9 Soft Skills You Need in Tech

By: Asha Mullings, April 25 2022

With Toronto recently being named the “third-largest tech hub in North America,” according to The New York Times, tech has become one of the fastest growing sectors in Canada. As established companies expand and new startups appear on the scene, there are a growing number of open roles in the industry. The misconception about these roles is that candidates will require years of experience in tech. While today’s employer is looking for technical skills, there are a number of soft skills you need in tech roles. Some call them “power skills” for a reason. 

What is a “power skill,” exactly? Power skills are the new term for what most of us know as “soft skills,” but why the name change? Well, it turns out that what was once thought of as “soft” or “easy” is now becoming essential in a post-pandemic world. Since the pandemic began, many companies have had to move to cloud solutions and are starting to automate processes, creating many new jobs available in tech. Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) forecasts that the digital economy will employ a total 2.26 million digitally skilled workers by 2025,  which will lead to a demand for an additional 250,000 jobs.

So, the next time you hear someone referring to power skills, know that the term is interchangeable with soft skills and they are very much in demand, especially in the tech and innovation sectors. Here are the most in-demand power skills, or rather, the 9 soft skills you need in tech today:

  1. Growth Mindset. “Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset, says Harvard Business Review. This mindset is a way of thinking in which you believe that challenges are opportunities to grow and you can always learn the skills you need through hard work and dedication. If you’re a  lifelong learner, you  are always looking for ways to improve and achieve success. You can develop a growth mindset through activities like reading, listening to podcasts, networking, attending seminars or finding a mentor fuel a growth mindset.
Woman with a growth mindset reading a book at a table holding mug.
A growth mindset is one of the top soft skills you can adopt to thrive in the tech industry. Photo by Alexandra Fuller.
  1. Team Effectiveness. This is your ability to work together in a cohesive way with your co-workers, managers and partners. High-performance teams focus on maintaining clear communication, alignment, buy-in, and extreme accountability. Leadership exists at every level – top down, bottom up, and horizontally, according to Forbes. Individuals contribute to the effectiveness of their team by performing their own individual tasks in a timely manner to contribute to the overall success of the team. In a team setting, having a mutual understanding and being respectful of each other helps maintain a healthy dynamic.

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  1. Effective Communication. Communication is one of the top skills in any industry. It’s important to develop positive and productive interactions with people inside and outside of the organization. “Being an effective communicator means being able to both actively listen and clearly express yourself to those around you,” suggests Masterclass. Communication isn’t just about the words you use, it’s about the way you say them and your actions, as well. Keep in mind eye contact and tone of voice while you are speaking with someone. Active listening, like nodding your head and responding to and asking questions, can contribute to your effectiveness in conversation. When you communicate in this way, you can get your points across effectively and make your intentions known. Raam Regunathan, who found a job in data analytics after graduating from one of Elevate Talent’s skills training programs, speaks about the importance of developing effective communication in technical roles. “Apart from the technical skills that I learned through the course, there was a lot of emphasis on the soft skills, too, because Data Analytics and Visualization, in particular, shows you how to be able to effectively communicate data. It’s not just about showing charts and graphs, it’s more about how you communicate that to the audience to make an impact.”  
A team of professionals in a conference room practice effective communication skills.
Soft skills like effective communication, especially in a team setting, will set you apart in the tech sector. Phot by Jason Goodman.
  1. Emotional Intelligence. This is a skill that many may underestimate but is extremely valuable. As referenced by MSN, emotional intelligence is to actively know your emotional state, strengths, triggers, and how to navigate through them for effective communication and positive interactions with others.Your peers will have different experiences and viewpoints than you, and that’s fine. Being able to respond while being respectful of others despite differences is the way to move forward. It takes time to develop this skill and it must be actively worked on throughout your career. Emotional intelligence involves operating from a place of empathy, compassion, and understanding.

You don’t have to be a tech genius to be able to do this. In fact, you shouldn’t be. You need to have lots of other skills that make you excited and motivated about different types of opportunities.

Sydney Pigott, Director Of Community Engagement at Elevate Talent
  1. Navigating Uncertainty. Staying motivated and responding to change is another  useful skill to develop in the workplace and in your personal life. The pandemic has seen us all rise to the challenge of working through uncertainty and we can only be better for it. We don’t always have control over the things that change in our lives or at work, but we can learn to adapt. Forbes suggests being proactive, prioritizing what drives you, building confidence and strategizing for success.
  1. Resume Writing. Your resume will always be a key tool in helping you to find a job that fulfills you in tech . Having an up-to-date and well-written resume is an important component in the job search process. Make sure to do your research. Staying up to date with tech trends  is the best way to make sure you’re on par with industry standards. Having a Success Advisor at Elevate Talent who is well versed in resume writing and the latest tech skills needed for success is a great resource. “My role is to help prepare candidates for meaningful conversations and avenues in which they can demonstrate their value. This can mean assisting them in creating a well-tailored resume based on best practices and industry standards, as well as helping them build confidence when presenting to hiring managers,” says Mark Dunn, a Success Advisor at Elevate Talent. 
  1. Job Search & Cover Letter. Cover letters are still an extremely important part of the job application process. Due to the pandemic, many employers now require different skillsets and adding your unique experiences to your cover letter can really help you stand out. Including terms used in the actual job posting will catch the eye of the company. Adding  experiences like volunteering or any professional organizations you belong to help to further round you out as a candidate—It’s a great way to let the employer learn a little more about you too! Indeed has a great guide to building out cover letters and provides helpful pointers.
  1. Networking & Linkedin. In 2020, LinkedIn saw a 55% increase in conversations on their platform and are expecting that number to grow. As we live and work in the new normal, online networking is quickly becoming a vital part of finding work and building your community. LinkedIn recommends expanding your network by adding people you know and people with whom you’ve lost contact. You can join the conversation by posting your own insights and experiences to the platform. Don’t be afraid to create a post asking for help at work, in life or in your job search as you can gain lots of valuable perspectives from your peers.
Two professional women meeting as a form of networking at a table in an office setting.
Networking is a soft skill that can lead to new, different perspectives and growth opportunities. Photo by Christina Wocintechchat.
  1. Interviewing for Success. It’s no secret that preparing for a job interview can be challenging. The goal of the interview is to offer a chance for you and the employer to get to know each other. Instead of fixating on getting the job and answering the most common interview questions, figure out whether you and the company are a match. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to have something clarified if you don’t understand. University of Toronto suggests researching the company, preparing your response to common questions, as well as having questions for the interviewer.

 Develop these power skills to prepare for a fulfilling career in tech through the Elevate Talent job training program. We deliver our programs in partnership with leading companies to bridge the gap for underrepresented communities in tech and innovation. We do this by bringing power and technical skills together to prepare you for in-demand jobs in tech. Once training is completed, our Success Advisors help you secure a suitable role at one of Canada’s leading organizations in the tech and business sectors.

Learn more about the Elevate Talent program here.