Soft skills are not a new concept for IT. But time has run out for IT professionals who have been avoiding developing them. Now that technology is an integral part of business strategy, very few employers would settle for a candidate who could not function beyond the computer screen. And with teamwork and collaboration a mainstay of many work environments, personal interactions count, even within IT itself.
"The great companies are proving time and again that culture beats strategy, and when you're trying to develop a winning culture, soft skills are important," says Matt Ripaldi, senior vice president at Modis, an IT staffing firm in Burlington, Mass.
Ripaldi says hiring managers consistently report that given the choice of two candidates, they would choose the one with better people skills, even if candidate "b" was superior on a technical level. Even if the tech skills get you in the door, Ripaldi says, "The soft skills are what help you climb the ladder."