Unlocking Potential: Teaching Tech Workers Power Skills for Success

March 28, 2024 | Reskilling Your Workforce | 6 min read

According to stereotypes, technology workers tend to be socially awkward geniuses sitting in a dark room typing code and drinking potent energy drinks. But truth be told, tech workers truly run the gamut. They come from all backgrounds and demonstrate varied interests and skills.

However, it’s become increasingly apparent that technology skills, alone, are not enough to land a job or stay competitive in the future of work. In fact, Skillsoft’s recently released Lean Into Learning report showed that the top 20 digital badges earned by learners last year were focused on the art of power skills. Sometimes known as soft skills, power skills include those intangible and uniquely human characteristics like written communication, public speaking, and DEI that have become particularly important in the age of Generative AI.

And while professionals in any field might face challenges with power skills, the intense focus of tech workers on technical tasks means that these individuals may not always prioritize or have the opportunity to develop strong power skills. This may be to their detriment.

A lack of power skills can hinder technology professionals from getting hired or advancing in their careers. In fact, 67% of HR professionals have withheld job offers due to a lack of power skills in IT candidates. After all, power skills are vital for effective teamwork, customer service, productivity, and leadership in the tech industry.

In fact, enhancing power skills like communication, empathy, and time management can set tech workers apart and improve collaboration between technical and non-technical staff. Power skills are essential for tech workers to thrive in their roles and advance in their careers.

Common Challenges Tech Workers Face With Power Skills

Here are some important power skills for tech workers:

  • Communication: Tech workers may struggle to effectively communicate complex technical concepts to non-technical colleagues or clients. Clear and concise communication is essential for collaboration and project success.
  • Teamwork: In highly technical environments, individuals may prefer working independently rather than in teams. However, many tech projects require collaboration across departments and disciplines, necessitating strong teamwork skills.
  • Empathy: Understanding the perspectives and needs of others, whether they are teammates, clients, or end-users, is crucial for developing user-friendly products and fostering positive relationships. Tech workers may need to consciously cultivate empathy to excel in their roles.
  • Adaptability: The tech industry evolves rapidly, with new technologies and methodologies emerging frequently. Tech workers must be adaptable and willing to learn new skills to stay relevant in their careers.
  • Leadership: As tech workers advance in their careers, they may need to take on leadership roles. Effective leadership requires not only technical expertise but also the ability to inspire and motivate teams, resolve conflicts, and make strategic decisions.

While some tech workers may naturally excel in these areas, others may need to actively work on developing their power skills through training, practice, and feedback.

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How Tech Workers Can Develop Power Skills

Many tech companies recognize the importance of power skills and offer professional development opportunities to help their employees strengthen these abilities. (Yes! Power skills can be taught!)

And that’s where Skillsoft CAISYTM, simulates our Conversation AI Simulator, can help. Skillsoft CAISY simulates honest conversations with AI-powered colleagues and delivers an output to recognize when you get the dialogue right. Conversely, it points out your blind spots and helps you improve on them.

When we launched Skillsoft CAISY in September, it primarily dealt with Leadership & Business scenarios related to first-time managers or diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). But now, Skillsoft CAISY boasts a handful of scenarios related to compliance and technology.

Following are some of our custom technology scenarios to help learners navigate dynamic situations related to technology that may require power skills to be successful.

Considerations for Using AI Responsibly: As more and more workforces try to leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI), it is crucial for organizations to establish clear communication and strategic planning when integrating AI into daily work.

In this scenario, learners will have the opportunity to discuss the potential use of AI when performing their duties with a manager.

Investigating a Cybersecurity Breach: IT support teams play a critical role in detecting and mitigating potential damage from cybersecurity breaches. Understanding the threat, implementing actions to limit potential damage, reviewing your incident response plan, and preventing future breaches are critical steps in safeguarding the company’s operations.

In this scenario, learners will play the role of an IT support specialist who is working with a colleague to investigate a potential cybersecurity breach.

Managing the Responsible Use of AI: As more and more workforces try to leverage the power of AI, it is crucial for organizations to establish clear communication and strategic planning when integrating AI into daily work. Even if your organization has approved the use of AI for improving productivity and efficiency, every employee is responsible for ensuring that privacy and security guidelines are being followed.

In this scenario, learners will play the role of an IT director discussing the potential use of AI with one of the team managers within the company.

Presenting a Product-Led Growth Strategy: A product manager’s data-driven recommendations play a crucial role in prioritizing investments and guiding the strategic direction and growth of their organization. Developing a comprehensive plan that aligns investment recommendations with the company's growth objectives will help inform leadership’s strategic decisions for the company.

In this scenario, learners will play the role of a product manager tasked with determining the key market segments for investment that will drive your company’s product-led growth. You’ve collaborated with the business intelligence team and the next step is to advise your manager on the data collected, your analysis, and its importance.

Problem Solving after a Retrospective Meeting: After a retrospective meeting, it is good practice to follow up with team members on the various outcomes from the meeting and to ensure that everyone is clear on any actions they need to take.

In this scenario, learners will play the role of the Scrum Master for a team that recently had a retrospective meeting. You will be working with the Software Development Manager to address issues that were brought forth. Together, you'll review the team's recent sprint and its challenges, focusing on improving the team's efficiency and communication through a clear plan of action.

Additional Skillsoft CAISYTM scenarios in tech include:

  • AI Ethics and Risk
  • Cloud Migration Planning
  • AI Software Requirements Planning
  • IT Hardware Troubleshooting
  • Daily Scrum Strategy
  • Project Capacity Planning
  • Software Project Requirements Planning
  • IT Software Troubleshooting
  • Building a Data Team
  • Cybersecurity Pen Testing
  • Project Risk Identification

Many organizations understand the importance of empowering tech workers with tailored learning experiences in core coding skills, cloud, cybersecurity, web development, and AI to help drive transformative growth. Yet, they drop the ball when it comes to offering the same opportunities to learn, practice, and apply new power skills.

Consider checking out Skillsoft CAISYTMto improve your learning program today.