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05 || October || 2022

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#Issue 006

Five soft skills
you need

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Hi 👋🏾

As a manager, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to tell my team to “Get it together!!” 

FYI: A gentleman by the name of Fikayo Idowu can do an almost perfect impression of my manager’s voice. Where am I going with this? 

When I tell my team to get it together, it’s probably because they aren’t communicating clearly or working effectively together. Communication, teamwork, agility, and adaptability are some examples of soft skills that are highly sought after by tech founders and recruiters alike. Communicating clearly isn’t just about speaking eloquently– it’s also about being able to let your manager know when you are running behind on a deadline or facing challenges with your KPIs. Agile employees are able to fearlessly face new challenges and solve problems without complaining or whining. I like how Workable defines soft skills on their website:

“… they’re general characteristics that help employees thrive in the workplace, no matter their seniority level, role or industry. They’re often called transferable skills or interpersonal skills,” Workable. 

In today’s edition of Entering Tech, you’ll learn a bit more about soft skills, why they are important, and how you can develop them on the job. Happy reading 🙂


by Koromone Koroye, Timi Odueso and Caleb Nnamani.

Tech trivia questions

Some trivia before we begin. Answers are at the bottom of this newsletter. 

  1. What is the full meaning of “Yahoo”?
  2. The Microsoft logo has four coloured squares which represent its four major products; what are these four products?

What are soft skills?

Over the past 5 editions of #EnteringTech🚀, we’ve talked about upgrading your journey with hard tech skills like no-code development, product design and social media management.

This week, we want to talk about the soft life side of tech: soft skills. 

While hard skills are technical skills that teach you how to do your job, soft skills are transferable personal skills that help you excel at work.

Image source: YungNollywood

Soft skills are interpersonal skills you develop over time; and unlike hard skills that you learn in university, soft skills are learned through interaction with peers and team members.

Soft skills include communication, integrity, discipline, time management, loyalty, curiosity, trustworthiness and a bunch of other stuff.

Why soft skills are important?

If you want to enter into tech and succeed at every step of the way, you need soft skills just as much as you need hard skills.

Learning how to code will get you a job as a software engineer, but communicating efficiently and learning how to manage your time effectively will make you a valuable team player.

Image source: TechCabal

Five soft skills you need to pick up ASAP

Solisten up, there are many soft skills out there, over 20 in fact. But because we like y ‘all, we’ve spoken to several people to find out the top 5 soft skills you’ll need if you want to suceed in tech. They are:


🗣️Communication: You already talk every day, why not make it work for you?

Effective communication is knowing when, where, and how to talk to your coworkers—or anyone really.

Communication can be verbal: listening, writing, talking and presenting; and nonverbal: facial expressions and body language. Nobody wants to work with someone with a stony face and a look of disgust permanently etched. 

By learning how to communicate effectively, people learn about your strengths and see how you add value to the team.


🤝🏾 Collaboration or Teamwork: If you want to go far, you have to go with people. 

We live in the digital age and remote work is becoming more popular. Knowing how to work in collaborative environments is an unspoken requirement in most startups.

Collaboration and communication are twins because you cannot do one well without relying on the other.

Collaboration helps you solve problems quickly because you’re sharing them with your team, and pulling in stakeholders. You’re not hiding failures, hoarding the limelight, or laying blame. You’re working together with others to find the best solutions.

Everyone loves helpful people, and collaborating is a sure-fire way of getting things done and getting to the top.


🌱 Growth mindset: And no, we’re not talking about job hopping.

Everything changes quickly, especially in tech. There are new updates to tools, apps and businesses being released every other day. If you want to survive, you have to have a growth mindset.

Here’s what that means: you need to be able to change and adapt quickly.

During COVID, companies around the world had to shut down their physical offices and move entire teams to virtual workstations; this change forced many employees had to adapt quickly.

This also means the ability or willingness to learn and develop new skills, hard or soft. A growth mindset comes with knowing that you’ll always need to learn new things if you want to be good at what you do.


