5 Most Valuable Soft Skills for Remote Developers

Skilled Programmers with Strong Soft Skills and Innovative Ideas

According to predictions, there will be a 17% increase in demand for software engineers by the year 2023. This means that numerous organisations are searching for remote software developers to hire. However, with many qualified candidates in the market, it can be challenging to select the right software engineer for the job. Recruiters can evaluate indicators other than technical aptitude or work experience to identify individuals who will make exceptional IT professionals. Recognizing these traits is crucial to making the right hire.

When hiring remote engineers, managers must consider a potential employee’s interpersonal skills as these traits, which are more personality-based than technical proficiency, are equally significant alongside technical capability. Some desirable soft skills among developers include the ability to learn swiftly, self-motivation, effective communication, and efficient planning. According to recent surveys, recruiters now value both hard and soft skills equally, with around 66% of respondents stating that self-motivation is a critical soft skill for job applicants.

When selecting appropriate candidates for a role, soft skills can be a significant deciding factor among similarly qualified software engineers. Therefore, here are five essential steps that should be considered to evaluate the soft skills of remote software engineers:

  1. Evaluate their communication abilities, which involve their competence in both sharing and receiving feedback and instructions.
  2. Analyse their decision-making and problem-solving skills, which encompass their proficiency in recognising, evaluating, and resolving potential problems.
  3. Evaluate their ability to operate independently as well as in a collaborative environment, which includes being able to function creatively with limited supervision.
  4. Consider their attitude and proactivity, which encompass their willingness to take responsibility and accountability for their work tasks.
  5. Evaluate their emotional intelligence, which includes their ability to understand and manage emotions in themselves and others, through traits such as empathy and self-awareness.

Companies following these instructions would be able to identify software engineers who possess the required soft skills to succeed in a telecommuting work environment.

1. They avoid using jargon or specialised terminology

Remote engineers usually rely on online collaboration tools such as Slack, email, and Jira to work together, making it crucial to possess excellent written and verbal communication skills. Clear and concise communication is critical in reducing scheduling conflicts, project errors, and strained relationships. When searching for remote engineers with excellent communication skills, identifying those who prefer to speak in plain and simple language is beneficial rather than those who use jargon. Studies indicate that successful businesses employ jargon-free communication twice as often as average businesses as it reduces the risk of misinterpretation and errors.

Assessing a candidate’s electronic communication is a sound method of evaluating their communication skills, including their ability to professionally use jargon. It’s crucial to note if they accurately understand the key concepts discussed and if their responses are reflective and thorough. Furthermore, using the correct names of companies and procedures is critical, rather than solely describing them. Analysing the language they use is a way of determining whether someone is communicating professionally or not.

2. They are not hesitant to use Google as a resource

Skilled developers may come across as arrogant and overly obsessed with showcasing their technical expertise instead of ensuring their projects are efficient and effective. Additionally, they may opt for complicated solutions instead of searching for simpler approaches to problem-solving. Despite this, online searches can provide reliable information sources. Numerous credible forums like r/DotNet and StackOverflow permit developers to interact and help each other by asking and answering one another’s questions.

To assess an interviewee’s problem-solving skills, asking them about a challenging situation they faced in the past and the approach they used to solve it can be fruitful. Additionally, inquiring about the sources they rely on for advice provides insight into their resourcefulness. Analysing their answers to these questions can offer a useful measure of their problem-solving abilities.

3. They are unafraid to speak up when necessary

It is natural for team members to feel hesitant in highlighting potential weak spots in the team’s workflow, as they don’t want to appear accusatory of their colleagues. Additionally, remote employees often adopt a more subdued and respectful attitude while joining a new team, as opposed to when working at the office. However, this approach can be detrimental to the team, as a developer who is keen on improving software development efficiency for the team shouldn’t be overly reserved and polite.

Not emphasising the importance of notes or issues could cause challenges to be resolved days after their occurrence. This problem magnifies when remote engineers collaborate with a team in another time zone. Ultimately, developers should not be afraid to express their thoughts and opinions; doing so can help utilise collective knowledge effectively.

To assess a developer’s verbal proficiency, deliberately insert an error and inform them about it while enquiring to seek their expert opinion to fix it. Observe whether they can spot the mistake, propose a resolution, or suggest an alternative by seeking their inputs.

4. They actively engage in dialogue

Initially, this might appear to be a repetition of the third soft skill. However, individuals who can convey their opinions proficiently may not necessarily excel at updating others about progress.

Undoubtedly, communication through Slack discussions and email is sometimes limited and may result in the loss of vital information. However, these techniques remain the most convenient means to stay connected with teams and remote developers. Open communication channels are invaluable as they ensure that all parties stay informed about project progress and offer insights into aspects of the development process that may not be immediately relevant to everyone. Maintaining such communication not only reflects devotion to the project but also fosters better understanding between the team and the developer, leading to improved teamwork ultimately.

5. They comprehend the elements that led to their software’s success

Often, we may feel content with the outcome of a project, even if we do not entirely comprehend the reasons behind its success. However, this does not mean that developers should not care about their work. Asking questions like ‘why?’ is crucial to achieving a deeper understanding of the project and its functionality. Failing to do so can indicate a lack of interest in the undertaking and a reluctance to acquire new knowledge. A developer who does not spend time researching and exploring the project is not performing to the best of their ability.

By examining why a specific technology is successful, a developer can enhance their ability to duplicate or enhance success in the future. Without a curious approach to fully comprehend the nuances of their job and duties, a candidate’s proficiency may be severely limited.

While reviewing past work, it is crucial to question applicants about the reasons behind their success. Additionally, it is constructive to delve deeper into some of these accomplishments and request demonstrations illustrating how they achieved them. This brief discussion aids in evaluating the candidate’s comprehension, attention to detail, and dedication towards their work.

Remote Developers Must Possess Robust Interpersonal Skills.

Incorporating an assessment of soft skills alongside an applicant’s qualifications and experience can enhance the success of recruitment. However, to effectively evaluate these skills, recruiters must first be cognizant of the specific traits to observe during the screening process.

Most web resources that provide contact details of remote developers do not authenticate their credibility before making it accessible to employers. This provides companies with a wider pool of potential candidates. To ensure you can source dependable developers, it is wise to opt for a service that conducts thorough screening of developers before sharing their contact information with firms seeking to outsource development work.

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