CIOs: Tech Pros Need to Work on Soft Skills


The nation’s CIOs believe that tech professionals need to work on their communication skills.

That’s according to Robert Half Technology’s latest salary guide for tech pros (registration required), which included a survey of 2,500 CIOs across the United States. Some 28 percent of those executives thought that tech pros could improve their communication skills, “including written, interpersonal and face-to-face communication.”

Another 21 percent of CIOs thought that tech pros should focus on boosting their problem-solving abilities, while 18 percent cited work ethic (“including accountability and reliability”). The need for more creative thinking (13 percent), professionalism (9 percent), and business acumen (8 percent) rounded out the list.

Although tech pros spend a considerable amount of time keeping their technical skills up to date (as well they should, given their industry’s rapid evolution), soft skills are just as important when it comes to landing, keeping, and growing within a job. Tech pros are no longer isolated within their companies; depending on their specialty, they may be asked to interface with employees across their organization. Being able to win consensus, as well as explain problems and results, is essential in that context.

But soft skills are more than just the ability to communicate. Flexibility in the face of changing circumstances, engagement with multidisciplinary teams, and even customer service are all necessary skills.

When applying for a new job, effectively demonstrating your soft skills can give you an edge over other, technically adept candidates. Feel free to list a handful of those skills on your résumé, including strong work ethic, stellar communication abilities, problem-solving, and being a team player (and yes, while many of those terms are clichés, they’re catnip to many hiring managers).

Even better, before your job interview, come up with two or three stories that demonstrate how you put your soft skills to effective use in an office context; that will show you have the right mix of abilities for the position.

One Response to “CIOs: Tech Pros Need to Work on Soft Skills”

  1. James Williams

    There is a severe crippling and potentially fatal malaise creeping into all the software we are putting into the millions of products we use everyday. Unless we get back to actually MANAGING software development and doing so with good, experienced managers instead of pretending that we are being very ‘responsive’ and ‘agile’ in our development process, we will destroy much of our technology base – now mind you, we will be very agile in finding new ways to destroy it but it will all end up as nothing more than GARBAGE on a stick anyway.

    Good people don’t quit companies – they quit managers. Too bad everybody seems to think it’s better to be an “Agile” company rather than a “Managed” company.