Here are 8 soft skills needed for any [digital] job

by Lisa Stamm

Here are 8 soft skills needed for any [digital] job

Developing soft skills is a necessity for any job. We live in a rapidly changing digital age where we must prepare for the jobs of the future if we want to get ahead of the game.

But… how can you go about acquiring the skills for a job that doesn't even exist yet?

Well, this is where soft skills come into play. Having the soft skills of being curious and open-minded, being capable of collaboration and much more will help you learn any new hard skill without feeling anxious or disheartened.

We've listed 8 soft skills useful in any job (especially those in the digital field), helping you take on any challenge you face.

What’s more, we will also share ways to acquire these soft skills - for free!

These function as some of the most important traits of visionary leaders, as well as a necessary foundation for any job.

1. Learn to learn

The holy grail of soft skills is learning to learn. Yes, read that again. It is important that you develop skills for lifelong learning.

Learning doesn't stop after school. Due to the rapid innovation in technology, sustainability, online marketing, and other fields, the hard skills you acquire today may not be relevant in 10 years.

For example, Snapchat, TikTok, Tesla, Uber, Stripe, Lyft, Pinterest, and many more tech tools didn't exist 10 years ago.

That means everyone who worked on those tools didn't have the knowledge of that technology to begin with. They had to acquire this through self-study.

Understanding how to learn and to look upon the world with a beginner’s mind is, therefore, an important soft skill to help remain versatile and relevant.

What can you do with this soft skill?

  • Analyze a complex problem beyond your current knowledge and level.
  • Identify the information and knowledge you lack.
  • Research different sources and relevant knowledge both online and offline.
  • Efficiently implement the knowledge to solve your practical problem
  • Gain a new understanding you didn't have before.

2. Critical thinking

Being able to critically reflect on a situation or problem without being influenced by politics, environment, opinions, and personal gain helps you to make the right choices.

There are many challenges, especially at work. Being able to take a step back, analyze the situation neutrally, and provide useful feedback helps you to look at the bigger picture, rather than getting caught up transitory details.

Being critical will take you to the next step in your career.

What can you do with this soft skill?

  • Analyze a complex problem without being influenced by factors other than the relevant project objectives.
  • Provide critical feedback that helps projects reach milestones.
  • Understand yourself and those around you more clearly through unbiased reflection.
  • Develop critical thinking tools by verifying that the information you have obtained is correct.

3. Being open-minded and innovative

By being open-minded and compassionate, you not only nurture diversity and inclusion, but you may also gain new innovative ideas that you wouldn't have reached otherwise.
You can surprise and encourage those around you by asking questions, rather than shooting down ideas. Understanding what inspires people, ideas, and projects can strengthen connections and create unseen solutions.

What can you do with this soft skill?

  • Accept the unknown and embrace change.
  • Increase emotional intelligence (the ability to control and understand your own emotions and those of others).
  • Strengthen relationships with people who can help you on your way.
  • Ask unbiased, non-judgmental questions.

4. Adaptability

We intentionally mention adaptability after learning to learn and open-mindedness. All of these skills are interrelated: if you know how to learn and you can accept the unfamiliarity, you are able to adapt and grow.

The only constant is change: it stays that way. Especially when you consider that our future is unknown in the field of technology and even more so in the field of sustainability, adaptability will help you accept, understand, and embrace new realities.

What can you do with this soft skill?

  • Deal with change, regardless of its rapidity.
  • Use your time, effort, and energy effectively to move with change.
  • Be less stressed and resistant to the reality that surrounds you.

5. Collaboration and communication

When people from different backgrounds work together, we are able to achieve the unthinkable. Collaborative intelligence and the ability to communicate have never been more desirable and attainable than they are today.

The post-pandemic era has helped us realize that we can work together through turbulence, time zones, and borders to try - quite literally - to solve world problems.

