December 14, 2007 8:03 AM PST

Survey: People skills valued over those for IT

Survey: People skills valued over those for IT
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Interpersonal skills are more important in the workplace than IT skills, according to the results of a survey commissioned by Microsoft.

In the survey of approximately 500 board-level executives, 61 percent said interpersonal and teamworking skills were more important than IT skills.

However, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said that while communication skills are important, IT skills now permeated every level and type of job. "One of the most important changes of the past 30 years is that digital technology has transformed almost everyone into an information worker," said Gates in a statement. "In almost every job now, people use software and work with information to enable their organization to operate more effectively."

But Gates also acknowledged the value of people skills. "Communication skills and the ability to work well with different types of people are very important too," he said. "Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs."

Most of the executives questioned felt interpersonal skills would continue to be more important than IT skills in the future. But many felt IT skills would become more important, with 24 percent saying IT would become the most important skill in the workplace within the next 10 years.

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
communication skill, survey, skill, information technology, Bill Gates


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Catch 22
Communications Skills over Tech Skills explains buggy software that doesn't work all that well. It doesn't explain the crappy error messages though. You would think at least those would be well worded and would communicate clearly exactly why something that should work, doesn't.
Posted by Renegade Knight (13748 comments )
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Not software
I am pretty sure they weren't referring to software. They were referring to actual verbal communication for collaboration, and explanation of IT implementation, and maintenance. Besides developers/programmers don't usually fit into the common "IT" definition for companies. Usually :)
Posted by iknownothing1997 (3 comments )
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Not that easily explained...
You would be amazed at the number of coding teams with excellent tech skills that turn out a rotten product due to a lack of clear communication.

It's like this - when you're building an app, utility, driver, whatever... first, you have to define what the thing does. Next you have to define how to make it do those things. [i]Then[/i], you get to really dig deep and define how all the bits interact (which also gives you a chance to consolidate functions and pieces so that you don't end up duplicating work unnecessarily).

Once everyone has a clear and unified idea as to what needs to be done, and agree on how to do it, then they start writing code.

I've seen excellent projects (DAZ|Studio for instance) based on clear communication and excellent coding skills. Believe it or not, it works (DAZ for instance kept the main code monkeys together in the same physical room w/ four desks in it... it was excellent for asking questions, getting insight as to a bit or bob, and in general allowing everyone to be sociable and comfortable with each other personally).

Now I know what you're pointing at... and yes, Vista is basically crap. BUT - the whole thing with Vista IMHO has more to do with bad initial design and a lack of inter-departmental communication than it does with bad coding.

I'm thinking that's prolly why Microsoft funded the study in the first place. Let's face it - in spite of the marketing spin they pump out, they have to know that Vista is about as buoyant as a lead brick. They won't admit that realization to you or I, but they have no choice but to admit it to themselves, at least if they have any hope of long-term survival.

The very fact that they commissioned this study and spent money on it confirms the theory nicely, IMHO.

Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
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Document Writing
This article forgot to mention one important skill that everyone seems to need these days - document writing. In my work place more and more projects are focusing on writing documents then actually coding. And if u can write a document then you will be more widely recognized than if u can program well. This is the state of enterprise development.
Posted by sanjayb (538 comments )
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