Soft skills have become a hot new buzz word in the world of information technology professionals. What exactly is a soft skill, though? Simply put, it’s a quality — usually of an interpersonal nature — that is somewhat elusive, meaning it’s difficult if not impossible to formally assess. (This is one of the reasons that soft skills components have not typically been included in IT certification programs, although this is starting to change.)
It’s kind of amusing that people treat the notion that communication, managerial and other kinds of skills that fall into the soft category can benefit IT pros’ careers as if it were some kind of great revelation that’s only recently been discovered. Of course soft skills can help techies advance up the ranks of the corporate ladder — that’s always been true, and it always will be. However, what’s truly distinct about soft skills these days is that they’re becoming increasingly necessary for all kinds of IT pros, not just those on the fast track to a leadership role.
For help-desk and support professionals, though, it’s always been thus. All in all, this is the most consistently customer-facing occupation within the technical realm, and perhaps even within the corporate world with the exception of sales. Thus, soft skills are inherently crucial in success on the job. Interestingly, the soft skills of help-desk pros have stemmed the tide of offshore outsourcing in this field. Complaints from customers about communication breakdowns between them and support representatives based…
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