Developing non-technical skills

I have largely moved away from web development but still occasionally get a project or job that has a web element. I would like to think that my current position in terms of projects and studies means that I have developed a different outlook on things that I do.

I was having a quick scoot through the Smashing Magazine site which was recommended to me by a manager at a previous company this morning over a cup of tea. I came across an article on the more personal skills that one needs to be a web designer, in this case. The underlying article talks about the skills gained from being in a band but it speaks more to the general skills needed for other technical jobs – whether it is freelancing or internal to a company.

Maybe it stuck a nerve as I had just read The Specialist-Generalist Balance on A List Apart and some of the advice for team building and sharing skills.

Having gone to recent hack days and also being involved in others, I have become more aware about communicating with both technical (at many levels) and non-technical people. It is not something that I do that often as most of the time I work in a small team with both specialists and generalists. There are a couple of them who are very good at communicating ideas which helps drive the team and the project.

Maybe it has become something that I am more interested in now that my own skill set has started changing and becoming deeper in places. Working with colleagues with deep knowledge of certain areas is a wonderful way of learning from them but also learning how to argue a contradictory point whilst exploring the depths of an issue. If nothing else, it is a good way of learning about the intricacies of an issue and talking about them.