Communication: The Most Expected and Respected Soft Skill for Software Developers
Even you’d spent a minimum amount of time as a software programmer, you’d understand that English is omnipresent in all stages of software development.
Language realities of the programming world
Programming syntax: Nearly all the software programming languages have their syntax in English.
Technical documentation: Many companies offer publicly accessible APIs that lets other software interact with their data. All of its documentation is at least available in English.
Bridge language: When you work with teams distributed across multiple countries, English is the commonly accepted bridge language.
Educational material: Most educational material (courses, tutorials, documentation) in your target programming language is provided in English (only).
Where having great communication skills lets you shine as a software programmer
Ticket descriptions: Bug tickets should explain how the bug was found, and how to reproduce it in an easy-to-understand language. Feature tickets explain the motivation for the feature and describe the success criteria. While writing these, you’re expected to keep your language simple, direct and accessible to colleagues from different levels of English language proficiency.
Ticket comments: Asking clarifying questions, providing helpful answers and offering additional insights – through skilful written communication – is an ability that’s valued in every software team.
Commit messages: Every commit should explain the changes clearly and succinctly.
Code and comments: Code that’s liked by all is the one that communicates to the fellow programmer as well as it does to the machine. Comments make code intelligible by explaining why something was done a certain way or warn risks of overriding.
Stack Overflow interactions: As a programmer, you’re bound to drop into interactions on Stack Overflow every now and then. While there whether to ask for help or to help someone, you need the power of excellent written communication besides having programming skills.
Project meetings: As a part of a software team, you’re expected to interact with your product owner, scrum master and project owner on a daily basis – and explain what you do behind the scenes in plain, non-code language. Not skilfully explaining yourself or your actions will make collaborating on the project rather difficult.
Okay, is it possible to develop your English language skills even when it’s barely enough?
4 strategies to improve your communication skills
- Interact with native English speakers at every opportunity. Remember this: they won’t make fun of you if you make a mistake or stumble looking for the right word. Instead, they’ll be quick to help you.
- Listen to English music and watch shows without subtitles. Slow down the speed of the audio/video if you have to. You may turn on subtitles to check whether you got it right.
- Record yourself to know what you do well and where you need to focus on.
- Read English magazines, articles, etc. Don’t miss any opportunity to read, write, listen or speak in English.
It’s your turn
Developing excellent communication skills not only will put you on the radar of great software development companies, but it will also make it easy to get that promotion, be included in high-value projects, and get you paid handsomely. It’s time to hone your communication skills.