Blog: The Importance of Soft Skills and the Impact on Shaping Culture

Manny Becerra as a child

July 2019

Recently, I came across a trending tweet on what makes a 10x Programmer. As I read through the author's qualifiers, I thought to myself: is this a joke?

I gave my 2-pennies worth, and figured I'd write a bit more about it here, in blog-landia.

I will say though, that some things in the list I found to be either benign or just silly, such as 10x engineers' laptop screen background color is typically black (they always change defaults). Okay. #PickYourBattles.

On the other hand, and as I sat with what I read for a bit, I further thought: even if it's not a joke, the expected traits of what defines a 10x programmer are misaligned, toxic and unsustainable; not just to an individual expected to reflect these characteristics, but they're detrimental to an individual's inner and outer circles. Many of the traits outlined in the tweet thread essentially expect an individual to act and work like a "robot", free from consideration and mindfulness of what impact their actions have on others. This attitude can create a workplace where one individual, despite their behavior, is valued over others, which has the potential to breed an environment that is the antithesis of human decency, respect and thoughtfulness; it's a mindset that lacks compassion, inclusivity and continued growth.

Our words and actions are a reflection of the culture we value and inherently wish to sustain. I believe we can build a better workplace and world for everyone, whether you work directly in the tech field or not, with an inclusive approach and interdependent attitude toward the issues and opportunities with which we are presented.

It's important that we value each and every person for who they are, and what they bring to the table; We all have room for growth, especially if we welcome and open ourselves to the often, untapped source of great potential to learn from one other.

We shouldn't dismiss the value in soft skills such as team work, communication and, in general, empathy. A teammate, even a friend outside of work, for example, who reflects thoughtfulness, kindness and the willingness to work through problems and challenges to arrive at sustainable solutions is someone I believe would merit a 10x badge over a person that reflects the opposite of these characteristics. I believe this to be true not just in the tech field, but in everyday life. Our words and actions are a reflection of the culture we value and wish to sustain, for better or for worse. Our words and actions are a reflection of the culture we value and inherently wish to sustain. I believe we can build a better workplace and world for everyone, whether you work directly in the tech field or not, with an inclusive approach and interdependent attitude toward the issues and opportunities with which we are presented. I credit the aforementioned as a contributing factor to my prior team's success in launching the Model 3 online reservation system.

We shouldn't dismiss the value in soft skills. We all have room for growth, especially if we welcome and open ourselves to the often, untapped source of great potential to learn from one other.

Further readings and peeps

In helping build high-performing, productive and empathic teams over my professional career, I have naturally compiled my own ever-evolving list of what I look for in prospective teammates, however, I recently came across some tips and thoughts on this same matter from others that I would recommend you check out if you're interested, and give the respective authors a follow


Manny


I have a passion and successful track-record for creating usable, online, experiences with a focus on and deep appreciation for web standards, modularity, education, accessibility, and inclusion. I build and lead happy, productive and empathetic cross-functional teams within a continuous learning culture. I am a speaker, advisor, community builder and advocate. Learn more.