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If I had “super powers”, I would stop calling soft skills and start calling…

25 Mar 2024 1:17 AM | Ali Kucukozyigit (Administrator)

by Ali Kucukozyigit 

If I had “super powers”, I would stop calling soft skills and start calling…

First things first

I said “if I had super powers” because I don’t have super powers. However, If I had super powers, I would stop categorizing skills that a professional needs to posses as “hard skills and soft skills. You will understand my perspective if you read to the end.

Photo by Akson on Unsplash

Who is teaching you the soft skills?
Of course you heard about;

  • hard skills will get you a job interview, and soft skills will make you get the job?
  • or soft skills will get make you get the job, and soft skills will make you keep the job!
  • or People are hired for their hard skills, but fired for their soft skills?

These statements indicate that soft skills can be as import as hard skills- if not more at times. I am pretty sure you do not have any problem acquiring and maintaining your hard skills! Every one and every organization thrives to train and educate you on hard skills. They teach them in the classes, they test and sometimes certify you on those hard skills, they even appear on your transcript forever- but wait a sec: How about your soft skills? Who is teaching you soft skills? Do thy appear in your transcript? Do the employers requires a certification on those, or ask for a test score? The answer is a “big NOOO”. In this case, you are the one who needs to improve your soft skills? Are you doing it? Did I hear a big No!

Photo by Dom Fou on Unsplash

Here is three reasons for a name tag change

I have got some objections for naming convention of hard skills and soft skills.I think it is confusing especially for those who hears these categories for the first time. The etymology of words hard and soft does fit in well into what is meant by the phrases — “hard skills” and “soft skills”.

First of all, It’s not to opposing categories, soft skills are not rivals or enemies of soft skills, as a matter of fact, they should complement each other. Both must be in the toolbox of any engineer. When we named them as soft and hard, it sounds like two opposing meaning like day and night, or wet and dry. These can’t exist together, but hard skills and soft skills must as explained in this blog. When we say hard and soft skills, it creates exactly a similar feeling, and forces us to make a choice between them. We need to start seeing both sides of the aisle as required skills and also start appreciating both skills like we appreciate both day and the night.

Second, we are teaching more hard skills in the schools and universities and educational institutions, but we are teaching less of soft skills. So in a sense, hard skills are easier to kind of learn because everyone and every institution is teaching it. Nevertheless soft skills are actually hard to learn because it is not taught systematically by educational institutions, employers or mentors and every one assumes that you are hired ready and fully operational in terms of soft skills but this is not true. So it’s really difficult to learn the soft skills or hard skills in this case? Should the name tags be swapped?

Third and last, when we call hard skills and soft skills it gives an impression that hard skills are the fundamentals and essentials of professions, because they are hard, they are required. On the other hand, when we can soft skills, it gives an impression that it will be nice to have those skills but not as essential as hard skills.As a matter of fact, soft skills are the integral part of the professional development, leadership, promotion, your success outside of your work environment (like family and friend settings) and you will be fired for them.

To Conclude

A less confusing name option to replace soft skills might be life skills or human skills! What would you call it if you had super powers? I don’t know if any of you agree with me on this name tag change, but regardless soft skills are very important for your professional career and personal life, They makes us humans human and they can be transferable to any job or activity!

So embark on a new journey and start learning them today!

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PS: The original piece is written in Medium.

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Dr. Bill Daughton

Professor Emeritus

Missouri S&T

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