3 skills developers need to future-proof their career

Soft skills are just as important as technical skills when it comes to solidifying your developer career.

Want to master a programming language and become a 10x developer? Here's the secret The key to becoming a fabled 10x programmer, according to Trisha Gee, developer advocate at software firm JetBrains, is to practice pair programming, but with a twist.

A lack of soft skills prevents many tech professionals from getting jobs or advancing in their career, according to one report. Soft skills are key to career success in technical fields, even amid a tech talent shortage, said Jan Haderka, CTO of Magnolia.

"Many companies are now moving toward a DevOps model of continuous deployments, but few have the talent needed to ensure these rapid deployments are a success," Haderka said. "Given this increased demand for talent, this is an especially good time to become a developer—and the pay-off could be massive."

Employers are seeking developers with strong technical, communication, and problem-solving skills, who can work with flexibility and consider multiple solutions at once, Haderka said.

SEE: IT Hiring Kit: Programmer (Tech Pro Research)

However, soft skills have never been more important or in-demand for these professionals, Haderka added.

To future-proof their careers, developers must demonstrate a willingness to continue to learn, while employers must provide the professional development opportunities to enable and reward this practice, Haderka said.

Here are three skills developers need to hone to future-proof their careers, according to Haderka:

1. Empathy

Despite a pervasive stereotype that developers work alone, they must be team players to succeed, Haderka said. This means demonstrating empathy for coworkers and clients, particularly when mistakes and challenges come up.

2. Negotiation

While video chatting is becoming more popular, a majority of communication between developers still occurs over online chat or emails, Haderka said. As software development moves to a collaborative model on repositories like GitHub, working together can be even more of a challenge. With many opportunities for miscommunication and conflict, developers must be skilled negotiators and team players. It's also key to hone your negotiation skills when it comes to discussing salary or raise expectations.

3. Openness to new technologies

Developers must keep up at least general knowledge of emerging technologies, and be willing to and capable of learning new tech, and abandoning that which is becoming obsolete. For tips on how to keep up with the latest technologies as a developer or IT professional, check out this TechRepublic article.

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By Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.