The Soft Skills Needed to Apply Your Coding Skills

It's finally happened! You're at your first in-person interview at a tech company. You were great on the phone, and they're super excited to meet you, but when you step up to whiteboard your first problem, your mind goes blank. You've whiteboarded a hundred times before, but you've never whiteboarded in front of another person who is judging you.

Frankly, this nightmare scenario happens all too often, even though it's one hundred percent avoidable. The solution? Find a coding school or boot camp that offers training in soft skills along with hard coding skills.

Soft Skills Matter!

When looking at all the available options, look for a school that both features a great coding program and will help you learn how to navigate the professional challenges of being a software engineer. It may be out of your comfort zone, but look for curricula that include student presentations, opportunities for collaboration with other students, and mock interviews. These will help you while you're trying to get a job as well as while you're maintaining and growing your career after you do get a job.

Practice Presentations

For presentations, look for experience standing in front of a large crowd (over twenty people) and giving a timed presentation. This will help you develop your ability to speak to a large crowd of people and the. A time constraint will help you develop good timing and concise storytelling skills. These skills will help you through the interview process, and are critical skills to develop and nurture through your professional career.

Collaborate with Others

In addition, look for a school where you can learn and code with a diverse team of people and where you will have opportunities to lead and train your classmates. These are critical skills for software engineers to develop and will help you learn to read body language in a professional environment. Knowing how to read the room can help you succeed through your software engineering career. Working closely with your peers for several months will give you practice identifying and interpreting your peers' emotions. If you can apply these same tactics in a job interview, it may give you the edge in keeping the conversation right where you need it to be.

Mock Interviews

Mock interviews are the key last piece of the puzzle. Knowing how to code is one thing. Being able to clearly explain your logic and knowledge under pressure is an altogether different skill. The only way to develop this ability is to practice, practice, practice. Find a school that encourages you to develop these skills through regular mock interview exercises. By repeatedly practicing mock interviews, you will get used to the tough questions, on-the-spot whiteboarding, the rapid pace of questions, and more.

Here's a recap!

  • Select a bootcamp that offers great coding instruction, and training in soft skills like:
    • Practice presentations
      • Look for opportunities to present in front of a crowd (20+ audience members)
      • Practice timed presentations
    • Opportunities for collaboration with other students
      • Learn to lead and train your classmates
    • Mock interviews
      • Learn to clearly explain your logic and knowledge under pressure
      • Practice on-the-spot whiteboarding
      • Become comfortable with rapid fire questions
      • Practice, practice, practice!

How Holberton School can Help!

Of course, these work better when there's a physical campus where you can work and study with other students. While many students have success with online-only education options, we at Holberton School believe that the best programmers are trained in environments that are similar to the workplace. More often than not, programmers work with close-knit situations teams in face-to-face environments. If it is your dream to get a career as a software engineer, you'll want to find an educational system that functions like your future workplace.

This post was sponsored by Holberton School. To learn more about Holberton School, visit or check out their reviews on SwitchUp.

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