Jul 25, 2018

Renaming Soft Skills:

thoughts from a Wellington software engineer

By Sam Jarman

Hi There,

As we know, our ‘soft skills’ are super important, and these skills include but are not limited to: verbal communication, written communication, influencing skills, empathy, personal skills, pitching, listening, delivering/accepting feedback and much more.

However, the problem I and a lot of others have with the term soft skills (compared to “hard” skills, such as writing code or knowing a certain job-specific tool or technique) makes the term sound secondary or less important. This connotation couldn’t be further than the truth.

I believe that we should rename soft skills and hard skills to core skills and techskills (for the IT field, other fields may go with other terms than “Tech”). To be clear, this isn’t something I’ve invented, I’ve heard it around* and wanted to reiterate the point.

Core is, well, just that…core! It’s the solid inner part of you. The bit in which you build. The bit that needs to be solid before anything else is to be done. The bit you work on, and keep strong. The bit that can lose strength, get sore and that needs TLC from time to time. I like this term.

So that’s it. Core Skills. It’s not that I hate the term soft skills, it’s just the name isn’t really the point. We should all work on these skills regardless of the name.They’re just so important. But let’s work on naming them with a sense of importance in the hopes that others agree – this is something we’ll all benefit from.

Some quick links for IT folks/anyone:

*I can’t remember where I first heard this, but I’ve now heard it multiple times. In an effort to find out more, I’ve asked the two people I heard this from most recently, and they had the same experience. A reader pointed out it might have been this thread by Aurynn Shaw, who does a lot of great speaking and blogging around Core Skills. Its spread since then, so great job her! Credit is hard 😅.


“Used and edited lightly with permission. Post from Sam Jarman’s personal blog

Sam Jarman

Sam Jarman
Sam Jarman is a software developer working in Digital. He's passionate about creating awesome mobile experiences, building software in teams and improving developers.

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