SoftSkills.app is a comprehensive Soft Skills Assessment and Self-Improvement training program designed specifically for Software Engineers.
Why Soft Skills Training is Important for Software Engineers
Learning how to code does not prepare a software engineer for the realities of working on cross-functional teams in a professional work environment. Honing soft skills is especially important for Software Engineers working in Agile software development methodologies such as Scrum. Software Engineers who work on Agile teams need a wide array of Soft Skills to transition from an individual programmer to a highly productive and respected team member.
Companies are increasingly looking for soft skills in addition to the technical skills that a Software Engineer provides. Interviews for Software Engineers will continue to screen for soft skills such as communication, rather than just hard skills such as programming ability or being able to code a solution to a problem.
Learning how to avoid distractions, focus on business objectives, and deliver on commitments are just a few of the essential skills required to have a long and successful career in software development. By mastering Soft Skills, software engineers can:
- Develop productive working relationships with their co-workers, no matter their professional specialties or cultural background.
- Collaborate with business stakeholders to design and build the best product for the customer.
- Learn to improve their technical skills over time while still maintaining a high level of day-to-day performance.
- Deliver the highest-quality work in the shortest possible period while still maintaining a work-life balance.
- Gain recognition for their individual and group contributions.
- Place themselves in the best position for career advancement.
Software Engineers who are just starting their careers need different types of Soft Skill training than those with more experience. However, even experienced Software Engineers will have gaps in their soft skills knowledge that will need to be identified and addressed. To make sure the right level of Soft Skill training is provided in the right areas, assessing a software engineer's current level of Soft Skill knowledge is crucial.
The Challenge of Providing Soft Skills Training to Software Engineers
Often managers will find it challenging to provide Soft Skills coaching to Software Engineers for several reasons:
- Willingness - Software Engineers will often not recognize that they lack soft skills, and as a result, may resist receiving training.
- Privacy - It can be embarrassing to admit gaps in Soft Skills knowledge in front of your peers, leading to avoiding training in group settings.
- Time - Soft Skill take time to develop, and time is a scarce resource for software developers as they are usually under considerable pressure to deliver code.
- Convenience - It is difficult for an organization to stop progress on software development projects when working to meet a deadline.
- Attention - Being technology-native, software developers are among the most distracted employees a company can have.
- Persuasion - Even the most open-minded software engineer will be resistant to Soft Skills coaching if they do not trust the source.
The SoftSkills.app training program addresses each of these challenges as follows:
- Willingness - By taking a non-judgmental assessment at their own pace, Software Engineers can decide themselves if they would benefit from improving in specific Soft Skill areas.
- Privacy - Software Engineers use an application as a training tool, eliminating the fear of revealing a critical lack of knowledge in front of their peers.
- Time - As the program recommends only the training you need, Software Engineers can elect to skip over coaching topics they already know.
- Convenience - Podcasts are a very familiar way that Software Engineers use to gain knowledge as they work, while they are commuting, or while doing chores.
- Attention - The 13 hours of Soft Skills coaching are broken up into 42 podcasts, allowing a software developer to jump around any of the 126 topics that interest them the most.
- Persuasion - Unlike regular Soft Skills training, SoftSkills.app was designed by Software Engineers for Software Engineers. Each coaching podcast is presented by a Lead Software Architect with over 20 years of professional software development experience. This allows for an authentic coaching experience that bridges concepts and fills gaps in ways that make sense to the mind of a programmer.
How the SoftSkills.app training program works
There are 5 steps to the SoftSkills.app Soft Skills Assessment and Self-Improvement training program:
- Take a Soft Skills Knowledge Assessment
- Get Scored Across 14 Soft Skill Categories
- Gain Access to 42 Soft Skills Coaching Podcasts
- Listen to Coaching on 126 Soft Skill Topics
- Re-take Assessment Categories to Improve Scores
(1) Take a Soft Skills Knowledge Assessment
Software Engineers start by taking a Soft Skills Assessment. They are presented with 252 statements and must express how strongly they agree or disagree with each statement. While there are no right-or-wrong answers, agreeing or disagreeing with a statement can give a clear indication that there is a gap in their Soft Skills knowledge.
The following are statements taken from the "Communication" section of the Soft Skills Assessment:
- "Trust is very hard to earn and very easy to lose."
- "I need to avoid telling the truth when the truth might upset someone."
- "If you are arguing with someone, then something has gone wrong with team communication."
- "Communicating assertively allows you to say anything to anyone."
- "People need to respect me for me to respect them."
There are 7 options presented for each statement corresponding to how much a Software Engineer agrees or disagrees with each statement:
- Strongly Agrees
- Somewhat Agrees
- Slightly Agrees
- Slightly Disagrees
- Somewhat Disagrees
- Strongly Disagrees
Depending on how much time a Software Engineer spends thinking about their answers, the Assessment may take between 20 and 40 minutes. The Assessment can be paused and resumed at any time, and once completed, individual sections can be retaken from the Soft Skills Scorecard.
