5 Skills Needed to be Successful in Today’s Workforce

by Pranav Ramesh
December 07, 2020
Essential skills for career success

What does it take to be successful in today’s workforce? Technical skills are important, of course, but over 97% of employers say that soft skills are as, or more, important than hard skills. These are the skills that are not specific to the job, such as knowing a certain programming language or network architecture. The most important skills needed to be successful in today’s workforce are:

  • Drive
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Adaptability


All employers are looking for candidates with initiative. Being driven is something that cannot be taught and has to come naturally from the employee. It means having the discipline to accomplish not only what you are assigned, but to look for more ways to help the team and the company. It’s also the way that leadership learns they can trust and rely on you. When you put in the extra time and effort to spot problems and opportunities early, then find ways to solve or capitalize on them, it shows that you are engaged with the team and invested in the outcome.


Communication is often the number one skill needed to be successful in today’s workforce. Whether you are simply writing code, or solving complex problems for key stakeholders, you must be able to communicate your ideas. Communication includes talking, obviously, but the best communicators are even better at listening. They absorb the information, seek to truly understand it at the deepest level, then look to present it in a way that makes sense to others rather than themselves. Are you speaking to a fellow developer? A project manager? A C-suite executive? Know your audience and tailor your explanation, be it spoken, written, or presented, in a way that makes sense to them.

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Today’s workforce is all about the team. Methodologies like Agile and DevOps prioritize collaboration, but even the traditional, legacy development process requires everyone to work together. You must learn to think about others, and the project or team as a whole, more than you think about yourself. What can you do on top of your own assignments to help the team? Do you offer help and jump in without being asked, or does someone have to request your assistance? Do you celebrate your teammates’ wins as enthusiastically as your own? If so, that’s great! You are already a team player. If not, ask yourself what you can do to change.


In today’s workforce, modern problems call for modern solutions. This usually means looking at a problem in a way no one else has before. Gone are the days of being able to Google, or search Stack Overflow, for every solution. Technology and current events change so fast that, even if you found a supposed answer, it would likely be outdated. Use your knowledge, experience, and critical thinking skills to analyze the problem. Then, allow your imagination to consider non-traditional and outside-the-box solutions. That, my friend, is the foundation of innovation.

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All employees, at every level, have to be more adaptable than ever in today’s workforce. The willingness and ability to pivot is a highly sought-after skill employers are looking for. Change should be exciting, not scary, and it’s important to embrace it if not seek it out. Think about the language you use, both with others and with yourself. Do you find yourself saying, “We’ve never done it like that before” or “That won’t work, we already tried it”? If so, you may not be as malleable as you would like to be, and it’s time for some personal reflection.


Employers have been hunting for candidates with great soft skills for quite some time. That’s only increased in recent years. As technology changes more rapidly, hiring managers have learned that technical skills will change. If you, the employee, have mastered the right soft skills, you will evolve right along with it.


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