This might sound contrived, but one of the most valuable skills for any developer will always be communicating effectively. The vast majority of my work is collaborating with other people - people with differing attention levels, goals, personalities, priorities, and internal ways of thinking. Being able to understand their stated and unstated intentions and feelings is important, both for me to cooperate with them as people and also to do the work.
When I’m working with others, I need to be able to convey my ideas to them in order to generate their buy-in on my ideas and plans. They need to be able to communicate their ideas to me, so I can understand where they are planning on going next. And we both need to communicate our acknowledgement of what we’ve learned from each other so that the they recognize what I mean when I say “I think I get it, but can you please explain that second part again?”
This goes beyond a simple and direct speaking and understanding the words we say to each other. Humans communicate through many different channels - word choice, tone of voice, body language, visual imagery, and so on. I need to be cognizant of these additional clues when communicating with teammates - is Neelo telling me she gets it because she really gets it, or is she disengaging because she’s tired and frustrated? Did I come across as confrontational and argumentative when I didn’t mean to because of the phrasing I chose? Am I feeling annoyed because of something Bayn said, or was I already irritable going into the meeting? Was that comment intentionally sarcastic, or is there another underlying issue that should be addressed?
Communication is a constantly-evolving skill alongside workplace relationships. Now that so many of us work remotely, our communication skills must likewise adapt to take advantage of the strengths and compensate for the shortcomings of long distance collaboration. Misunderstandings during the development process can become extremely expensive mistakes to correct, especially if these mistakes take time for stakeholders to recognize them as such. Good communication skills are exceedingly valuable, both for preventing misunderstandings from happening and for working out solutions to past misunderstandings. The more one’s responsibilities increase in scope, the more valuable communication skills become.
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