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  • Jordan Strate

Mastering the Balance: Technical vs. Soft Skills in the Workplace

Updated: Jun 17

In today’s world, there are two important types of skills that people need to succeed at work: technical skills and soft skills. Let’s take a closer look at what these skills are, how they are different, and why they are important.

An employee develops technical and soft skills

What are Technical Skills?

Technical skills are specific abilities or knowledge needed to perform certain tasks. These skills are often learned through training, education, or practice. For example, knowing how to use a computer program, fixing a car engine, or building a website are all technical skills. People often learn these skills in school, through online courses, or hands-on experience.

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills, on the other hand, are personal attributes and social abilities that help people interact well with others. These skills are more about how you work rather than what you know. Examples of soft skills include communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and time management. These skills are developed through experiences in everyday life, such as working in a group project at school or helping to resolve a disagreement between friends.

Differences Between Technical and Soft Skills

  1. Learning Process:

  • Technical Skills: Usually learned through formal education or specific training programs. You might take a course or go to a workshop to learn these skills.

  • Soft Skills: Often learned through experience and practice in real-life situations. They can also be improved through workshops and training but often require personal reflection and practice.

  1. Application:

  • Technical Skills: Used to perform specific tasks or jobs. For example, a programmer uses coding skills to create software.

  • Soft Skills: Used in various situations to help you work well with others and handle different challenges. For example, good communication helps you share ideas clearly in a meeting.

  1. Measurement:

  • Technical Skills: Easier to measure. You can take tests or complete tasks to show you have these skills.

  • Soft Skills: Harder to measure. People might notice these skills through your behavior and how you interact with others.

How They are Useful in Different Workplaces

Example 1: An Office Job

  • Technical Skills: Using computer software like Microsoft Office, typing quickly, and organizing files are important technical skills in an office job. These skills help you complete your work efficiently.

  • Soft Skills: Communication, teamwork, and problem-solving are crucial. You need to communicate well with your coworkers, work together on projects, and solve any issues that come up.

Example 2: A Construction Job

  • Technical Skills: Knowing how to use tools, read blueprints, and follow safety procedures are important technical skills in construction. These skills help you build structures safely and correctly.

  • Soft Skills: Teamwork and time management are key. You need to work well with others to get the job done on time and ensure everyone’s safety.

Example 3: A Customer Service Job

  • Technical Skills: Using a cash register, managing inventory, and understanding company policies are important technical skills in customer service.

  • Soft Skills: Communication and patience are essential. You need to listen to customers, understand their needs, and help solve their problems in a friendly manner.

Why Both Skills Are Important

Having both technical and soft skills makes you a well-rounded worker. Technical skills ensure you can do the job, while soft skills help you interact with others and handle various situations effectively. Employers look for people who have a good balance of both types of skills.

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