Although my college degree is Psychology, I went to a college focused on engineering and shared classes with engineering students in all specialties, including computer science and software development. These engineering students have a very different mindset than my peers in business or humanities programs. Engineering students study more technical and less administrative careers.
This was my first approach to build a stereotype of a “Software Engineer”. The classical stereotype is that from the 80’s movie: “Real Genius”. At that time, I observed that Software Engineers were extremely brilliant people, critical thinkers, sharp with Math and incredibly intelligent. Additionally, I also noticed that they were in general quiet guys and introverts. I knew they spent hours and hours in the laboratories and with limited social circles and of course they were especially terrible with girls. Moreover, I did notice that they were probably the most passionate students. In addition to the heavy class projects, they thought about internships, eternal homework and they coded for fun as well! Every one of my engineering friends could develop software and build a mobile app in their sleep.
Technical vs Soft Skills
Later when I joined iTexico, a company dedicated to Mobile Apps and Software Development is full of Software Engineers. I found myself immersed in this complex world. I did realize that my stereotype of the Software Engineer wasn’t completely wrong. Nevertheless, I was able to understand better the complexity of this industry.
We are living through a Digital and Knowledge Era. Our lives are improved through tremendous contributions generated by IT professionals and Software Engineers. This job has become so complex that the IT industry is not only requiring bright and intelligent people but HUMANS capable to communicate and collaborate. Last year, I attended an International Congress on Software Engineering where half of the conferences given were on soft skills. Basic lessons where given to Software professional on Costumer Service, Communication and Administration. I realized then that Software Engineers have a great challenge to overcome. They are required to implement great technological innovations while they have to demonstrate an outstanding technical expertise and yet polish their interpersonal skills and English verbal communication skills (or any foreign language).
Although Software Industry is demanding, it is rewarding as well. Who would imagine that the quiet guys of my class were about to have the greatest opportunities? Software Engineers are getting the occasion to build teams with people from USA, India, Ukraine, and more international software development teams. They hold in their fingers and brain the power to create beautiful software that transforms the world. I am sure that the success of IT Professionals and more specifically Software Developers depends on their ability to create relationships. Technical skills are required of course but the ability to deal with clients, solve conflicts, teach other and lead a team is crucial to define a successful career in outsourced software development.
Making people’s life easier
I am not trying to lower importance to the time students and professionals dedicate to master programming languages or frameworks. Nevertheless, I understand that the main purpose of creating software is: “Making people’s life easier”. Software Developers went to Engineering schools, but technology intends to reproduce the functioning of the most incredible machine: the human brain. So under my perception Software Engineering is Humanity, a science for humans based on humans.
So if you are a Software Developer and you are reading this, I invite you to complete the challenge, master your favorite programming language, keep coding as your hobby. However, try as well to improve your second language like reading, watch movies, talk to foreigners whenever you have the chance, memorize the lyrics in different language, speak to people you don’t know, look for opportunities to share knowledge, teach something, build relationships. Finally, keep in mind that the ultimate purpose of any system is making someone’s life easier.
About the Author
Berenice Gonzalez is the HR Manager at iTexico. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Organizational Psychology and is studying a Master's Degree on Human Development. She is an experienced IT Recruiter, focused on identifying Mobile and Web Software Developers.