Technology from a ‘soft’ angle

Mankind has managed to shift from hunting its own food, to almost getting it delivered by drones. Undoubtedly, technology has the protagonist role in these evolutionary jumps and will continue to do so. That is why the most predictable answer to the question “what is the ‘must have’ skill of the preferred candidates today?” would be ‘Information Technology literacy’.

Indeed, Technology, Coding, Programming and AI are the professional areas that demonstrate the highest growth in the last few years. What is interesting to observe however, is that as the need for technology expertise is rising, the need for other set of skills becomes more transparent; skills that have absolutely nothing to do with Coding.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, helps us identify these type of skills, as per his observations through this business-oriented social network, which in fact represents one of the most detailed employment information available today. Weiner supports that the most valuable skills, the skills that employers mostly seek out for, are effective communication, both verbal and written, teamwork and leadership attributes. One may wonder why that is so, considering where the world market is heading and the significance of specialization these days. Why should a technically – equipped professional acquire communication skills, if the job description only requires a high level of technical coding language expertise?  Besides, doesn’t expertise pay much more? Yes, in fact it does – but technical skills are valued at a specific period in time, depending on market trends. Soft skills, on the other hand, have a long-lasting effect.

Interestingly, in a forum on the future of work Jeff Weiner said, “As powerful as AI will ultimately become and is becoming, we’re still a ways away from computers being able to replicate and replace human interaction and human touch, so there’s a wonderful incentive for people to develop these skills because those jobs going to be more stable for a longer period of time.”

The future may be Coding but it does not come solo. It should be accompanied by all other skills that we seem to be taking for granted or expecting that they exist by default. Well, it is a proven fact that emotional learning is more challenging than cognitive learning. For instance, it is more difficult for an individual to learn how to communicate effectively, than to learn a new programing language. Why is that? Because, emotional capabilities draw on different brain areas, which in order to learn a new behavioral skill, would need not only to fit new data into our existing frameworks of association and understanding but to re-tune the neural circuits, in order to replace an old habit with a new one.

Soft skills, therefore, are the most difficult to acquire and develop, that is why they will always be in demand. Soft skills provide the link between all professions, and employers eventually realise that as much as technically skilled an employee is, a set of soft skills is the ingredient to excel.

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