Regular workers need traits such as being responsible, team players, and good communicators. But it’s a slightly different story for technical employees. These professionals need all the usual desirable traits, and a host more to help them succeed in their roles.
Interestingly, technical ability no longer trumps all other factors. There are plenty of competent coders out there, but companies only want to hire a small subset of them.
In this post, we take a look at some of the traits of highly effective technical employees. These are the characteristics you should work on.
The Ability To Move Forward With Incomplete Information
Moving forwards and making decisions is challenging in business, but it’s something that executives do every day, even if they lack all the information they need to make good decisions.
Technology professionals need to be able to make the same decisions. There will be many times when you don’t have enough information to make a concrete decision, but you need to move forward anyway. As such, you need to be prepared to take risks and manage your own activities in the most productive ways.
Development in the tech world requires moving forward and “breaking things.” If you wait around for all the resources you need, things can get expensive fast. Don’t do it.
Be Prepared For Documentation And Troubleshooting
People who embark on technology management careers need to get comfortable with documentation and troubleshooting. In fact, in many companies, failing to document adequately can actually get you in a lot of trouble.
The trick here is to continue documenting even if the troubleshooting you encounter is minimal. Remember, not all employees in your organization will be using the same software. Also, you need a record of your progress so you can show managers how you are spending your time. It doesn’t matter how clever your code is, if other people can’t understand or modify it, it won’t help the firm as a whole.
Knowing When To Ask For Help
Technical workers believe that they have to work solo and just get the job done. But that’s a dangerous approach to work. That’s because technical employees can often get quick answers by simply consulting with their non-technical colleagues. If there’s an issue, some simple guidance can often put you on the right track.
If asking for help is out of the question, go on forums or use Google. You can also ask your company for consulting services that can assist you and help you push through sticking points. Many people are amazed at how easily they can get answers to what seem like complex technical problems.
Make Sure You Understand Product Relevance
Technical employees can become so engrossed in what they’re doing that they can forget why it is that they are doing work in the first place. They focus intensely on the immediate technology-related difficulties instead of the person who will ultimately benefit from the product.
That’s a mistake. That’s because technology products are only successful if they serve users’ needs. If they don’t, then you could find that the product falls flat or is simply too challenging for the average person to use.
As a side note, it helps to understand the specific roles of the CIO, CTO, and CDO, and how they help the end-user. In short, you want to have technical skills, but you also need considerable business acumen. It should be obvious to you which types of solutions will benefit your clients the more. Consider ways to make software development as seamless and user-friendly as possible, even if you are working on a B2B solution.
You Don’t Need Routine
Many workers love routine. They like the idea of being able to sit down and do the same thing every day. It helps them become more efficient, and it increases the margin of safety in most jobs.
But if you want to become an effective technical employee, you need to adopt the opposite approach. Just doing what you’ve always done won’t help you and will probably hinder you.
Remember, if you decide to work in technology, you’ll face all kinds of challenges. Common problems include servers going down, hacker attacks, and files getting deleted.
You should also make sure that you’re prepared to work non-standard hours. While most jobs have you in the office from 9-to-5, technical jobs are a little more chaotic. For instance, you might need to apply a patch at 12 am when everyone is at home asleep. Or you may need to respond to your company’s website crashing at two in the morning.
Remember, nasty bugs and other problems with your system can show up at any time. You need to be available to respond to them. Getting up early or going to bed late occasionally should leave you feeling groggy.
Learn How To Talk To Other People Without Getting Too Technical
As a technical employee, it’s tempting to communicate with others using all the jargon you use as part of your regular day job. It just feels instinctive and natural to talk like that.
But for your colleagues, it’s not so easy. They may misunderstand what you are saying, or they might not connect with you at all. It’s a real risk.
Therefore, good technical employees learn how to communicate in non-technical terms. They develop a set of linguistic skills and techniques that makes it easy for them to distribute their message to other members of the firm.
At first, you might find that your explanations fall flat. But, eventually, you’ll develop a formula that lets you talk about even the more challenging subjects fluently.
Lastly, many technical staff are good at what they do, but they aren’t particularly coachable. It’s hard for anyone to really develop them, no matter how skilled they might appear on paper.
When you learn new skills, find a way to respond and adapt. If you are working in a team, go with the flow and work in a way that the organization will accept.