Tech Jobs on the Rise in Seattle; But Here’s Why I’m Focusing on my Soft Skills

Forbes Magazine, 2016

According to Forbes Magazine, the Seattle metro area has posted 12% tech job growth over the past two years and 7.6% STEM growth, handily beating the performance of Silicon Valley.  More important still to potential job seekers, the Puget Sound region has grown consistently in good times and bad, boasting a remarkable 43% increase in tech employment from 2001 through 2011 and an 18% expansion in STEM.  Seattle weathered both recessions of the past decade better than most regions.  The presence of such a solid tech-oriented companies as Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing — and lower costs that the Bay Area — may have much to do with this.  Reference here:

Here’s a secondary article from Geekwire titled, ‘It Pays to Work in STEM: Seattle Had The Highest Wage Growth in the Country.’ Reference here:

GREAT news for Seattle and those individuals that currently work in a technology related field!  This is also good news for: Computer Programmers, Software Developers, Wed Developers, Data Scientists, Software Engineers and those in the Coding field(s).

But what about the rest of us?  Soft skills, my friends, soft skills!

In addition to technical talent, companies also need employees with soft skills.  Skills such as: Collaboration, presentation, communication, networking skills, resilience, time management, relationship building and empathy!  From my perspective, empathy is one of the most underrated soft skills in the marketplace; empathy is also one of the most important skills you can acquire.  Empathy (don’t mistake empathy for sympathy) is a result of understanding where a person is coming from.  If you develop a strong sense of empathy, it will help you approach customer service issues from a position of understanding and support.  Having empathy can also help you develop content to which your colleagues and/or customers can relate.  Strongly developed empathy skills begin with great listening skills. The more you listen, the more you understand the other person’s view point. In order to truly listen, however, you have to engage in active listening. This means asking questions to clarify and learn more, and repeating back what you have heard to show that you understand.

As tech jobs continue to dominate the Seattle marketplace, I’ll continue to hone in my soft skills, working to improve the aforementioned soft skills I listed above.  I’ll continue to deliver value by responding to colleagues in a timely manner, following up on potential business opportunities (follow up, follow up, follow up) and making strategic introductions (connecting people to people).  My go-to-market approach is simple: capture one market (Seattle) first, and then scale up from there (Portland, Bend and Vancouver, CA).

Collaboration, presentation, communication, networking skills, resilience, time management, relationship building and empathy are valuable skills to have in a market where tech specific jobs dominate the marketplace.  Don’t devalue these skills.  Put a price on your skill(s) and differentiate yourself in the market.

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