Why Developers Need to Develop Their Soft Skills

by Dave Erickson
8 mins read
  1. Business
  2. Development
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While mastery of programming languages like Python, JavaScript, and frameworks like React can be your ticket into the world of software development, it’s often not enough to keep you there. Soft skills – the abilities that help you interact effectively and harmoniously with other people – are often the unsung heroes in a developer’s toolkit.

In a rapidly evolving industry where remote work is becoming the norm and projects often involve multidisciplinary teams, soft skills act as the glue that binds technical know-how and human interaction. They bridge the gap between isolated coding and collaborative solution creation, making you not just a coder, but a valuable team player.

Why Soft Skills Matter

When you’re part of a digital development agency like ScreamingBox, you’re not just a coder. You’re a collaborator, communicator, and often, a leader. Your technical expertise might get you in the door, but it’s your soft skills that help you navigate the complexities of team dynamics, client relations, and the fast-paced changes in technology. A Harvard Business Review study showed that soft skills training, like communication and problem-solving, boosts productivity and retention rates by up to 12%.

Beyond just boosting productivity and retention, soft skills have a direct impact on client satisfaction. When you can articulate complex technical issues in a manner that’s understandable to non-tech-savvy clients, you’re adding value that transcends coding. For example, a client may not understand the intricacies of back-end development, but they will appreciate a well-timed update and a clear explanation of how a delay in one area could impact the overall timeline. Your ability to communicate effectively can make the difference between a one-time contract and a long-term business relationship.

In an era where automation and Artificial Intelligence are becoming increasingly prevalent, soft skills are the human elements that machines can’t replicate. They make you adaptable, allowing you to effectively pivot when project scopes change or when you’re required to interact with different departments and stakeholders. Ultimately, these skills don’t just make you employable; they make you indispensable.

A Forrester Research report suggests that soft skills will become even more critical as automation continues to evolve, emphasizing that “the future of work is more human than ever.” Ultimately, these skills don’t just make you employable; they make you indispensable. Being indispensable not only assures job security but also opens doors for career advancements, leadership roles, and even opportunities to spearhead projects that align with your professional interests.

How to Develop These Soft Skills Participate in Team-building Activities:

Engaging in group activities isn’t just a break from routine work; it’s an opportunity to enhance your teamwork and communication skills. For example, an escape room challenge can be more than just a game. It pushes team members to communicate effectively, delegate tasks based on strengths, and think critically under time pressure. By participating in such activities, you not only strengthen bonds with colleagues but also cultivate skills that are transferable to your day-to-day work environment.

Attend Workshops and Webinars:

The digital age has made skill improvement more accessible than ever. Many institutions and organizations offer courses specifically designed to improve soft skills. For instance, signing up for a webinar on ‘Effective Communication in the Digital Era’ can teach techniques to convey ideas more succinctly in virtual meetings or written chats. These learning platforms often use real-world scenarios to ensure that the teachings are not just theoretical but immediately applicable.

Learn from Senior Developers:

Senior developers have navigated the technical and interpersonal challenges of the industry for years. Their experience can provide you with invaluable insights into handling various workplace situations. For example, a senior developer might share stories of managing client expectations during a project that went off-track or navigating team conflicts during crunch periods. By seeking mentorship or simply setting regular catch-ups with experienced colleagues, you can absorb lessons that took them years to learn.

Seek Feedback:

Continuous self-improvement requires a certain level of self-awareness. Don’t shy away from constructive criticism. A peer might point out that your emails sometimes come across as curt or that your project updates could be more detailed. Such feedback, while possibly tough to hear, offers you a different perspective and illuminates areas for improvement. Embrace it as an opportunity for growth, and over time, you’ll find yourself becoming a more refined professional.

Implement Mindfulness Techniques:

In our fast-paced world, slowing down might seem counterproductive. However, methods like meditation can substantially improve your focus, patience, and empathy towards others. For example, a developer practicing mindfulness might find it easier to remain calm during stressful debugging sessions or to listen empathetically to a team member’s concerns without immediately jumping to solutions. By dedicating just a few minutes a day to mindfulness exercises, you can cultivate a mental clarity that benefits all facets of your professional life.

Refine Your Language Skills by Talking To Native Speakers or Using AI:

Most communication is verbal or written, in one language or another, although English seems to now be one of the default development languages. Therefore it is critical to have good language skills, especially if English is not your mother tongue. Take the time and make the effort to improve your native language or your English language skills if it is your second language – for fluency in any language you use to communicate with other developers or clients will result in a better work situation. Seek out Native speakers and schedule calls with them to discuss relevant topics in order to practice your fluency and ability to communicate various topics in conversation. You can also check out our podcast on Fluency.io , an app you can use to improve your English fluency.


As you navigate your career in software development, remember that soft skills are not an optional extra, but a necessity. From communication to empathy, these skills not only make you a better developer but also a more rounded individual. By investing in these skills, you’ll be better equipped to handle the dynamic, fast-paced, and ever-changing landscape of today’s tech industry, making you an asset to any team.

Furthermore, as companies like ScreamingBox continue to grow and diversify their client portfolios, having a team of developers with robust soft skills will become increasingly valuable. It’s not just about delivering a functional product; it’s also about delivering an exceptional experience to both teammates and clients. Mastering your soft skills contributes to that goal, ensuring your long-term career success and enriching the teams and projects you’ll be a part of.

Check out our Blog post on Top 8 Soft Skills to Have as a Developer .

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