Is it Important for a Computer Scientist to have People Skills?

Computer science professionals often carry a reputation for an aloof personality and the need to engage in complex coding in a room all alone, and they’re not known for their people skills. However, with the incredible need for skilled information technology professionals in a variety of roles, some computer scientists are finding the need for advanced communication skills.

In fact, a study by the Higher Education Statistics Agency out of England suggests that many computer science graduates don’t actually work in a job related to their skills. A lack of people and communication skills could be partially to blame. Even though it might seem like a computer science professional works in a solo environment for much of his or her career, any job in business today requires communication and interaction with other employees.

The Importance of Networking

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that the United States will add around 4,100 new computer and information research scientist jobs over the next several years. Networking to find employment is an important part of landing one of these lucrative jobs after graduation from a professional degree program.

Many professionals suggest that finding a job through the traditional want ads, whether the listing is through an offline or online source, is almost impossible. A computer scientist who doesn’t have the people skills to network during and after college may find it impossible to find work in the career he or she trained for during school.

Communication Skills on the Job

In addition to using communication skills to find a job after graduation, computer scientists must also know how to use their skills while on the job. During an interview for a computer science or information technology job, a graduate will probably be asked about his or her communication skills.

He or she might need to explain how to solve a problem that requires interaction with other employees or customers. Important communication skills used for on-the-job issues including listening, non-verbal communication, flexibility and a willingness to understand the point of view of other people.

Building a Communication Skills and a Post-graduation Network

During school, a future computer scientist may want to take electives or extra classes related to building effective communication skills. An introductory class on communication may help, as well as courses on sociology, public speaking, written communication and management skills. Some computer science programs have communication classes built into the curriculum, but it can never hurt to expand upon those basic skills with additional advanced coursework.

Methods that computer scientists may need to learn how to use to network and find a job after graduation include connecting with alumni, speaking with old friends and maximizing social media applications such as LinkedIn. Valuable exercises also include communicating on job boards frequented by recruiters and companies who are looking for computer science graduates.

Additional information from the BLS on the information technology industry suggests that computer science professionals work in almost every aspect of today’s job market. From the essential services of custom computer programming to the IT jobs that deal with customer service and problem-solving, all computer scientists need to be able to communicate effectively while on the job. Building people skills while in school and after graduation is an essential part of obtaining a job in today’s dynamic world of information technology and computer science.

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