There are a lot of remote software jobs ready to be filled. However, even with so many candidates to choose from, why are so many still not selected? The answer lies in the fact that there are more than just hard skills needed to survive in this fast-paced remote world. For the longest time, soft skills were relegated to the back burner for much of the skilled workforce. It was important for a select few to have them. But as time went by, the need for soft skills rose. One could no longer depend on just technical skills. It can be said that software engineers were the last to enter into the fold of soft skills. Once things became more remote, the need went up multifold.
The need for a soft skillset in a remote software job
The need for a soft skillset in a remote software job is of utmost importance. The fact remains, like it or not; one needs to have them and, if not, needs to train to gain them.
So what is that all-important skill set needed for a remote software job?
1) Creativity and Insight
Software engineers have the creativity and the wherewithal to have insight in solving problems as and when they crop up. But, unfortunately, there is no ready manager and/or peer to help out by looking over the shoulder. As a result, they need to think on their feet many times to push through the daily grind.
There is also a need for creativity to keep one’s mind active and agile. Working in a remote setting can get exhausting when there is no avenue to refresh and unwind. Then, things start to get complicated, and if team leads are unable to handle the fatigue, they most likely will lose out on team productivity due to burnout and stress-related issues.
A creative mindset is an insightful mindset. And collectively, remote teams had proven to be more creative and insightful than a homogenous in-office team when efficiently handled.
2) Priority, Organization, and Time Management
Goes without saying – a remote software engineer has the freedom to work whenever they want as long as their tasks are efficiently done. However, one needs to realize that to remain on top of things, being able to efficiently prioritize, organize and manage time would make this doable in the long run. Being an inefficient worker and working close to deadlines is not a healthy mode of work. It is not even sustainable. So to make things work smoother and like clockwork, the skills of being efficient in time management through organizing and prioritizing tasks are very important.
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3) Openness, Empathy, Emotional Intelligence, and Communication
Ah, so here we come to what we call good emotionally intelligent and empathetic, open communicators. It May seem a lot, but it simply has strong communication skills. Remote teams must be open when it comes to communicating. Solving problems and overcoming hiccups actually becomes a fun activity rather than a stressful one. Not being open and honest enough about problems can lead to larger problems jeopardizing projects and timelines. If remote teams cannot use their emotional intelligence effectively, they are in danger of imploding, leading companies nowhere.
This skill(s) may seem to be the least important but maybe the most important ones. The fact of the matter remains that top-down and bottom-up communication lines need to be open and clear. Remote engineers are not used to being bossed around and need to be “handled with care” – well, at least differently.
4) Flexibility and Collaboration
This brings us to the last point. More in sync with the point above, flexibility and collaboration are more about how remote software engineers and team leads can remotely manage each other’s temperaments. While one has the “flexibility” of not wanting to communicate, this would definitely not work. There should be flexibility in working together and collaborating to come to mutually agreed-upon solutions to move forward.
Software engineers need to get out of their hermit mode, which was quite the norm, and learn how to deal with the world (quite literally). No longer is it feasible to cocoon oneself with a computer and type away furiously – coding as if their lives depended on it. Now things have “opened up” as borders blur, and one has to interact with people from all places, regardless of caste, creed, or religion.
Things have certainly become more interesting as more and more jobs are going remote. But a remote software job is the most in need of a non-tech overhaul, and software engineers need to realize there is no hiding from the fact that they need to start living in the real world – even if it is remotely.