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What are soft skills for developers?

Updated: Jun 15

Soft skills that every developer should master

Hard skills like coding, debugging, troubleshooting, etc. are vital for getting a job in today’s market. It’s 2023 and there’s quite a lot of talk about economic slowdown. So, yeah, hard skills are crucial.

However, that’s not all that you’re going to need if you want to land a remote developer job today. Given that remote teams usually work from around the world and there’s little to no physical interaction, soft skills like communication, teamwork, and EQ (Emotional Intelligence) are becoming increasingly important in today’s job market.

That’s what this article is about. We’ll take a look at what soft skills are, why they’re important, and what are the soft skills that recruiters are actively seeking out when hiring remote developers.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are personal attributes and interpersonal abilities that enable individuals to interact effectively with others, adapt to various situations, and successfully achieve their goals.

These skills, often intangible and non-technical, encompass traits like communication, teamwork, problem-solving, adaptability, emotional intelligence, and time management, contributing to one's overall success in personal and professional settings.

With that in mind, let's get started.

Soft Skills for Developers:

Communication Skills

This one’s a no-brainer, of course. Effective communication is an indispensable soft skill that every developer should possess. Not only does it foster a positive work environment, but it also helps streamline project management and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Let’s dive into three key aspects of communication skills for developers: written, verbal, and interpersonal communication.

First, let's talk about written communication. As a developer, you'll often need to convey complex ideas and technical information through written means, whether it's an email to your team or documentation for your latest project. Writing clearly and concisely is crucial to avoid misinterpretation or confusion. Here are some tips to improve your written communication:

  1. Keep it simple: Use plain language and avoid jargon when possible. If you must use technical terms, provide explanations for those who may not be familiar with them.

  2. Structure your text: Break up large blocks of text with headings, subheadings, and bullet points. This makes it easier for readers to follow your train of thought and locate specific information.

  3. Proofread and edit: Typos and grammatical errors can undermine your credibility and distract readers from your message. Always double-check your work and consider asking a colleague to review it as well.

Now, let's move on to verbal communication. While developers are often stereotyped as introverted or shy, the ability to speak confidently and clearly in meetings or presentations is essential. Here's how you can hone your verbal communication skills:

  1. Practice makes perfect: Rehearse what you plan to say before important meetings or presentations. You can do this in front of a mirror, with a friend, or even record yourself to identify areas for improvement.

  2. Active listening: Don't just wait for your turn to speak—pay attention to what others are saying and ask relevant questions to show your engagement. This demonstrates that you value their input and fosters a collaborative environment.

Interpersonal communication is the third component of effective communication for developers. Building strong relationships with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders is vital to your professional success. Here's how you can enhance your interpersonal communication skills:

  1. Build rapport: Make an effort to connect with others on a personal level. This can be as simple as remembering their names, engaging in small talk, or taking an interest in their lives outside of work.

  2. Resolve conflicts: Disagreements are inevitable in any workplace, and developers are no exception. Instead of avoiding confrontation, address issues head-on and work collaboratively to find a solution that satisfies all parties involved.

By mastering these communication skills, you'll not only become a better developer, but you'll also become a valuable team player that employers and colleagues will appreciate.

Remember, effective communication is a skill that can be learned and refined over time, so don't be discouraged if you don't see immediate results.

Keep practicing, stay open to feedback, and watch your professional relationships flourish as your communication skills improve.

Finally, great communication not only helps you while you’re working, but it’s also a great skill when it comes to finding work and negotiating salaries!

Teamwork and Collaboration

Teamwork and collaboration are at the heart of the tech industry. As a developer, you'll likely be working with a diverse group of people, each bringing their unique skills and perspectives to the table.

In this section, we'll explore three essential aspects of teamwork and collaboration for developers: working effectively in a team, using collaboration tools and techniques, and embracing diversity and inclusion.

Working effectively in a team is crucial for delivering successful projects and fostering a healthy work environment.

Here are some tips to help you adapt to different working styles and personalities, and build trust with your teammates:

  1. Stay open-minded: Recognize that each team member has a unique approach to problem-solving and might have different preferences when it comes to communication and work styles. Be willing to adapt and find ways to work effectively with all your teammates.

  2. Communicate openly and honestly: Transparent communication is key to building trust within your team. Share your ideas, concerns, and progress updates regularly, and encourage others to do the same.

  3. Give and receive feedback: Constructive feedback is vital for professional growth and continuous improvement. Be open to receiving feedback and willing to provide it to your teammates when necessary.

  4. Celebrate success: Acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of your team members, no matter how big or small. This fosters a positive atmosphere and motivates everyone to keep striving for success.

