Articles | February 27, 2020

Soft skills in demand, and how IT outsourcing can help

Every year enterprises outline strategy for implementing ground-breaking technologies. Once that is done, the next step is to hire suitable IT professionals. But what does “suitable” really mean? Is it only about IT talents? Soft skills are very important, and they are even harder to assess! Let’s see which soft skills will be in demand in IT in 2020 and how outsourcing can help.

   

Desirable soft skills in 2020

As per the Cambridge dictionary, soft skills are “people’s abilities to communicate with each other and work well together”. Soft skills are vital and should not be overlooked during the recruitment process, since they make up to 25% of the competences required to fit a given position and to become a valuable workmate. We all have our own preferences in terms of cooperation in the workplace, which is an important aspect of the employee experience. As per the Global Talent Report 2020, “96% of talent professionals say [that] employee experience is becoming more important”.

The “4 Ps” in terms of the employee experience consist of:

  1. processes,
  2. place,
  3. product
  4. people.

According to a study by LinkedIn, in 2020 companies will be willing to hire people who are:

  • Creative,
  • Persuasive,
  • Collaborative,
  • Adaptable,
  • Emotionally intelligent

Are soft skills important in IT?

Technical skills are easier to assess than personal qualities. That’s why many companies pay close attention to their assessment of the personal attributes of a given specialist during the hiring process. Could we imagine a developer with no creative approach to problem solving whatsoever? As John Romero said, a developer is like an artist: “You have programmers. You might not think that programmers are artists, but programming is an extremely creative profession. It’s logic-based creativity”. Persuasiveness, the ability to collaborate and adapt easily are also important, especially in Agile IT projects. We asked JCommerce specialists themselves to judge whether the abovementioned soft skills are relevant in IT.  

Here is what they say:

Collaboration

The team should be willing and able to do something together, because it is the only way to deliver valuable product to business in an effective manner – says Kamil Czornyj, software tester.

Persuasion

In my view it is important for managers, including of course IT managers, but not for developers. For managers it’s relevant because an employee who carries out delegated tasks without conviction or with the feeling that something has been imposed works ineffectively – claims Tomasz Krupa, Head of Delivery.

Creativity

Creativity is important as it allows us to find better (meaning quicker, or less complicated, requiring a lower workload and fewer people engaged) ways to solve a problem. It is important to get off the so-called beaten tracks, which for many reasons are not always the optimal ones – says Agata Ostrowska, Junior Tester.

Adaptability

It is crucial to adapt your attitude to the team. You cooperate in a different manner with an outgoing person than you do with an introverted one. Despite what is being said, communication is important in IT – says Mariusz Skomra, QA developer.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence allows us to better understand clients’ needs, which helps to optimize the solutions used and to minimize costs – says Joanna Jaromin, Junior Java Developer.

As we can see, IT specialists – testers, developers and managers – believe that soft skills are important in IT, as they foster better cooperation and make the process of software development more efficient.

How to build a perfect team?

Google was interested in finding out what the key aspect of building successful teams is. They measured e.g. how often their employees eat together at work. So what did the results reveal? There is some relationship between productiveness and networking in a workplace. Researchers discovered that the most productive employees tend to have a wider group of dining companions at work. The other interesting result was that the recipe for building a perfect team is actually not about combining the best employees with the highest level of competences – it turned out that some of the most productive teams consist of people who take pleasure in spending their spare time together. According to other studies, good teams are created by people who treat each other well. As we can see, mutual understanding and respect are vital aspects of building successful teams.

Soft skills – how can outsourcing help?

But what does all this have to do with IT outsourcing, one could ask? An IT outsourcing company can help to recruit specialists with suitable soft skills. Outsourcers’ internal HR departments specialize in employing valuable workers, very often taking advantage of dedicated employee referral programs. Thanks to such programs, IT outsourcing companies build teams in which collaboration comes naturally. This is simply because people who work together know and like each other. And here is why team building and assessing soft skills is not your problem anymore. 

Check: Team Delivery

Agile model as a response

While talking about software development and soft skills, what if we emphasize:

  • Processes and tools over individuals and interactions?
  • Comprehensive documentation over working software?
  • Contract negotiation over customer collaboration?
  • Following a plan over responding to change?

These are the core values included in the “Agile Manifesto”, but… formulated the other way round. It makes us feel awkward, as we can see that the relevant values are not as vital as we had thought. Processes are important, but they cannot be prioritized over people and interactions. Customer collaboration has real value, and intuitively we feel that it cannot be emphasized over contract and figures. Following a plan is vital, but by responding to changes, teams and team members maintain flexibility. When deciding on the Agile software development model, we can rest assured that functioning software will come as a result of the work of a collaborative team. Agile teams place emphasis on soft skills – they value communication, flexibility, collaboration and mutual respect.

Read also: Agile nearshore software development

Summary

It is not easy to assess technological skills; it is even harder to assess the personal attributes of a given employee. Outsourcing companies take care of all onboarding-related processes, betting on specialists who will fit snugly into a team. Also, the Agile model, which is gaining popularity in IT outsourcing, fosters the development of soft skills. While considering IT outsourcing in 2020, it might be worth familiarizing yourself with Agile principles and getting to know the range of services offered by outsourcing partners.

Artur Zawada
Team Manager

Team Manager at JCommerce. Responsible for a team of Developers, being first point of contact for them, building and maintaining good relations between employees as well as providing regular feedback and administrative support. In his spare time, he is keen on reading books and swimming. Loves Italy and Italian cuisine.