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With our next course kicking off soon, we have been retrospectively reviewing our courses, analysing the learnings and discussing what we want to achieve. What has resonated is our desire to mould tech into something more welcoming, more accessible, and to create developers that live and breathe this inclusivity ethos.
To do this, we know soft skills are, must be, and always be, an integral part of what we do here. What do we mean by soft skills? Well, here are some examples:

  • Empathy. making technology accessible is something we are crazily passionate about. We believe empathy is key to this- a soft skill we believe can’t be learned, but can be brought to the forefront of our conscious thought through learning.
  • Working together is an obligatory soft skill for a developer today. From pair programming to managing a team and everything in between, teamwork is essential to development success.
  • Being able to talk about your code/your project/your work, and to be able to present it to developers and non-technical people alike is an essential skill.
  • Methodologies such as Agile are skills that make work more effective and more efficient.

As is obvious from the few detailed above, these are essential. So, why are we referring to them as soft skills when, let’s be honest, they are hard to learn!?

“Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured, such as typing, writing, math, reading”. Basically, tangible skills. Due to it being easy to quantify, our education system has invested its focus on imparting hard skills as a priority. It is presumed soft skills are by-products of this system. This can be true, for sure, but there is much lacking. We are not taught to see beyond ourselves, to see beyond the filters of our lives, and creations are targeted at clones of the creator.

Why is it so important, though? The world wide web plays an unbelievably huge role in shaping everything- from politics and fashion, to religion and public opinion. We need to understand the role, power and responsibility of developers in this.

We must make people feel like they’ve been listened to, catered to, included and loved; we need to understand why we are doing, not just what we are doing; we must be able to work with everyone and to want to build diverse teams; we have to understand disability and accessibility; and we need to build for good as well as for profit.

It’s a lot. But that’s the job of a developer. And that is why we think soft skills are hard!