(2) Get Scored Across 14 Soft Skill Categories
The results of taking the Soft Skills Assessment is a Soft Skills Scorecard that shows the Software Engineer as having an either low, medium or high understanding of a particular Soft Skill Category:
- Communication - How well you communicate
- Teamwork - How well you work with a team
- Curiosity - How much interest you have in learning new things
- Initiative - How much you desire to start new things
- Skill Level - How well you code
- Attention to Detail - How well you understand and implement requirements
- Business Focus - How much you care about the goals of the business
- Deadline Focus - How much you care about deadlines
- Estimate Accuracy - How accurate your estimates are
- Productivity - How much work you produce per unit time
- Criticality - How important you are to an organization
- Marketability - How easily you can find a new job
- Adaptability - How well you can adapt to a new environment
- Risk Tolerance - How much you fear failure
(3) Gain Access to 42 Soft Skills Coaching Podcasts
Once a Software Engineer has completed their Soft Skills Assessment, they will be presented with their Soft Skills Scorecard. Their score for each Soft Skill Category is represented as a colored bar indicating if they received a high, medium, or low score for that category.
How a Software Engineer Scored for each of the 14 Soft Skills Categories will result in a particular Soft Skills Coaching Podcast being recommended as a starting point:
- Low Score - The "Basic" Podcast is recommended
- Medium Score - The "Intermediate" Podcast is recommended
- High Score - The "Advanced" Podcast is recommended.
(4) Listen to Coaching on 126 Soft Skill Topics
Once a Software Engineer has taken the Assessment to generate their Soft Skills Scorecard, each category can be expanded to reveal a Coaching Podcast media player. This media player allows for navigation between the Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Coaching Podcasts for the Soft Skills Category as well as present the option to jump to a specific topic.
Each of the 14 Soft Skills Categories includes 3 Coaching Podcasts for Basic, Intermediate, or Advanced levels. Each Podcast covers 3 topics, resulting in 126 Topics in total:
14 Categories * 3 Podcasts * 3 Topics = 126 Topics
The following are the topics presented for in the 3 Coaching Podcasts for each of the 14 Soft Skill categories:
- Communication - Respect, Honesty, Trust, Assertiveness, Debate, Consensus, Persuasion, Aggressiveness, and Manipulation.
- Teamwork - Individuality, Mission, Alignment, Strengths, Weaknesses, Balance, Leadership, Ownership, and Obstacles.
- Curiosity - Thinking, Intelligence, Openness, Research, Experimentation, Prototyping, Imagination, Innovation, and Invention.
- Initiative - Ideas, Opportunity, Determination, Planning, Selling, Compromise, Inspiring, Motivating, and Enthusiasm.
- Skill Level - Education, Knowledge, Experience, Dedication, Perseverance, Incrementalism, Expertise, Mastery, and Mentoring.
- Attention to Detail - Patience, Listening, Questioning, Scenarios, Diagrams, Checklists, Internalization, Interpolation, and Perfection.
- Business Focus - Capitalism, Profit, Growth Sales, Advertising, Licensing, Payroll, Funding, and Runway.
- Deadline Focus - Estimates, Commitments, Contingency, Stakeholders, Expectations, Reporting, Negotiations, Contracts, and Consequences.
- Estimate Accuracy - Precedent, Investigation, Decomposition, Scope, Dependencies, Competencies, Interruptions, Turnover, and Overtime.
- Productivity - Distraction, Motivation, Discipline, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Completion, Flow, Previsualization, and Sleep.
- Criticality - Fungibility, Uniqueness, Importance, Specialization, Exceptionalism, Recognition, Reputation, Politics, and Promotion.
- Marketability - Jobs, Careers, Ambition, Demand, Economy, Trends, Recruiters, Networking, and Offers.
- Adaptability - Comfort, Confidence, Courage, Absorption, Adjustments, Resiliency, Detachment, Formlessness, and Survival.
- Risk Tolerance - Fear, Costs, Rewards, Success, Failure, Recovery, Gambling, Odds, and Recklessness.
(5) Re-take Assessment Categories to Improve Scores
As Software Engineers improve their understanding of Soft Skills, they can re-take individual assessments to improve the scores displayed on the Soft Skills Scorecard. Once they are happy with how their Scorecard looks, they can share it with whomever they wish by adding a username and sharing a softskills.app/[username] link.
As an Individual Software Engineer:
- Take the Free Soft Skills Assessment to test your knowledge of Soft Skills and generate your Soft Skills Scorecard for free.
- The free version of your Soft Skills Scorecard has the results of the first 3 category sections unlocked and includes 3 free Soft Skills Coaching Podcasts totaling around 1-hour of content.
- If you like the advice given in the free Soft Skills Coaching Podcasts, you can choose to unlock the full version of your Soft Skills Scorecard for $29.99. This will grant you access to all 42 Soft Skills Coaching Podcasts totaling 13 hours of content covering 126 topics.
As a Manager of a Software Development Organization:
- Purchase as many Gift Codes as you like for your organization for $29.99 each.
- Download the spreadsheet of Gift Codes, and share them with your Software Engineers.
- When a Software Engineer uses a gift code, they do not have to pay to unlock the full version of their Soft Skills Scorecard.
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