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Learning Center Experience
By Dr. Lynne Y. Williams, MSIT and MSCM, Kaplan UniversityFull-Time Faculty, School of Business and Information Technology
The HBO hit comedy Silicon Valley tells the story of a group of coders attempting to launch their own startup company. The running joke is that despite all of their collective genius, they can't get out of their own way because of their lack of business awareness and social skills. Granted, the show exaggerates the "nerd tech" stereotypes for laughs (and there are many), but I've seen this display of art imitating life much too often.
One undeniable truth I've witnessed in my many years in this industry is that IT people have a passion for the beautifully logical process of creation. They're discovering and constructing new worlds of technological progress, literally right at their fingertips. But the downside is that they can get lost in that process and disregard, or altogether lose, the grounding skills that are ultimately needed to succeed professionally. For women in particular, who already face an uphill battle in this sector, this is an even greater struggle as they double-down on the process to prove they're every bit as good as their male counterparts.
This tunnel vision approach to an IT job contradicts the culture of coalition that today's organizations are adopting to operate and surge ahead. Being an exceptional developer or coder is table stakes now, so what else can you do to move the needle on your career, or even break out on your own? Believe it or not, a return to soft skills basics is in order to complement your talent and help amplify your worth in the workplace.
IT is an exciting realm with limitless possibilities to make your mark in this world with just a few keystrokes. But to make a mark on your career, it's time to come out from under all that code and reprogram yourself with some basic soft skills. That way, employers can see you as more than just a stereotype.
Lynne Williams is a faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
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