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The X-Factor: 7 Crucial Soft Skills to Land a $500k Tech Job

Posted on 
November 10, 2021
Team Interview Kickstart

Software engineers looking to uplevel their careers need to not only think about which company and role they should join, but they should also work on upskilling themselves to qualify for that company or role. In doing so, most software engineers tend to have a narrow focus on sharping their technical skills. Some smart engineers might even cover behavioral skills. But often, they miss out on some of the most critical soft skills. 

To be able to secure a high-paying, senior tech role, you should possess other personal and professional attributes, in addition to your demonstrable technical skills and behavioral skills.

At Interview Kickstart, we have trained over 9,000 software engineers to prepare them for the most challenging tech interviews. From this experience, we know what it takes to crack these interviews and land your dream job at FAANG+ companies. Our alums receive an average salary hike of 49%, and the highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000!

In this article, we’ll cover the “X factor” attributes you should showcase to land a $500k tech job:

  • Be a 10x Engineer
  • Be Competitive
  • Create More Value
  • Stay Relevant
  • Grow Business Understanding 
  • Develop an Appetite for Risk
  • Be Persistent and Persevere

1. Be a 10x Engineer

You can create demand for your talent by developing deep expertise in a particular area and creating value for an organization by becoming a force multiplier. 

By utilizing your expertise to enable others to perform in a manner that drives a 10x improvement in overall results, you can create immense value for an organization. This ability offers you a solid competitive advantage to command premium compensation.

10x engineers are desirable because they are self-starters, constantly developing their skills and finding newer and faster ways to arrive at solutions. They’re always up-to-date on the latest advancements in technology and have an experimental mindset.

2. Be Competitive

A competitive spirit is necessary as you strive for a high-paying, senior position at a leading tech company. 

Competition intensifies, and opportunities narrow out as you progress up the career ladder. Therefore, developing competitive advantages and standing out from the crowd is required if you expect to land a senior position.

It’s essential to build networks and connections within the community to stay aware of new trends and technologies that companies are adopting as well as your value with respect to talent available in the market.

3. Create More Value

Promotions are vital to career progression. As you go up levels, promotions are not easily earned. To earn a promotion, you have to develop the ability to function at a level higher than your current level. You have to go beyond productivity to create a company-wide business impact to stand out and create more value for yourself. 

Engineers with a breadth of skills and knowledge of business operations and culture are remunerated far higher than those with depth in a limited technological area.

Given their familiarity with company culture, internal candidates are generally preferred over external candidates for senior positions. Craft a career path that enables you to join the right company at the right time so that you can grow to a senior role. 

4. Stay Relevant

In an ever-changing tech landscape, your educational degrees and current skills can become outdated over time. This can curtail your career growth and, therefore, your earnings prospects.

In the tech industry, competition is global. You’re not just competing with the local talent pool but with talent that is potentially more affordable across geographies.

Staying abreast of the latest updates and new technologies and maintaining your value offering in the face of this competition is imperative to staying relevant. Companies value engineers with the ability to learn and apply new concepts quickly as well as aid business progression and profitability. 

5. Grow Your Business Understanding 

It’s crucial to gain an understanding of the entire product development life cycle. Companies desire engineers who can go beyond core tech competencies to understand customer needs and meet them.

Engineers are also highly compensated for their awareness of the business side of technology. As you develop your technical skills, also learn about the market your company operates in.  

6. Develop an Appetite for Risk

Getting into a high-paying senior tech role requires engineers to break out of their comfort zones. Most engineers plateau at mid-level positions, unwilling to pursue opportunities beyond perceived barriers. 

Pursuing a new career path, relocating, learning a new technology, or investing in the right resources to uplevel your career are risky but necessary moves to attain your dream role and compensation. The ability to take smart risks on the job is also a highly valued skill and a strong competitive advantage for engineers at large tech companies that thrive on innovation.

7. Be Persistent and Persevere

Climbing the career ladder in tech requires constant and consistent effort. You will need to constantly identify opportunities for growth within your current organization or externally. You will have to update your skills and keep up with changing technological requirements.

Considering how competitive and demanding senior-level positions can be, few engineers are willing to put in the effort. Many find it daunting to pursue a new opportunity at a new company. 

Sometimes, you may need to interview multiple times or at multiple companies to land the right offer. It demands perseverance, which is a skill only a few engineers develop. 

Ready to Uplevel Your Career?

If you want to polish your tech, behavioral, and interviewing skills, register for Interview Kickstart’s FREE webinar to understand the best way to prepare for tech interviews at FAANG+ companies. IK is the gold standard in tech interview prep. Our programs include a comprehensive curriculum, unmatched teaching methods, FAANG+ instructors, and career coaching to help you nail your next tech interview.

We’ve trained thousands of engineers to land dream offers at the biggest companies, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Netflix, among others. Check out some reviews to know more.
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