While solving world problems may not be your goal, knowing how to work together and put judgment aside (hey, open-minded again!) can help you be critical and adapt to any problem that comes your way.

What can you do with this soft skill?

  • Understand and implement your strengths within a group of different people.
  • Brainstorm, analyze, and implement creative ideas.
  • Gain new skills by collaborating with others who think differently.

6. Problem-solving

In our opinion, problem-solving is a skill so vital that, no matter what you are doing or where you are doing it, this skill will always come in handy … in ways both large and small.

The ability to solve problems quickly, rationally, and effectively is one of the most important skills that is required for any job … or any facet of life for that matter.

What can you do with this soft skill?

  • Take a step back, analyze, and rationalize deep complex problems without being overwhelmed.
  • Break down large complex problems into smaller, manageable action points that will help solve any dilemma.
  • Viewing obstacles as the chance for new opportunities and fresh perspectives, rather than things to run from. Be decisive and make effective choices.

7. Commitment

If you actively dedicate yourself to attaining a goal, you are more likely to achieve it.

Such commitment to that goal will allow people to see you as a visionary; as an attractive leader they trust.

But beware: by being overly committed, you can easily lose the overview, push unnecessary boundaries, and lose your sense of analytical thinking. Staying engaged, while also remaining realistic and enthusiastic, is an important combination.

If used correctly, this soft skill, combined with the previous skills of adaptability, collaboration, communication, and openness, automatically makes people want to listen and support you.

What can you do with this soft skill?

  • Go above and beyond; be persistent, while guarding the goals of the project.
  • Become a visionary leader.
  • Gain the trust of the people around you. If you can commit to a goal, project or job, you show that you are someone to rely on.

8. Autonomy

Autonomy means two things to us. Firstly, it means being able to work independently after the project preconditions have been established. But more importantly, it means understanding and acting on your values and interests.

What can you do with this soft skill?

  • Work independently and proactively without needing others to tell you what and how to do it.
  • Act on your values and interests.
  • Be able to communicate with your colleagues and understand whether you you are still meeting the project objectives.

How do you acquire these soft skills?

Please note: this is where some shameless self-promotion comes into play.

If you've ever heard of the school called 42, you know what we're talking about. 42 is a network made up of programming schools around the world.

A total of 15,000 students (and counting) in 25 countries learn programming through a model that has a deep focus on soft skills in addition to the hard skills of coding.

Our students learn programming through a 100% accessible model. We believe that the most important soft skills are developed through our innovative model that focuses on freedom of learning.

How does 42 work?

It is completely tuition-free before, during, and after. Even if you stop halfway. You do not sign a contract with us, you are free to get up and walk away whenever you want.

In addition, you go through the curriculum as fast or slow as you want. That means some students graduate after 2.5 years and others 5, and everything in between.

Thirdly, you can get on campus with no prior degrees or experience. We don't care what degrees you've had before or what your educational background is. If you have the motivation to learn new skills today, we want to help you!!

In addition to this, students learn programming without teachers. Our educational model is entirely based on student learning with their peers, as well as through online and offline information that they tested on and actively allowed to implement.

Through this model, students organically acquire the soft skills mentioned above; learning to learn, adaptability, critical thinking, collaboration, open-mindedness, and problem-solving ability.

We open our campus 24/7, day and night, so it's up to you to come to the campus whenever you choose. You do not have to adapt to the schedules of lectures or teachers, but independently judge how best to complete your projects.
The freedom of our model allows you to become confident, autonomous, and committed, in addition to the soft skills mentioned above.

You are the one who decides how, what and when to study! We provide the environment ( the curriculum,the computers, and the building) and hand you the power to take back the ownership of your own learning path.

We believe in the power of lifelong learning!

Now we are curious … what soft skills do you think are missing from our list?


There are three 42 schools in Germany (and many more in the world):

  1. 42 Heilbronn
  2. 42 Wolfsburg
  3. 42 Berlin

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