The case for soft skills in every bootcamp
When students join our bootcamps they’re naturally focused on learning the coding skills needed to get a job. However, surveys frequently show that employers are increasingly interested in soft skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and resilience.
min read //
September 8, 2021
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When Jana entered Re:Coded’s React Bootcamp in Lebanon, she was worried, though for different reasons from most students.
She already had much more experience with coding than the average student. She was familiar with Angular, Ionic, CSS, so how challenging would the bootcamp really be? She basically applied to learn React, the only language in the bootcamp that was new to her.
In the end, it was all the things that didn’t have to do with coding, that really stuck with her and turned out to be as life-changing as coding.
Employers want life-long learners
Whenever a new report is published on the ‘future of work’ or an article analyzes how to succeed in a future where artificial intelligence will make some functions redundant, it’s rarely just about the hard skills. The rest is about mindset and soft skills.
In 2020, the Future of Jobs Survey by the World Economic Forum showed that critical thinking and analysis, problem-solving, self-management, working with people and management and communication are skills that companies are increasingly asking of new employees.
By 2025, the top skills will be leadership and social influence and emotional intelligence among technology use and design, making the skills learned outside of coding just as important as the skills within coding.
This isn’t a new phenomenon either or a just a thing for the most developed economies. Back in 2016, a labor needs assessment report by GIZ in Lebanon showed that 43% of companies wanted their staff to be committed to ‘lifelong learning’ and 60% wanted their staff to undergo training to improve their project management skills.
Labor force assessment
- In a Labor Force assessment by GIZ in 2016 companies had the following to say about IT employees:
- 34 percent of companies said that they wanted their managerial and support staff to show greater appetite for learning
- 31 percent wanted them to take the initiative more often
- 31 percent encountered problems when it came to generating and implementing alternatives
- 51 percent asking staff to show more initiative
- 46 percent identifying dependability as an issue
- 43 percent stating that there was a need for greater commitment to lifelong learning
ICT companies also believed that their professional staff could benefit from general training in management practices to improve their personal allocation of resources (63 percent), prioritization of key work (62 percent) and project management skills (60 percent).
In order for the ICT sector to reach its full potential, 49% of companies said that employees need training on the latest technologies
Not only do companies want team players, they also want team leaders and the Re:Coded bootcamp was Jana’s first experience with that kind of training.
"We do exercises and meetings and we practice together. It makes you so tired, you need to be there for your team all the time, but I’m enjoying it, I love working on a project and I love coding."
Whether working with classmates to figure out a problem or working on their capstone project, working in a team was something new for Jana, as she hadn’t done it in her previous learning experiences.
"When you find someone to study with and learn with, it’s so much easier."
Practical coding experience is key
Regarding the job market, Jana says that Re:Coded helped her realize her passion for front-end web development. When she previously searched for jobs, she found that while some organizations in Lebanon will ask for a full stack developer, there are still many who will just request front-end technical skills. Alongside the soft skills of communication, leadership, and management, a popular requirement in postings is a number of years of experience.
I just want to be experienced enough to do work on something I love. I just want to build websites and applications.
Jana’s experience with coding spans workshops, bootcamps, professional clubs, and her own brother. Comparing the Re:Coded bootcamp to other ones she has attended, Jana said that the main difference between the Re:Coded bootcamp and other ones she has attended was Re:Coded’s emphasis on practice.
"I would advise anyone to join, but they need to give it as much time as it needs. To feel like you accomplished something, you need to work for it."
Another difference between Re:Coded and other bootcamps was the feeling Jana had while attending.
"I didn’t expect it to feel like this. I felt very special and loved in the bootcamp. I would really call them my family."
Although Jana did projects at the end of previous workshops, she still felt like it was easier to do projects with Re:Coded because of how much she practiced in the bootcamp.
"When Re:Coded told us to do it, I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s easy.’ Just through the program, learning together, helping each other, that was enough to build this connection."
The perfect website Jana wants to create is similar to her capstone project for Re:Coded, an organized journal to help people schedule their days and finish their tasks. Of course, this website would also have a companion application as well.
However, beyond this, Jana doesn’t have a detailed plan for her future.
We are trying our best to accomplish something and to be alive and to do the things we can to help ourselves and the country.
This coding bootcamp is a part of the Local Development Program for Urban Areas in North Lebanon (UDP_NL) which is co-funded by he European Union and Germany. It is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Re:Coded.
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