Something that honestly wasn’t much of a consideration for me during my bootcamp selection process was the importance of choosing a well-rounded program that emphasized personal and professional development in addition to strict coding.
Oxford Dictionaries defines the term “soft skills” as follows — “ personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.”
In a context such as a bootcamp (as well as in many jobs) you’re spending a huge amount of concentrated time with a group of people and are often responding to challenging or stressful problems alongside that group. The ability to interact with your peers/colleagues/classmates in a way that is, at the very least, respectful and supportive, and ideally also interesting and enjoyable, is HUGE. The variability within possible team configuration and dynamics makes all the difference in the world as to whether a team is successful or not.
When people feel seen, appreciated, and included, they are more likely to bring forth their best selves/contributions, and the energy that brings to a collaborative dynamic improves both the quality of work and life for all involved. This means that a healthy, thriving work environment depends on soft skills to have any kind of sustainability.
I have had many experiences working in both functional AND dysfunctional teams, and I’m pretty sure it’s obvious which was the preferred scenario…
Knowing all this, it feels embarrassingly shortsighted of me not to have viewed this area of development and focus as a critical component of my education and growth as I work toward becoming a developer.
Fortunately for me, I ended up selecting a program that does indeed emphasize the importance of identifying and developing soft skills and regularly commits time to build these out with fun individual and team exercises.
Last week, we were asked to participate in an online personality assessment, and during Friday’s huddle spent time discussing the results together as a group. I’ve taken a few of these tests before and always end up with a slightly different analysis, but on the whole think they’re pretty accurate and useful. We broke into groups based on certain aspects of our results and then answered a few questions about how our various personality traits impact communication styles and our preferred methods of working.
Pretty interesting to get a little more exposure to my classmates’ experiences and insights, and I feel like these kinds of activities really do help strengthen how we work together as a class and how we can better support each other moving forward. I’m excited to see what this week’s huddle activity entails, and in the meantime, I’ll be doing a bit more sleuthing into the particulars of this “campaigner” personality ;)