Collaboration tools and techniques can greatly enhance your team's efficiency and productivity.

As a developer, you'll want to familiarize yourself with various project management tools and coding practices to streamline teamwork:

Project management tools:

Tools like Trello, Asana, and Jira can help keep your team organized and on track. These platforms enable you to create tasks, assign responsibilities, set deadlines, and monitor progress in real-time.

Make sure to use these tools effectively by keeping your tasks up-to-date and communicating any changes or updates with your team.

Code reviews and pair programming:

Participating in code reviews is an excellent way to improve code quality and share knowledge among your team members. By reviewing each other's work, you can identify potential issues and learn from one another.

Pair programming, where two developers work together on a single task, can also enhance collaboration and knowledge-sharing. It encourages real-time feedback and problem-solving, resulting in better code and a more cohesive team.

Embracing diversity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do but can also lead to a more innovative and successful team.

Diverse perspectives and experiences can drive creativity and result in better problem-solving.

Here are some ways to promote diversity and inclusion within your team:

  • Value diverse perspectives: Recognize that each team member brings unique insights, experiences, and skills to the table. Encourage open discussions and be receptive to different viewpoints, even if they challenge your own ideas.

  • Foster a culture of inclusion: Create an environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas without fear of judgment or exclusion. Encourage team members to share their opinions and listen actively to what they have to say.

  • Encourage mentorship and knowledge-sharing: Promote a culture where team members can learn from one another, regardless of their background or expertise. This not only helps individuals grow professionally but also strengthens the team as a whole.

  • Address biases and stereotypes: Be aware of any unconscious biases or stereotypes you may have, and make an effort to overcome them. Recognize the value of diversity in the workplace and actively challenge any discriminatory behaviors or attitudes within your team.

Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking

Problem-solving and critical thinking are essential soft skills for developers, enabling them to tackle complex challenges and come up with innovative solutions.

Let’s look at three key aspects of problem-solving and critical thinking: analytical thinking, creativity and innovation, and decision-making.

Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking involves breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable parts and identifying patterns or trends in data.

This is something that you’ll usually have to do even during your technical interviews. You’re just applying it differently here.

As a developer, you’ll often be faced with intricate tasks that require a deep understanding of various factors.

Here are some tips to sharpen your analytical thinking skills:

  1. Break it down: When faced with a complicated issue, deconstruct it into smaller, simpler components. This will help you better understand the problem and identify potential solutions more effectively.

  2. Look for patterns: Analyze data and information related to the problem to identify any recurring patterns or trends. Recognizing these patterns can help you predict outcomes and make more informed decisions.

  3. Ask the right questions: Inquiring about the right aspects of the problem can lead to valuable insights. Challenge assumptions, and don't be afraid to ask questions that may seem obvious or straightforward.

Creativity and Innovation

While there’s a lot of talk about how amazing ChatGPT is and how good it is at coding, the fact is that it lacks creativity. ChatGPT may be great for programmers, but this is one of the reasons that it won’t replace them.

Great developers help generate new ideas and solutions that drive progress and success.

Being creative and innovative not only sets you apart from your peers but also enables you to approach problems from fresh angles.

Here's how you can cultivate creativity and innovation:

  1. Think outside the box: Encourage yourself to explore unconventional ideas and solutions. Sometimes, the most effective answers come from taking a different perspective or approach.

  2. Embrace failure: Don't be afraid to make mistakes or fail. Instead, view these experiences as opportunities to learn and grow. Reflect on what went wrong, and use this knowledge to improve your problem-solving skills moving forward.

  3. Collaborate with others: Working with a diverse group of individuals can inspire creativity and lead to innovative solutions. Share your ideas with teammates and listen to their input, as they may offer fresh perspectives or insights.


Decision-making is the final piece of the problem-solving and critical-thinking puzzle. As a developer, you'll often need to make decisions under pressure and with limited information.

Here's how you can improve your decision-making skills:

  1. Evaluate pros and cons: Before making a decision, carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option. This will help you make an informed choice based on the most relevant factors.

  2. Prioritize: Identify the most critical aspects of the problem and focus on finding solutions for those first. This will help you make decisions more efficiently and effectively.

  3. Stay calm under pressure: When faced with a high-stress situation, it's essential to remain composed and focused. Take a few deep breaths, and remind yourself that you have the skills and knowledge to tackle the challenge at hand.

  4. Learn from your decisions: Reflect on past decisions to better understand your thought process and identify areas for improvement. Consider what worked, what didn't, and how you can apply these lessons to future decision-making scenarios.

Keep in mind that these skills take a lot of time to develop. Continue to challenge yourself, learn from your experiences, and collaborate with others to develop your problem-solving and critical thinking abilities further.

