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7 Soft Skills of Top Software Engineers

01/10/21 Lewis Phillips Senior Consultant, Electronics & Technology

Once upon a time Software Engineers’ performance was only evaluated by how fast they delivered their tasks. Time has changed in many software development teams. Nowadays this is not the only criteria. Skilled software engineers, sometimes known as software developers, are aware of the importance of soft skills.

Software Engineers are responsible for creating many types of software programmes or software tools, such as middleware, bare metal/firmware, embedded software, network control, and business applications. Whilst technical abilities and the quality of work are paramount, there is much more to the development process than the pure coding process. Software development calls for extensive communication especially if the team is meeting the fast-paced change of customer needs by adopting the Agile software development methodology, which offers an iterative approach to the design and development of software.

The Agile approach embraces the constant changes that occur in the development of technology – allowing teams to break the lengthy requirements, build, and test phases down into smaller segments, ultimately delivering working software quickly and more frequently.

Sure, as a Software Developer you will not need to be as highly trained in communications as someone in human resources, sales or legal, but it is a mistake to think that Software Engineers do not need to be skilled communicators. No developer exists in a vacuum.

Communication in software development teams relies heavily on dealing with people, so those who take the time to develop these soft skills will stand out from their peers and be highly valued by employers.


Creativity is not just about artistic expression. Technical professions demand a lot of creativity. It is what enables good Software Engineers to solve complex problems, see new opportunities, whilst developing innovative products and improving existing ones. Think outside the box and practice approaching problems creatively.


Problem-solving is a typical talent found in a Software Engineer’s skill set, they tend to be investigative and inquisitive individuals. Besides creativity, problem-solving calls for good analytical and research skills, active listening, and sound decision-making. A Software Engineer will need to be willing to eschew the quick fix to find the optimal long-term solution and work out how to provide the most value to the end-user.

One of the most important aspects of problem-solving happens after you’ve solved the problem. Develop the skill of looking back, analysing the results of your solution, and working out how to implement and adjust it in the future.


Communication is the basis of collaboration, and therefore essential to any software development project. Whether you are communicating with clients, colleagues, or managers, never leave anyone guessing – make sure everyone is on the same page about every aspect of the project.

Besides the standard skills of assertiveness, respect, empathy, active listening, and conflict resolution, Software Engineers also need to develop the skill of explaining technical information clearly to non-techies, and of understanding what someone is trying to ask for when they don’t fully understand the parameters of what your software can do.


Everyone needs patience, but it’s particularly important in the software development process, where getting frustrated can put unnecessary pressure on both the individual and the client. Even if you are sure you know the appropriate solution, everyone needs to be able to see the other point of view.

A Software Engineer also needs to be able to take a deep breath and count to ten when something breaks at the worst possible moment. In software development, bugs are a feature. Coding by its nature can be a process of trial and error.


Being open-minded as a Software Developer means being able to take on board and give due consideration to new information and techniques as technology evolves. It means being flexible, willing to analyse possibilities that you did not consider initially, humble enough to accept that you do not know everything and willing to learn.


Adaptability goes along with this as a vital skill in a rapidly evolving world. It means being able to change with a changing environment and to adjust your course as you go based on how the situation develops. Adaptability is highly valued by employers and will give you a significant advantage in your career.


Aside from having a passion for software programming, Software Engineers must be able to work well in a team. Teamwork is much more than just working together with a team. Software engineers must collaborate and communicate their thought processes. It means being wholeheartedly invested in your team’s success, and by “team” we mean not just your immediate colleagues, but everyone involved in the project, including your clients and end-users. Engagement and active participation in the process not only make for a better product but also boost morale and trust between team members and encourage healthy communication.

These skills have the power to turn a good Software Engineer into an exceptional one. Why not read other insights, such as – 5 key skills you need to be a software engineer

Find your next Software Engineer with Redline

Redline Group’s mission is to enable high-technology companies to build world-class teams through knowledge-led recruitment.

We offer both contract jobs and permanent roles and are currently recruiting Software Engineer jobs in diverse and dynamic teams. View our current embedded software jobs or quick-send your CV to hear about our latest job opportunities.