Soft skills requirements in software development jobs: A cross-cultural empirical study

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: Most of the studies carried out on human factor in software development concentrate primarily on personality traits. However, soft skills which largely help in determining personality traits have been given comparatively little attention by researchers. The purpose of this paper is to find out whether employers' soft skills requirements, as advertised in job postings, within different roles of software development, are similar across different cultures. Design/methodology/approach: The authors review the literature relating to soft skills before describing a study based on 500 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. Findings: It was found that in the cases of designer, programmer and tester, substantial similarity exists for the requirements of soft skills, whereas only in the case of system analyst is dissimilarity present across different cultures. It was concluded that cultural difference does not have a major impact on the choice of soft skills requirements in hiring new employee in the case of the software development profession. Originality/value: Specific studies concerning soft skills and software development have been sporadic and often incidental, which highlights the originality of this work. Moreover, no concrete work has been reported in the area of soft skills and their demand as a part of job requirement sets in diverse cultures, which increases the value of this paper.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)58-81
    Number of pages24
    JournalJournal of Systems and Information Technology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


    • Computer software
    • Diversity in software development
    • Human factors
    • Interpersonal skills
    • Jobs
    • National cultures
    • Non-technical skills
    • Recruitment advertising
    • Skills
    • Soft skills

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Computer Science
    • Information Systems


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