Pakistan’s IT and tech talent should be optimistic these days. Remote tech talent skills are in high demand, especially among western companies. A global shortage of tech talent, be it software developers or Dev Op roles, has resulted in the developed world looking further afield for remote software developers to fill this shortfall. And with 70% of Pakistan’s population under 30 and primarily computer literate, we are ideally placed to reap the rewards of this global demand.
Furthermore, with a global recession looming and many companies in the west thinking about their own benefits, the attractiveness of cheaper remote software engineers from abroad is obvious. For Pakistanis, this is a win-win. Working from home and earning foreign currency helps them bring foreign remittance into Pakistan and starve off some of the current inflationary pressures earning in PKR causes.
I am the founder of Scout & Hire, an HR-Tech Startup. Scout & Hire is a remote recruitment platform connecting great Pakistani IT and Tech talent with companies in the developing world. Fullstack developers, Frontend and Backend Developers, Cloud Engineers, Dev Ops Engineers, Automation Engineers, you name it; we connect Pakistani talent with great companies aboard. However, despite the optimism, there is a slight fly in the ointment—our young people’s soft skills.
I have met and spoken with hundreds of remote tech talent looking to work from home in Pakistan. We vet the candidates before connecting them with clients. What I have seen is that Pakistani talents’ hard skills are excellent. Their English language skills are exemplary. But we sometimes need more soft skills to compete in the global economy. And this is harming our employability abroad and our ability to make the most of the opportunities.
Here are some skills essential for all Pakistani software engineers to possess if they want to compete in the global economy. Learn these eight soft skills, and your career as a remote software developer will flourish:
One of the most important soft skills is communication. Communication involves the ability to effectively share information with others, in written or verbal form. Good communication skills are essential in the workplace, as they can help build relationships, resolve conflicts, and complete tasks more efficiently.
It is even more critical when we are working remotely. If a problem arises, we must be able to communicate with our line manager. Often, we don’t. In Pakistan, we are scared of our bosses and adopt an avoidance tactic if a problem arises. But this only exacerbates the problem when dealing with western companies. If a problem arises, let them know as soon as it occurs. You won’t get in trouble for the problem, but for the lack of communication. This brings me onto…
You are only as good as your word. The global economy runs on trust. If you say you will do something by a specific date, you better do it. Unfortunately, Pakistan is a low-trust economy. We don’t trust people to deliver, let alone on time.
Too often, we have an “inshallah”, “koi baat nahi?, or “ho jayega” attitude. We need to realize that this attitude communicates a lot about our professionalism and dependability. Western companies will soon drop you if you fail to deliver on your word. Remember, actions speak louder than words.
Time management is another essential soft skill. In today’s fast-paced world, it is more important than ever before to be able to manage your time effectively. Those skilled in time management are often more productive and successful in their personal and professional lives. This also means turning up on time and being punctual for interviews and meetings.
Don’t be the person leaving people hanging whilst they wait for you to join the Zoom call. You will be judged, and it will be unfavorable.
Another important soft skill is teamwork. Teamwork involves working well with others to accomplish a common goal. It is crucial to be able to compromise and cooperate with others when necessary, as well as be able to take direction when needed. Those with solid teamwork skills are typically more successful in the workplace and can build strong relationships with coworkers.
While remote tech talent often possesses the necessary individual technical chops to succeed in their role, remote working success also depends on collaboration and active communication amongst remote employees. Moreover, effective teamwork increases the efficiency of problem-solving, which leads me to…
In today’s remote work environment, solving problems quickly and creatively is essential for remote tech talent. Problem-solving skills are crucial for remote workers, who often take the initiative to discover solutions without a team or supervisor. These skills are necessary for remote tech talent to adapt to changing circumstances and make decisions independently.
Critical thinking skills are also essential, as remote workers must be able to assess the pros and cons before making an important decision. Thinking logically and weighing options can make all the difference in solving complex issues efficiently and effectively. It’s also vital for remote tech talent to have patience, an open mind, and creative problem-solving abilities to come up with unique solutions that may not be immediately apparent.
With these skills combined, remote tech talent can become invaluable assets in any remote working environment. Therefore, honing these problem-solving and critical thinking skills is essential for individuals who wish to succeed as remote tech talent.
Flexibility is another essential soft skill. Flexible people can adapt quickly to change and handle unexpected situations calmly and efficiently. Being flexible is a valuable asset in any workplace, as it can help remote tech talent deal with change positively and prevent disruptions from occurring.
Interpersonal skills involve the ability to interact effectively with others. Those with strong interpersonal skills are typically better able to build relationships, resolve conflicts, and communicate effectively. Interpersonal skills are essential to working remotely and should be considered when considering candidates for remote roles.
Good interpersonal skills, such as leadership, empathy, and collaboration, can help remote tech talent build and maintain strong relationships with colleagues and clients and connections that will serve them in the long term. Furthermore, having strong interpersonal skills helps remote workers become more effective communicators – able to articulate complex ideas succinctly internally and externally despite technical challenges like time zone differences or connectivity problems.
In closing, soft skills are often overlooked in the remote tech world. They are necessary for effective remote working, yet many employers and remote workers tend to focus on technical knowledge when hiring remote talent. Soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, resilience, and organization provide the foundation upon which remote teams can effectively work together.
With soft skills, remote teams can be more efficient due to a lack of communication or an inability to problem-solve quickly when there is friction. Additionally, remote workers must be able to stay organized and manage their time well so that tasks don’t pile up and deadlines get blown.
Soft skills bring the necessary qualities for productive remote working environments — qualities that make all the difference in a world without traditional offices. Soft skills should not be seen as an afterthought for remote tech talent but rather a crucial part of their education.
In today’s increasingly digital world, soft skills are indispensable for enabling effective remote working relationships. By fostering robust soft skill competencies amongst tech talent in our industry, we can create diverse, resilient, and successful remote workplaces capable of bearing any challenge they may face now or further down the line.
The importance of having these eight soft skills among remote software developers is evident if organizations want to maximize efficiency. Therefore, when hiring and nurturing talent at Scout & Hire, we look for exceptional people with these traits. If you are a Pakistani Software Engineer or Dev Ops Engineer and possess these soft skills too, we at Scout & Hire would love to hear from you. You can get in touch with us at www.scoutandhire.io.
George Fulton, the author of this piece, is the Founder of Scout & Hire, an HR-Tech Startup.