Being skilled with computers and troubleshooting is an essential part of working in IT, but if you plan on truly excelling in the field, it’s vital to have a combination of hard and soft skills. Boosting your soft skills not only gives you the advantage for a new job or a promotion, these skills also have benefits in all areas of life, both professional and personal. CBT Nuggets trainer Steve Richards addresses soft skills in his new course, Essential Soft Skills for the IT Professional.
We asked Steve about his new course and how learners can get more out of the training experience.
Q: Why should companies train their IT professionals in what you call “essential” soft skills? What value do those soft skills bring?
A: Writing, Presentation, Problem Solving, Time Management, Team Building, Conflict Management and Career Management skills are essential for success in the business world. Individuals, talented with IT technical skills (hard skills), can benefit and provide greater value by including these “soft” skills to their talent bank.
Q: From a learner perspective, what did you keep in mind when creating this course?
A: I tried to keep their field of expertise (IT) in mind as I created this course. I tried to incorporate scenarios applicable to the IT professional and their familiar environment.
Q: Any out-of-the-box tips for learners to get the most out of your course?
A: This is not a certification prep course. Many of the concepts are abstract and require the learner to “look within.” They should evaluate themselves right now, consider the suggestions I propose, identify areas of possible improvement, find a few small victories, then repeat. This process may require multiple views of the same Nugget, which is not a problem with our unlimited viewing subscription model.
Q: What’s one real-world application someone can expect to use, thanks to this course?
Q: What’s the one thing you hope learners take away from this training?
A: A broader base of skill “resources” to help them succeed.
Q: How can IT pros use soft skills in their job searches or in their professional development?
A: It’s been said that tech skills may get you an interview, but soft skills will get you the job — and help you keep it. Potential employers are just as interested in how you communicate or problem solve as they are with how you plan to keep their network running. That said, any and all soft skills should be identified on your resume. Also, soft skills are important at performance review time for many corporations. I recommend everyone include at least one area of soft skill improvement (be specific) on next year’s performance plan.