July 11, 2016

4 Essential, Non-Technical Skills for Open Source Pros

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Mentoring
Soft skills, such as mentoring, teamwork, and problem solving, are important for career success.

As an open source professional, even if you have the technical chops required for a position, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are a “shoe-in” for the role. Surprisingly, what many don’t know is that what sets you apart from other candidates in the interview process is your soft skills. Finding a professional who has the technical skills to handle a job can be difficult, but finding a professional who has both the technical skills required and the personal attributes that enable collaboration with team members can even more challenging.

For open source professionals looking to move, improving some of your soft skills is a great way to make yourself indispensable to employers. Focusing on these skills allows you to still grow professionally and attract potential employers without having to go through the formal training methods required to learn some of the more technical skills. In particular, pay specific attention to some of the skills listed below, as they were found to be amongst the top soft skills employers on Dice requested from open source professionals:

  • Communication: Having strong communication skills is perhaps the most important soft skill you can have. On any given day, approximately 23% of all job postings on Dice request professionals who are good communicators. On a tech team, you are bound to run into colleagues with different working styles. What is important is knowing how to adjust to their styles and communicate with them in a way that fosters strong working relationships and drives productivity within your team.

  • Teamwork: As an open source professional, a lot of the work that you do is team-oriented. Take for example, a software developer. Software isn’t designed and deployed through the hard work and expertise of one. It requires the work of a team to successfully build and launch applications and products. For Devops professionals, being a team player can be even more important, with collaboration needed between development, operations and testing in order to streamline software delivery and tech infrastructure changes. Therefore, knowing how to be a team player, is key, with roughly 2,000 Dice job postings on any given day advertising for professionals with this skillset.

  • Mentoring: Being a strong professional doesn’t just mean developing your own skills, it also involves helping others grow. It should come as no surprise then that hiring managers and recruiters on Dice are looking for professionals with extensive mentoring and leadership experience. Being a good mentor is particularly important for mid-senior level managers who are in charge of a team of professionals. Having strong leadership skills is crucial to your team’s success. Thus, employers are more selective when looking to fill management positions.

  • Problem Solver: The 2016 Open Source Jobs Report found that working on the most cutting edge technology challenges was one of the top reasons why tech professionals sought a career in open source. It’s a good thing that they are up to the challenge because as companies build out their tech infrastructure, they need open source professionals who can handle these changes and solve complex tech concerns. For that reason, employers seek out individuals who are problem solvers. They need people who are quick on their feet, can work well under pressure and are adaptable.

Being skilled technically is key if you want to have a successful career as an open source professional. However, it is not everything. For professionals looking to move, supplementing your technical skills with strong soft skills is what “puts you over the top” during the hiring process. As an open source professional with both technical and soft skills under your belt, you are a must have for all employers looking to add to their talent roster.

Bob Melk serves as the President of Dice, overseeing the growth strategy, product, marketing and sales of the company.

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