinking and the ability to understand, assess and solve problems will definitely make you a standout software engineer in the industry.

Below are a few vital elements of soft engineering skills involved in problem-solving:

  • Critical Thinking - Critical thinking is crucial for software engineers to be successful. It is crucial in meeting a project's goals, developing and implementing alternative approaches to meet deadlines, and streamlining the project process. 

  • Analytical Approaches - Breaking down and analysing project issues means that, as a software developer, you can understand underlying issues, making accumulating solutions easier. Being able to implement analytical problem-solving methods is essential in tackling any complex engineering problems that arise. 

  • Open-Minded - When brainstorming potential solutions, it is essential that you, as a software developer, think outside the box to solve the issue. It is important to keep up with the common evolving issues and solutions within software engineering to solve complex issues promptly. 

2. Communication Skills 

The world of work has changed dramatically, and the rise of remote working means excellent communication is more important than ever.  Developing excellent communication skills is much more than having good oral and written interaction.  You must consider your presentation skills and active listening ability and ensure you communicate with respect, confidence and clarity.

Look below to discover the most important factors of communication in software engineering:

  • Interpersonal - One-on-one communication with professionals from various departments is an essential soft skill in software engineering. It is essential for software developers to adapt their communication style and language depending on which team member they are talking to, ensuring both professionals have a clear understanding of the project requirements and deadlines and create a healthy working environment. 

  • Reflective Listening - One of the most vital soft skills in communication is active listening and appropriate responses, ensuring all elements of the conversation are understood so the project goals can be achieved. Appropriate response cues, nodding and encouragement show understanding of the speaker's words and offer reassurance. 

  • Public Speaking - Public speaking is another essential soft skill element within communication. Presentations will be fundamental to designing and implementing new technology and products. Ensuring project plans are communicated clearly and effectively to the audience is essential.

  • Write Clearly and Concisely - The fast-paced tech industry means that it is essential to ensure that writing is always clear and accurate, particularly when writing important documents and emails, where it is vital for the message to be delivered efficiently for project plans to be understood and take place. 

3. Teamwork and Leadership

Whether you work in an office or remotely, chances are you’ll be working in a team.        Systems, automation, and tools can add so much, but people make the difference. According to a recent study by the National Academy, soft skills are responsible for up to 80% of job performance. Whether or not you are in a leadership role, how you interact with your team will determine project success and progression. 

Below are a bunch of the most vital soft skill elements involved in teamwork and leadership for software engineers: 

  • Communication - Communication is one of the most essential soft skill elements in teamwork. Clear communication ensures that your team will understand and meet the goals and demands of the project. Communicating constructive feedback is also critical, as it is a chance to outline improvement opportunities to maximise your team's performance. Aside from the leadership focus, communication is vital in developing software and working collaboratively to solve any issues that arise. 

  • Knowledge of all Departments  - As a software engineer, it is essential to have fundamental knowledge of the roles and responsibilities across all departments within your organisation and stay updated on current project plans. To meet project goals, software engineers must be able to work collaboratively with all team members and departments. 

  • Adaptability - Software engineers must consistently adapt to the ever-evolving market changes and demands. Adaptability when working within a team is essential; combining existing concepts and challenging ideas and exploring different perspectives within a team is crucial in driving innovation within the advancing software engineering market. 

  • Encouragement - Within a software engineering role, encouraging team members to share ideas and perspectives is crucial in completing successful projects. It is important for software engineers to be responsive and open-minded, ensuring team members feel heard. Encouraging new perspectives enhances the development of software and potential resolutions. 

4. Time Management and Planning

In the fast-paced and evolving tech industry, time management is one of the most vital soft skills you can have. Planning and organising time and workload significantly reduce stress and improve focus and productivity, allowing you to maintain the highest quality work on time. Demonstrating core soft skills will no doubt propel you in your job search.

Let us delve into some of the most important elements of time management and planning and why they are essential in a software engineering role:

  • Scheduling - It’s essential for any software developer to plan their time and schedule so that they can meet project deadlines whilst maintaining the quality of work. It is vital to consider time for breaks to reduce the risk of burnout and maximise performance. 

  • Consensus with Stakeholders - During the planning process of a project, software engineers must include stakeholders in planning development. By spreading awareness of project plans with stakeholders, software engineers can implement shared objectives, and both stakeholders and team members know how they need to contribute to meet project goals. 

  • Organisation and Prioritasion - Often, software engineers can have a busy workload, so organising your schedule to prioritise the tasks with tight deadlines and of high importance is critical. Organising projects based on time is a great way to estimate how long projects will take so work can be planned effectively. 

  • Resource Distribution - Strategic planning of resource distribution means that software engineers can implement projects in the most cost and time-effective way. Knowing exactly how many resources need to be used means software engineers can prioritise their time and assets for the most important aspects of the project, saving valuable time whilst staying on budget. 

5. Creativity

The dynamic software market means software engineers must keep up with the changing needs and demands of the industry. As a software engineer, you must consistently create new, original ideas and solutions, using your imagination to explore new technological advancements and perspectives to drive innovation. 

So, what creative elements do you need as a software engineer, and why are they essential? 

  • Product - When it comes to the actual product, creativity is essential in enhancing existing products and services by cultivating innovative software designs. For example, exploring new technological advancements and software tools will enhance testing strategies and drive innovation. 

  • People - To drive creativity within a team, software engineers must encourage communication of different perspectives and ideas for projects to drive innovation and new working methods. As we mentioned, the communication and responses of new ideas from all stakeholders involved are essential in igniting creativity and positively impacting project development. 

  • Adaptability - As the Tech industry constantly adapts to technological advancements and strategies, new creative ideas must keep up with evolving environmental regulations, focusing on components such as sustainable materials or methods to reduce wastage. It is also essential for software engineers to implement creativity in usability features, such as technical specifications and user-friendliness. 

  • Unique Thinking - Software engineers need to think outside the box, accumulating new and creative ways of working by drawing on old sources and fostering new inspiration concerning new software tools, designs, and strategies. 

The Final Word on Soft Skills in Tech

The emphasis on problem-solving signifies the importance of navigating complexities and providing innovative solutions. Communication skills, extending beyond verbal and written proficiency, as well as reflective listening and public speaking, have become crucial in a world where remote work prevails. Teamwork and leadership necessitate effective communication, knowledge of all work areas across departments, and adaptability and encouragement of diverse perspectives.

Time management and planning are essential in the fast-paced tech industry, where scheduling, consensus with stakeholders and organisation, and prioritisation are crucial elements. Lastly, creativity emerges as a driving force in software engineering, influencing both the product and the people. It requires innovative thinking, adaptability to industry changes, and a unique approach to problem-solving.

Aspiring and seasoned software engineers alike should recognise that investing in these soft skills is an investment in their own success, making them not just technically proficient professionals but well-rounded contributors to the ever-evolving world of software engineering.

Need a IT Recruitment Agency to Help? 

As a trusted IT recruitment agency, we have the knowledge and expertise to connect your software engineering skills to global businesses that align with your career goals and aspirations. 

Whether you are an entry-level candidate or an experienced professional looking for senior roles, our technical recruitment agency can facilitate your needs. If you would like to speak about your next software engineering or tech opportunity or an organisation wanting to know how MCS Group can assist you in your search for talent in tech, feel free to contact us today.