Remember, problem-solving and critical thinking skills are essential for developers, and cultivating them will undoubtedly benefit your career in the long run.

Stay curious, embrace challenges, and don't be afraid to take risks as you continue to grow and develop your expertise in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

Time Management and Organization

Time management and organization are critical soft skills for developers, as they help ensure projects are delivered on time and resources are used effectively. Again, let’s break it down into three simple points and look at them individually: prioritization and setting goals, efficient use of time, and organizing tasks and resources.

Prioritization and setting goals:

Prioritization and setting goals are crucial for managing your workload and staying on track with your projects. By identifying high-impact tasks and balancing long-term projects with short-term deadlines, you'll be better equipped to manage your time and achieve success.

Here are some strategies for effective prioritization and goal-setting:

  • Determine high-impact tasks: Assess your tasks and identify those that have the greatest impact on your projects and goals. Focus on these tasks first to ensure you're making the most significant progress.

  • Set SMART goals: When setting goals, make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. SMART goals provide clarity and direction, making it easier to allocate your time and resources effectively.

  • Break down large projects: Divide long-term projects into smaller, manageable tasks with clear deadlines. This will help you stay organized and maintain momentum, even when juggling multiple projects.

Efficient use of time:

Efficient use of time is another vital aspect of time management and organization for developers. By utilizing time management techniques and minimizing distractions, you can maximize productivity and stay focused on your goals.

Here are some tips for using your time efficiently:

Time management strategies:

  • Experiment with different time management techniques, such as the Pomodoro Technique, time blocking, and to-do lists. The Pomodoro Technique is about breaking down your work into small, focused intervals. 25 minutes is a good mark to aim for.

  • Minimize distractions: Identify the distractions that hinder your productivity and take steps to minimize them. This could involve turning off notifications, using website blockers, or setting boundaries with colleagues during focused work periods.

  • Maintain focus: Train yourself to stay focused on the task at hand by setting short-term goals and rewarding yourself for completing them. This will help you build momentum and make it easier to stay on track.

Organizing tasks:

Organizing tasks and resources is the final component of effective time management and organization for developers.

By keeping track of tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities, and using digital tools for organization and planning, you'll be better equipped to manage your workload and deliver projects on time.

Here are some strategies for organizing tasks and resources:

  • Task management tools: Make use of digital tools like Asana, Trello, or Todoist to keep track of tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities. These platforms enable you to create, assign, and monitor tasks, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks.

  • Document organization: Organize your digital files and documents using a clear and consistent naming system and folder structure. This will make it easier to locate and access the information you need when you need it.

  • Plan ahead: Set aside time each week or month to plan and review your tasks, deadlines, and goals. This will help you stay organized and ensure you're on track to achieve your objectives.

Make sure you master prioritization and efficient use of time. It might help you more than you realize in getting a great job at your dream company.

Adaptability and Continuous Learning

Adaptability and continuous learning are indispensable soft skills for developers in the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of technology.

Let’s explore two essential aspects of adaptability and continuous learning: embracing change and staying agile, and proactive learning and personal development.

Embrace Change:

Embracing change and staying agile is crucial for developers who need to keep up with the rapid pace of technological advancements and changing industry standards.

By adapting to new technologies and methodologies and navigating through uncertainty and ambiguity, you'll be better equipped to handle challenges and stay relevant in your field.

Here are some strategies for staying agile and embracing change:

  • Keep an open mind: Be open to new ideas, technologies, and methodologies, and don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. This willingness to learn and adapt will help you stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive in the tech industry.

  • Stay informed: Regularly read industry blogs, attend conferences and participate in online forums to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in your field. By staying informed, you'll be better prepared to adapt to changes as they arise.

  • Be resilient: Embrace the uncertainty and ambiguity that come with change, and develop the resilience to navigate through challenges. Learning to cope with setbacks and obstacles will make you more adaptable and better equipped to handle change.

Proactive learning:

Proactive learning and personal development are essential for developers who want to stay relevant and advance in their careers.

By pursuing relevant certifications and courses and engaging in self-directed learning and knowledge-sharing, you'll continually develop your skills and expertise.

Here are some tips for proactive learning and personal development:

  • Pursue certifications and courses: Identify the skills and knowledge most relevant to your field and career goals, and pursue certifications and courses that will help you develop these competencies. This could include programming languages, frameworks, or even soft skills like project management or communication.

  • Engage in self-directed learning: Take charge of your own learning by setting aside time to read articles, watch tutorials, or complete online courses related to your field. This self-directed approach allows you to focus on the topics that interest you most and fill in any gaps in your knowledge.

