If you’re looking to uplevel your career and land a $500k tech job, you should know that working on your behavioral skills is equally important as your tech skills. Depending on the role, in some cases, soft skills may carry more weight than technical skills.
To learn about the technical skills and qualifications required for a high-paying tech job, we recommend you to read Qualifications and Tech Skills Required to Land a $500k Tech Job before reading this article.
At a higher level, you’re compensated not only for your technical expertise but also for your interpersonal skills. At junior and mid-level positions, engineers function to complete individual tasks or manage individual projects or small to mid-sized teams. They focus on solving defined problems through technological expertise.
However, at senior levels, engineers work to identify business opportunities and create a company-wide impact. They move from single to multiple projects, influence technical strategy, and work with large teams to achieve business goals.
At senior levels, people and behavioral skills are more important than technical skills. These are must-have competencies to secure a high-paying, senior position.
Key behavioral skills you should build are:
- Critical/Analytical Thinking
- Strategic Thinking
- Problem-Solving Abilities
- Organizational Skills
- Time Management
- Project Management
Engineers tend to focus on technologies and function as individual contributors executing individual tasks. This does not offer scope to develop interpersonal skills, such as communication.
However, communication skills are a crucial requirement to progress into and function at senior levels. Senior engineers have to communicate with multiple stakeholders and their teams to achieve results. Understanding requirements, conveying ideas, presenting outcomes, assisting teams, resolving issues, etc., all involve different forms of communication.
Therefore, improving your communication skills — verbal, written, and listening — can give you a competitive advantage in securing a high-paying position.
To advance to a management or specialized individual contributor role, leading or influencing people is a core skill. To position yourself as a leader, you should be able to leverage technical expertise and strong people management skills to develop trust with people beyond your team.
Scalability is an important aspect of business operations at most leading tech companies. Companies are always keen on engineers who can lead large-scale initiatives, i.e., take ownership, accountability, and responsibility of large teams and projects.
Leadership is imperative to achieving project and business goals and is a highly valued skill at all tech companies.
At a senior level, you’re expected to not only manage but also nurture talent. You create real value for a company by sharing your skills and knowledge. By mentoring, training, and enabling others, you improve the quality of talent at a company. This improves overall team performances for better results, helping companies stay competitive.
4. Critical/Analytical Thinking
To provide technical direction and lead major projects, you should be able to analyze complex information and problems to determine optimal solutions. This includes the ability to think on your feet and function as a critical resource, especially in a crisis.
You should understand the nuances of processes and systems and identify ways to fix issues and improve efficiency.
5. Strategic Thinking
In the tech world, innovation drives profitability. Strategic thinking in the tech industry requires an innovative mindset — an aspect FAANG and leading tech companies worldwide thrive on.
At a senior level, engineers command high compensations for their expertise in managing ongoing projects and their ability to anticipate problems and identify opportunities. Coupled with strong critical and analytical thinking skills, strategizing and seeing the bigger picture are highly valued skills by tech organizations functioning in a very competitive industry.
6. Problem-Solving Abilities
At senior levels, you’ll be expected to bway to prepare for tech interviews at FAANG+ companiesreak down complex problems into resolvable tasks. This requires a fair bit of creative thinking, technical expertise, and hands-on experience.
To develop strong problem-solving skills, gain experience handling different types of projects. This will familiarize you with different situations and issues and how to solve them.
Companies prefer engineers with deep experience since they are bound to have encountered lots of challenges and failures, making them adept at dealing with and solving problems. They can easily replicate past learnings to resolve problems quickly.
7. Organizational Skills
Strong organizational skills are essential to proper time management, smooth functioning of operations, and productivity. This involves multiple skills such as planning, decision-making, multi-tasking, prioritization, delegation, etc.
While many engineers are adept at functioning expertly within prescribed frameworks, not everyone develops the organizational skills required to run large-scale, complex systems and processes that drive value for organizations, making it a skill worth pursuing.
8. Time Management
Leading multiple teams or projects simultaneously, collaborating with multiple stakeholders, and directing tasks to achieve set goals, requires strong time management skills.
At senior levels, your deliverables have a real business impact. Time efficiencies can positively impact earnings and profitability. The ability to manage timelines and deadlines is a highly valued skill for senior tech positions.
Resourcefulness is about being able to achieve outcomes with available resources as well as identifying new technologies or resources to achieve goals. Your experience should speak of your understanding of the latest trends and developments to help you achieve goals efficiently and effectively.
At a senior level, you will be required to work proactively and chart a course of action in the face of uncertainty.
10. Project Management
Another core competency requirement at senior levels, project management, involves initiating, planning, detailing, and controlling projects from conceptualization to delivery.
It involves a range of responsibilities such as creating roadmaps, goal-setting, negotiating, budgeting, monitoring, risk management, etc.
Project management skills are especially in demand at leading tech companies. FAANG companies run multiple businesses and products simultaneously, and senior-level engineers are expected to manage competing priorities.
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