⌚️Time management: Please, there’s no “African time” in tech. To succeed, you always have to be on time with most things like deadlines and meetings.

Time management is critical for the team, but also for you. Developing time management skills and knowing how to balance your time will help you get better at executing tasks at work.

If you don’t plan and spend your time well, your co-workers might get the impression that you are falling behind on your work 🙁 or it’ll give your colleagues the impression that you’re not serious.

If you can’t meet a deadline or a meeting, communicate the changes to people and let them know.


🔎 Curiosity and discipline: Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.

The biggest names in tech are there because they were curious enough to find out the problems people had, and solve them with tech.

If there’s a skill that’s critical to the growth of tech innovation on the continent, it’s curiosity; or knowing how to ask the right questions in any room.

Curiosity doesn’t just mean asking though; it means digging deep enough to find the answers and if you’re curious enough to find answers to questions, then you’ll be a valuable asset to any team.

Hear it from recruiters

If you don’t believe us, hear it from the people who help others find jobs in tech. We asked renowned recruiters what they think are the most valuable soft skills. Here’s what they have to say.

Learn soft skills online

While soft skills certifications aren’t big in the tech scene, there are courses you can take online that will help improve you. 

Interpersonal skills—Advanced soft skills by Alison
  • Price: Free
  • Duration: 5 Hours
  • Tools Needed: Phone + internet
  • Level: Beginner
Get Course
Improve your soft skills by The Open University (Google Digital Garage)
  • Price: Free
  • Duration: 24 hours
  • Tools Needed: Phone + laptop
  • Level: Beginner
Get Course
Empathy and emotional intelligence at work by BerkelyX (edX)
  • Price: Free
  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • Tools Needed: Internet + phone
  • Level: Beginner
Get Course
The Psychology of Emotions by University of Cambridge (edX)
  • Price: Free
  • Duration: 5 weeks
  • Tools Needed: Internet + phone
  • Level: Beginner
Get Course
Teamworking skills: Communicating effectively in groups by University of Colorado (Coursera)
  • Price: Free
  • Duration: 11 hours
  • Tools Needed: Internet + phone
  • Level: Beginner
Get Course

Ask a techie

Q. How can I be a no-code developer too? And do I need special training to be a tech too?

You’re in luck! We’ve created an episode of #EnteringTech🚀 where we spoke about no-code development. Read it and tweet us your thoughts @TechCabal


Q. I’m a medical student, and I have a lot of work and studying on my hands, but at the same time, I am interested in software testing. Will it take up a whole lot of time as well? I’m open to other options.

Yes, it will. Software testing is like any other job, it takes time and effort to learn so you’ll definitely have to put in a lot of time and energy if you want to become a software tester. Unfortunately, there are no “easy” tech jobs; you have to learn everything from scratch and that can take any time from months to years. 

However, there are a few jobs that some people find easier than others. Here’s a list of some of them


That’s all we can take this week. Have any questions about tech in Africa? Ask away and we’ll find answers for you.👇🏾

Ask a question

Tech trivia answers

  1. “Yahoo” is short for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”. The global internet service provider was originally called “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web,” but, as the site grew in popularity, it was renamed to Yahoo!

  2. The four colours represent: Windows (blue), Office (red), Xbox (green) and Bing (yellow).

Opportunities

  • Sign up for HNG Internship 9. HNG Internship is a large-scale, fast-paced virtual internship for people learning code, design, project management and technical sales/marketing. It’s intended for early junior developers/designers who have already completed a training program or have basic knowledge. Apply here.

  • The Obama Foundation Global Leaders Programme 2023 is open to applications from oung Africans creating positive change in their nations or communities. Selected leaders will be part of a six-month virtual internship programme and join the Obama Foundation network. Apply by October 21.

  • Apply to the UN IOM iDiaspora Photo Contest 2022. Amateur and professional photographs can submit photos portraying three central themes and win up to $1,500 in prizes. Apply by November 4.

Jobs

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Timi Odueso Staff Writer
Koromone Koroye Managing Editor
Caleb Nnamani Junior Reporter

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