In the Web Development and IT companies world, we are always looking for talented people to join our lines; however, it is always difficult to find professionals that not only have great technical skills but soft skills as well.
Last week, I was asked to provide a description about which characteristics a senior engineer/consultant should have to be considered as that, here is my personal opinion about what I think a professional senior should bring to the table:
Be on time
Web Development and Enterprise Consulting is Exciting but Hard
This is not the university, where you could arrive late, where you could decide not to do your homework, where you can think you are good and nothing else can be added to your project just to pass the semester.
In the enterprise consulting activity, we must be on time (or if not, we have to explain why that occurred), we have to understand someone is investing in us, is trusting us to help them.
But have your plan B ready, in case you don’t get what you expect
All of us have things to do and accomplish, you are not the only person who depends on the other’s decision. Wait, be patient, be tolerant. In the enterprise world, people are really busy, the decision will take some time.
However, try to always have a plan B in case the decisions that are blocking you are not being made or taking more time. Try to be in the other person’s shoes:
- What my client would like to have?
- How can I make his life easier?
- Can I take a partial decision with the information I have at this moment?
- Can I take a measured risk to continue my work?
- May I propose something to accelerate the decision-making process?
Be prepared to travel
Being a senior professional is also understanding your company will need you
You will be asked to sacrifice your time in order to deliver what is needed. In the enterprise world, being able to travel and live for a medium/long term in another city is almost a must.
You will probably have to leave your family for a while. If you disagree with this, it is fine, being far away from our family or the things we are used to is hard, but if you take the challenge, do your best to end the project on time and help your team to succeed.
If not, please talk to the right people, please, don’t be silent; they need to know you are not comfortable with the project/tasks you are being asked to deliver.
Be ready to learn
Our area is a fast-evolving zone, nothing is static, everything is being constantly improved
Even if you are not using specific tools, methodologies or processes in the present, that doesn’t mean you should ignore them completely. Our area of knowledge is moving faster and faster, which was valid one year ago, it may be not the best option today.
There is a revolution in knowledge happening as we speak, exciting areas are coming to the enterprise world: Artificial Intelligence, Deep Machine Learning, Neural Networks, Block-chain stuff, Linked Data, Data Science, Virtual Reality…
Be aware of hierarchies
They exist, you cannot remove them, but you can play nicely with them
If you are a young person, it is probably you don’t love hierarchies. The people from your generation consider hierarchies should not exist, you usually respect the people based on what they have demonstrated to you (knowledge, more likely).
In the enterprise world hierarchies exist, there are people with a huge ego, people that have not understood generations are changing… your challenge is to provide them a wider vision, help them to see how your generation envision the world. Don’t see them as the enemy to defeat but as an ally than can help you build the company and the world you envision.
We cannot expect they accept our points right away! They have the experience, they have lived in a different time, they learned to provide solutions, make businesses, keep companies alive with a different approach.
Be an active listener
Stay alert, listen your team and go to the action even if it wasn’t requested
One of the most difficult skills to master is to listen without criticize; everyone has an opinion, all of us have different perspectives about what we believe is right or wrong.
The reality is no one has the final or the ultimate answer
Being an active listener doesn’t mean you have to be silent all the time, on the contrary, you should speak aloud when no one is hearing you; just be sure you have the points and the foundations to discuss and try to communicate why your proposal or you way to see the problems is better at that moment.
What do you think about this? Please let me know your opinion, I will be glad to hear you.