soft skills programming careerWhat more do you need to be successful as a programmer than programming skills? A lot more, actually. Success in the industry depends on a combination of soft skills and technical knowledge. A programmer can only write a properly-working code with critical thinking skills, and he/she needs perseverance to create a complex program after a series of failures.

Programmers will tell you there are a lot of specific skills that go into computer programming. According to some, however, they are not more important than a range of soft skills. One programmer said, “If you can solve problems, learn things quickly, name things well and deal with people, you will have a much greater level of success in the long run than you will in specializing in any particular technology.”

Here are five key soft skills to master if you want to thrive in a programming career:

1. Problem-Solving

As explained in a piece on simpleprogrammer.com, computer programming is about solving problems because “without problems there wouldn’t be a need for software. All software is designed to solve some user problem and within that general solution is a wide array of smaller problems that make it up.”1

Programmers are problem-solvers by occupation, which it is one of the most vital soft skills for success in the industry. The entire basis of the job is to solve issues by creating solutions to what different industries need. After writing codes and creating programs, programmers also find and fix any issues that may appear. This is not often an easy task since even the tiniest of errors has the ability to wreak havoc on a program.

Grantham’s online Introduction to Programming certificate program can help you boost your problem-solving skills. Our curriculum involves challenging real-world problems, so you have applicable experience to use in your career.

2. A Sharp Memory

After staring at complex sequences of programming instructions all day, your brain may feel a little scrambled. This can lead to a jumble of information in your head that may make you forget simple things. While this seems harmless, it can hurt your progress while you’re programming.

A surprising way you may be harming your memory is by multitasking. While many people find the ability to multitask one of the most efficient soft skills, it is not always beneficial for your brain.

The New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Joseph Mercola, states that trying to balance multiple projects may cause you to make more mistakes and mix information. It is easy to forget both small and important information once you start thinking about other tasks you need to complete. Mercola suggests mindfully focusing on one task at a time and only moving to another task upon completion.2

Do you think your memory needs some improvement? There are several techniques you can try! Some easy ways to help your memory include eating foods that boost brain function, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, learning a new hobby and/or playing brain games.

3. Efficient Laziness

This is the opposite of what your parents probably told you. However, some successful people, such as Bill Gates,3 live by a simple mantra: if you want a difficult task done quickly and in the best way, ask a lazy person,4 The reason, they say? People who are lazy will likely find the quickest way to complete a task efficiently. In this context, laziness is not inaction but efficiency. For this to be a positive soft skill, you must complete tasks on time but eliminate waste along the way.

The point of programming is essentially to make processes simpler and more efficient for a company to save time and money.4 In other words, a business needs “lazy” people to automate complex processes that allow everyone else to be a little lazier.

While Grantham can’t teach you how to be “lazy,” we can help teach you the most efficient tactics and routes to take while using different programs, such as JavaScript, HTML, C and C++.

4. Self-Motivation and Independence

Self-motivation sounds like the opposite of laziness. However, the two soft skills create a balance that may help when it comes to tackling complex work and meeting deadlines.

Deadlines are important in a programming career because they often mean making businesses more effective and, most likely, more cost-efficient. Programmers are often left to work alone with projects that can be completed independently. This gives some programmers the option to partly work from home.

If you telecommute, there may be less of a supervisor presence to keep you on track, which means it is your responsibility to keep yourself motivated and meet deadlines.

Programming, especially from outside the office, could require a lot of communication about progress with clients and coworkers. It’s important that you’re able to take initiative and stay on track with deadlines. The ability to self-motivate allows you to be independent and work resourcefully — even if you are “efficiently lazy.”

5. Perseverance

It is rare that a code or a program will work on the first try. It often takes programmers multiple attempts and a lot of work to get an application or webpage to run smoothly. It isn’t uncommon for programmers to scrap hours of work and try a completely different approach. That is why it is so important to be able to handle failure and keep pushing forward if you want to be a programmer.

One way to handle a setback is to look at it “as a challenge rather than a sign of defeat.”4 Errors are like intricate puzzles to solve — they can be frustrating along the way and may take several tries. However, there is a sense of accomplishment once you finally solve them.

Apply These Soft Skills Toward Your Own Programming Career

Before you jump into a programming career, Grantham can help you master both the technical and soft skills that will help you in the future.

Our Introduction to Programming certificate program is the perfect answer for those looking for an exciting and challenging technical career. You can earn your certificate in just eight months with our entirely online program. New courses begin monthly, so you don’t have to wait any longer.

Apply today to master the skills for your future career!

Apply at Grantham

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit http://www.grantham.edu/student-support/gainful-employment-disclosures/

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1 https://simpleprogrammer.com/2012/12/09/the-4-most-important-skills-for-a-software-developer/
2http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/24/memory-improvement-tricks.aspx
3 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/11387292/Why-being-lazy-and-procrastinating-could-make-you-wildly-successful.html
4 https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240644

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