Why Communication Skills are Important for Software Developers

It’s easy to overlook the importance of communication skills for software developers. 

When most people think about coding or programming, they rarely associate these professions with any social skills.

Since software development is a technical field, the focus is largely on analytical and problem-solving skills, leaving little room for soft skills. 

However, like any other profession, communication skills are essential for any software developer. And because most software developers rarely focus on their communication skills, it makes it a solid addition to your package.

Here are some reasons why it’s important for software developers to have effective communication skills

7 Key Benefits of Communication Skills for Software Developers

Being a software developer is not all technical. You need interpersonal skills. Here’s why.

1. Communication Skills Improve Collaboration 

Software developers need to work with other team members to ensure the success of their projects. You need to communicate your needs better if you’re seeking input or feedback while working on these projects. 

For this, your communication skills need to be effective.

And it’s not always for the technical team members. Software developers need to learn how to communicate with non-technical teams as well.

For instance, in a corporate setup, you may need to explain to the finance department why they should allocate a certain budget to your software needs.

You’ll need to be persuasive and concise in such situations, and these are skills you can easily acquire through practice.

2. Helps you Understand the Needs of the End User

To understand the problem at hand, you must communicate effectively with the end user. This goes for software developers working alone or as part of a team.

For instance, if you’re working on a mobile app development project for non-technical clients or helping them with mobile app issues, you’ll need to:

  • Simplify some details to make them understand you
  • Have good delivery when explaining problems or providing solutions
  • Be patient with them as they try to understand the technicalities of your role

All this requires great marketing communication skills. This especially applies if you have to approach clients directly for your software development projects. 

With great communication skills, you’ll have a better chance of gaining and retaining clients.

3. Increases Productivity

Most organizations value interpersonal skills among software developers.

This is because if software developers are able to communicate effectively, they can quickly adapt to their new roles.

It leads to increased productivity.

For instance, if you can easily maintain a good relationship with team members, you’ll have a better working environment. This goes for both remote and on-site software developers. 

Communication also helps you understand the requirements of each project as much as your team members and clients do, which gets you on the same page. This way, there are minimal errors or do-overs during projects. 

Effective communication also ensures timely updates between team members, improving overall productivity.

4. Enhances Flexibility

The existence of good communication systems in a company makes it easy to have software developers work remotely.

And the good news is that there are plenty of tools companies can use to ensure effective communication between their remote teams.

This gives the organization the flexibility to hire talent globally, instead of restricting themselves to local talent only.

For software developers, it means they can work for any company in any location, and with minimal distractions.

Developing the skills to make good use of the communication systems put in place helps you have a great employee experience despite the remote setting.

You’re able to understand your role, collaborate effectively, develop great workplace relationships, and more.  

5. Promotes Agile Software Development

Communication fosters teamwork which forms the basis for success in agile software development.

When software development teams are well-organized and united, they can quickly respond to any developments in their work and find solutions.

In an agile framework, communication plays core roles during:

  • Pair programming: This is a form of teamwork where two programmers, a driver, and a navigator, work side by side on the same program. The driver writes the code while the navigator watches and provides feedback and makes improvements.
  • Whiteboarding: Here, teams use whiteboards to collaborate. They can write their ideas down and have other team members view them and make suggestions. Here is an example of the Microsoft Whiteboard.
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Image via Microsoft

  • Scrum meetings: This refers to face-to-face team meetings between software developers at the beginning of each sprint. Here they get to share their work and any problems they face.
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Image via Digite

All this can be done both physically and virtually using remote work software.

6. Enhances Leadership

A software developer who wants to grow into a leadership position in their career will need communication skills more than anyone else. 

As a leader, you have to represent your team to your superiors.

For instance, if your team is making a messaging app, you’ll have to explain your goals, benefits of the app and break them down into actionable steps. You’ll need to clearly report on your progress, expenses, and more.

Companies also task leaders with outlining activities for their teams and motivating them.

They also require them to mentor their junior software developers and help them transition into their new roles smoothly. You’ll need to nurture young talent in your team and help them upskill.

All this means that the growth of your department will partially depend on your performance. And this means developing effective communication skills. 

7. Improves Conflict Resolution

Conflict arises in every department in the workplace.

For software developers, it could be:

  • Differing preferences of programming languages. For instance, one developer prefers C or C++ programming language while another prefers Java
  • Different developers prefer to use different software
  • Conflict on whether to work remotely full-time or part-time

In such instances, communication skills come in handy.

Great communication makes it easier for teams to settle their disputes among themselves.

Time To Hone in On Your Communication Skills

As much as it’s critical to develop hard skills, communication skills for software developers are just as essential and shouldn’t be ignored.

And as we’ve discussed, it’s an undeniably beneficial skill to have.

Some organizations provide training to their staff who struggle with communication skills. However, if you don’t have access to training, you can always seek mentorship from colleagues who’ve perfected their interpersonal skills.

All the best in building a wholesome career as a software developer.

Author Bio – Reena Aggarwal

Reena Aggarwal 2

Reena is Director of Operations and Sales at Attrock, a result-driven digital marketing company. With 10+ years of sales and operations experience in the field of e-commerce and digital marketing, she is quite an industry expert. She is a people person and considers the human resources as the most valuable asset of a company. In her free time, you would find her spending quality time with her brilliant, almost teenage daughter and watching her grow in this digital, fast-paced era.

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