The Top 6 Soft Skills for Software Engineers in Japan
Software engineers are in high demand in Japan. Though you might have all the technical skills and experience required, you could still be missing out on vital soft skills for an IT engineer.
So, what are soft skills and why do IT engineers need them?
Hard skills vs soft skills
We traditionally associate skills with technical skills acquired from qualifications and work experience. In the case of a software engineer, this would include your ability to create websites, apps, prototypes and other coding projects.
Soft skills relate to your personality and work ethic. What is your approach to your work? How do you interact with your colleagues? Your soft skills can suggest how well you will fit within a prospective work environment, and how effective your work processes are.
Soft skills are becoming more important to the job hunting process in Japan, as hiring companies look for employees who will be a good fit with their company values.
What are the top soft skills for a successful software engineer in Japan?
This is a very important soft skill for software engineers in Japan. Web and app developers need to stay up to date with the rapidly changing developments in technology and code.
Japanese companies generally do training on-the-job, so being able to adapt to different work situations is an important soft skill for work in Japan. Enthusiasm in the workplace is also valued highly in Japan, so having a positive, level-headed outlook in fast-paced work environments will stand you in good stead.
When working abroad, cultural and communication differences can arise. Having a flexible outlook, along with an awareness of Japanese interview etiquette and honorific Japanese (keigo), will help you to work through these differences, whilst maintaining a balanced perspective on your own needs.
Problems will frequently arise in an software engineering role - from resolving bug issues in your source code to understanding how to improve user experience - and a positive outlook on resolving issues can make you an invaluable asset to your workplace.
Looking at ‘problems’ as opportunities can help to lower the stress of your team and help you to come up with more creative solutions.
Another vital soft skill for software engineers in Japan to develop is organisation. Keeping proper timetables, allotting clear deadlines for your work, and arranging online and paper documentation will make your work processes smoother, and cut down on wasted time.
Proper organisation can have an impact on your technical skills, too. For example, code that is well organised is easier to read and debug.
Self-awareness is a soft skill that helps you to see yourself in balance and take criticisms with a positive outlook.
Self-awareness in the workplace involves considering how your actions have an impact on your work and colleagues. Understanding that feedback and self-reflection are opportunities to develop your skills will help you to progress in your career.
As software engineering is a technical subject that many find challenging to understand, being able to convey technical information to colleagues in other departments will make you invaluable to your team.
A recent study found that communication is the most important skill that Japanese companies valued in foreign employees, with over 50% viewing it as essential, making it one of the most important soft skills for work in Japan.
Communication is a soft skill Japanese companies are looking for, as you will most likely be working in a second language. Especially if you are not fluent, building communication skills through practice is vital.
As well as good communication skills, it is important to know how to build rapport with your team. Another vital soft skill for work in Japan is team-building. As software engineering often involves independent work, it can be tempting to put your ideas and contributions first when working on collaborative projects.
Japan is a very community-oriented country, and this extends to the workplace. You will be working frequently in teams, and will at times need to make decisions with your colleagues. Going out for drinks with colleagues after work is the norm, so developing your social skills is a must for working in Japan.
Soft skills are an important part of not only the hiring process, but your career as a whole. Adding the soft skills you have mastered to your application will help you in securing the perfect job as a software engineer in Japan.
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