Soft skills and software development: A reflection from software industry

Faheem Ahmed, Luiz Fernando Capretz, Salah Bouktif, Piers Campbell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    58 Citations (Scopus)


    Psychological theories assert that not everybody is fit for every task, as people have different personality traits and abilities. Often, personality traits are expressed in people's soft skills. That is, the way people perceive, plan and execute any assigned task is influenced by their set of soft skills. Most of the studies carried out on the human factor in Information System concentrate primarily on personality types. Soft skills have been given comparatively little attention by researchers. We review the literature relating to soft skills and the software engineering and information systems domain before describing a study based on 650 job advertisements posted on well-known recruitment sites from a range of geographical locations including, North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The study makes use of nine defined soft skills to assess the level of demand for each of these skills related to individual job roles within the software industry. This work reports some of the vital statistics from industry about the requirements of soft skills in various roles of software development phases. The work also highlights the variation in the types of skills required for each of the roles. We found that currently although the software industry is paying attention to soft skills up to some extent while hiring but there is a need to further acknowledge the role of these skills in software development. The objective of this paper is to analyze the software industry's soft skills requirements for various software development positions, such as system analyst, designer, programmer, and tester. We pose two research questions, namely, (1) What soft skills are appropriate to different software development lifecycle roles, and (2) Up to what extend does the software industry consider soft skills when hiring an employee. The study suggests that there is a further need of acknowledgment of the significance of soft skills from employers in software industry.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)171-191
    Number of pages21
    JournalInternational Journal of Information Processing and Management
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Diversity in information system
    • Empirical study
    • Employment
    • Human factors
    • Information systems
    • People skills
    • Soft skills
    • Software industry

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Computer Science
    • Information Systems and Management


    Dive into the research topics of 'Soft skills and software development: A reflection from software industry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this