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Soft Skills for Software Engineers - Teamwork

Although developers spend a sizable part of the day working independently, collaborating as part of a team is still vital, as it’s often the best way to create a coherent product.

Software development is a team sport. While you can be a developer team of one in reality, you will work with more people. If there are no more developers in your company, then the chances are you will be working with more designers, PMs, and customers. In any case, slim are the chances of you being entirely alone on a project.

This means that you will need to be able to work in a team. It’s not easy as some people are notoriously difficult to work with. This means that you need to rely on several soft skills listed here. That includes patience, #empathy, #communication, and #timemanagement – at least.

Developers should remain conscious of team goals and interface with colleagues regularly. However, such interactions don’t necessarily have to be in person. Online collaboration tools, including Slack, G Suite, and Trello, are fantastic ways to keep in touch and up to date on the latest projects.

While it comes with a set of challenges, teamwork is essential and leads to better results. And if this sounds like a cliché – keep in mind that there is a growing body of research showing that people work better in teams.

Approachability and Helpfulness

At some point, someone’s going to want to ask you something. It could be about your tasks for the day, about an issue or a bug, or just about your plans for the weekend. Being approachable is key.

For many, there’s nothing more enjoyable than picking out a favorite album, slipping on some headphones, and getting down to work.

Unfortunately, from an approachability point of view, this is the equivalent of your manager going into her office, closing the door, and lowering the blinds. It signals that she doesn’t want to chat; if she spends the entire day in her office like this, it basically tells everyone to stay away.

If people don’t feel they can approach you and ask you something, when something goes wrong, they’re less likely to ask you for help. That could mean that a little problem soon evolves into a big one. Not being approachable or helpful also means that others are less likely to help you, where you need it.

If you can establish a rapport with people, they’re more likely to work with you and not against you. Make it clear to people when you don’t have time to communicate by putting headphones in when you’re busy and setting yourself offline on the company chat. If someone still approaches you, set a time when you can meet to discuss things.


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