  • Share your knowledge: Participate in knowledge-sharing opportunities, such as giving presentations, writing blog posts, or mentoring junior developers. Sharing your expertise not only helps others but also reinforces your own understanding and can even lead to new insights.

  • Network with professionals: Connect with other professionals in your field by attending meetups, joining online forums, or participating in social media groups. Networking can provide valuable learning opportunities and expose you to new ideas, trends, and best practices.

  • Set personal development goals: Regularly assess your skills and knowledge, and set specific, achievable personal development goals. Monitor your progress and adjust your goals as needed to ensure you're continually growing and improving.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is an often-overlooked soft skill for developers, but it's crucial for success in the workplace. EQ involves the ability to recognize, understand, and manage your own emotions while also being attuned to the emotions of others.

Today, we'll delve into two essential aspects of emotional intelligence: self-awareness and self-regulation, and empathy and understanding others.

Self-awareness and Self-regulation

Self-awareness and self-regulation involve identifying personal strengths and weaknesses and managing stress while maintaining composure.

Developing these skills will help you navigate challenges, communicate more effectively, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Here are some strategies for improving self-awareness and self-regulation:

  • Reflect on your emotions: Regularly take the time to assess your emotional state and identify the emotions you're experiencing. This will help you become more in tune with your feelings and better equipped to manage them.

  • Identify strengths and weaknesses: Recognize your areas of expertise and areas where you need improvement. By being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you can focus on developing skills that will enhance your overall effectiveness as a developer.

  • Manage stress: Learn effective stress management techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or physical activity, to help you maintain composure during challenging situations.

  • Set realistic expectations: Be honest with yourself about what you can realistically achieve, and set achievable goals that align with your skills and resources. This will help you avoid unnecessary stress and frustration.


Empathy and understanding others involve recognizing and validating the emotions of others while providing support and encouragement.

Developing these skills will help you build stronger relationships with your colleagues, clients, and stakeholders, leading to a more harmonious and productive work environment. Here are some tips for cultivating empathy and understanding others:

Practice active listening:

When engaging in conversations, focus on truly understanding the other person's perspective and emotions. Ask open-ended questions, paraphrase their statements to ensure you've grasped their meaning, and offer feedback to show you're engaged and empathetic.

Recognize nonverbal cues:

Pay attention to body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice, as these can provide valuable insights into how others are feeling. By being attuned to these nonverbal cues, you'll be better equipped to respond empathetically and provide support when needed.

Validate emotions:

When someone shares their emotions with you, acknowledge and validate their feelings. This shows that you're genuinely interested in their well-being and helps build trust and rapport.

Offer support and encouragement:

Be there for your colleagues and peers when they're facing challenges or experiencing strong emotions. Offer a listening ear, provide constructive feedback, and encourage them to overcome obstacles.

As a developer, having strong EQ will enable you to communicate more effectively, collaborate more efficiently, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Emotional intelligence is a critical soft skill for developers who want to excel in their careers and foster a positive work environment.


Soft skills aren’t just buzzwords that employers use when they’re looking to hire an employee. The fact is that soft skills, though intangible, impact you and those around you, a lot. Your behavior, communication skills, empathy — these are all crucial if you want to advance your career beyond a certain point.

So, make sure you develop soft skills because these are very learnable skills, and putting in the effort is well worth it.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a remote developer job, check out Simple Job Listings. It’s a website to find remote jobs. All jobs on Simple Job Listings are remote, most pay really well, and a significant number of jobs posted here simply aren’t posted anywhere else.

Check out Simple Job Listings and find your dream remote developer job. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What soft skills do you need as a developer?

Developers need two types of soft skills. Analytical skills and EQ skills. The former helps them with their technical work whereas the latter helps them work in a team. So, some of the more important soft skills are analytical thinking, creativity, decision-making, time management, organization, planning, effective use of time, proactive learning, empathy, patience, and active listening.

Is programming a soft skill?

No, programming isn't a soft skill. It's a hard skill. It's technical knowledge that you need to do your job. Soft skills are usually those that help you excel at your job. Hard skills are those that you need to do your job.

Why are soft skills important for developers?

Soft skills are important for developers because it helps you work as a part of a team. Though developers' work is technical, it requires you to interact with peers, superiors, and subordinates constantly. Soft skills will help you have better professional relationships with all of them.

Additionally, soft skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and time management will actually help you be a better developer.

What soft skills do employers rank most important?

The ability to work as a part of a team is the most important soft skill that employers look for. No matter how good a developer is, if they cannot be a part of a team and if they don't know how to work with a team, they're pretty much useless. So, the ability to work as a part of a team and communicate well is the most important soft skill. Adaptability, critical thinking, and problem-solving are quite important, too.

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