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Soft Skills vs Hard Skills

What are soft skills and hard skills?

Soft skills define how a person communicates and conducts themselves, regardless of their position. These can be referred to as the personality traits that make a good human and employee. For example, communication, collaboration, teamwork, and other skills that are qualitative and difficult to measure. These skills come under the qualitative side and cannot be measured but can be observed over time.

Hard skills, on the other hand, mean the technical knowledge and skills developed in career or education. Such skills are specific to job, position, and company. For example, developers and architects need separate knowledge and different sets of skills. A developer needs to be proficient in coding languages, data structures, etc. Architects require knowledge of mathematics, design, and computers.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills most often describe a person’s personality and how they work. They are hard to measure but can be described. Soft skills can be developed through personal and professional experiences. They are assessed by how well an employee or an individual present themselves in certain situations, along with the behavior they exhibit.

Soft skills list

Soft skills include: 

  • Teamwork  
  • Communication 
  • Empathy  
  • Collaboration 
  • Adaptability  
  • Problem-solving  
  • Persuasive  
  • Creativity  
  • Integrity  

What are hard skills?  

Hard skills refer to the job or industry-specific technical skills gained in career life. These skills are easier to measure and quantify. These skills are developed over time through education, practice, and on-the-job.  

Hard Skills List

Some most common hard skills are: 

  • Mobile development  
  • Programming languages  
  • Data analysis 
  • Statistics  
  • Software testing  
  • Technical writing  
  • Business analysis  
  • Data mining  
  • Computer security 

What is the difference between soft and hard skills? 

While soft skills commonly refer to personality traits and personal habits, hard skills refer to technical knowledge and skills. The main difference is that soft skills are more about behavior and hard skills refer to an employee’s technical ability. Soft skills are not easy to quantify but hard skills can be. 

Hard skills and soft skills of leadership   

Individuals in leadership positions have specific hard skills and soft skills. Employers easily identify hard skills because they are mentioned in resumes or cover letters. Also, the candidate’s personal projects reflect specific hard skills the employer is looking for. On the other hand, any good soft skill comes under leadership skills.  

For example, hard skills of leadership include: 

  • Project management  
  • People management  
  • Decision-making 
  • Psychological leadership skills  

Some soft skills of leadership:

  • Work ethic 
  • Teamwork  
  • Motivation  
  • Problem-solving  
  • Time management 
  • Multitasking 

Hard skills and soft skills for managers 

Since managers are responsible for getting work done through their team members, they possess a set of hard and soft skills. They handle key areas such as organizing, leading, and planning. Some common examples of hard skills for managers are budgeting, business development, finance, office management, hiring, etc. A few examples of soft skills would be emotional intelligence, creativity, teamwork, collaboration, and so on. 

Hard skills and soft skills for HR  

HR usually handles tasks related to recruitment and retention of employees. The hard skills required as an HR manager are: 

  • Recruitment  
  • Payroll 
  • Proficiency in HRIS 
  • Finance and budgeting

Some examples of soft skills are:

  • Leadership  
  • Organization  
  • Active listening  
  • Negotiation
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