Soft skills are non-technical skills that help you to perform your job better. In space tech, you’ll have job-specific, technical skills you need to do your work, but there are also more general, soft skills that are required. For instance, you might have amazing data analysis skills (technical), but if you don’t have the communication skills (soft) to communicate your findings with stakeholders, then it’s going to be difficult to succeed.
Soft skills are amongst the top skills that employers look for in any industry, including space tech.
What makes soft skills tricky is that they are more like character traits than technical skills, and there is some hot debate about whether they can be taught. Regardless of whether they can be taught, soft skills can be cultivated.
Here are some soft skills to focus on to prepare you for a career in space tech.
The ability to relate to others, and to empathize, are good skills for employers to look for. If you are on a team (and you will be), interpersonal skills are crucial:
Businesses are a team of people - if they’re not working in harmony, then they’re not maximizing their efficiency. Soft skills like teamwork and empathy are essential because they help draw people together to work for a common goal.
Think about it like this. You might be on a one-person team (you probably won’t, but just imagine) where you never have to work with anyone. You still drink water though, and will see people at the water cooler. If poor interpersonal skills mean you alienate everyone else in the business, then it’s going to have a negative impact. It’s easy to focus on more technical skills, but these soft skills are important in any role.
Closely related to interpersonal skills, employers will look for communication skills. They will want to know that you can convey meaning in writing and out loud. Employers will also want evidence that you can understand both written and spoken communication.
Having amazing knowledge and insights only gets you so far. It’s when you can effectively communicate them that they become valuable, and that’s why communication is one of the top professional skills employers look for.
Just because someone tells you something doesn’t mean it’s true. Likewise, just because someone tells you to do something doesn’t mean it makes sense.
Employers want employees who can critically evaluate the information they deal with and the actions they’re being asked to take. This is where critical thinking comes in; it’s an ability to evaluate information and not just follow it blindly. Taking in information isn’t enough.
Critical thinking skills are among the top skills that employers look for in Space Tech. They will want to know that you have the analytical skills to anticipate problems, and the ability to solve them if they arise.
While there are other soft skills that employers might look for, time management skills are essential. Employers want to know that you are punctual and that you can use your time wisely. They will also want to see that you can stay on task, and manage projects over a long period of time.
Many candidates might have similar technical skills, but which ones are going to be consistent and reliable? All employers want to be able to rely on their employees and know they’re going to get their work done on time; it might be simple, but it’s incredibly important.
In addition to those soft skills, Space Tech employers look for skills that demonstrate at least some proficiency with the technologies that you will use on the job. Here are some of the top technical skills employers look for in Space Tech.
Depending on the job description, you will need to demonstrate that you have some computer skills. These may include an understanding of cloud computing, systems analysis, and technical support skills.
All modern jobs require some degree of computing skills, but in an advanced industry like space tech, there will be even more focus on this.
One of the computer skills that employers will often look for are IT skills. If you can demonstrate things like network management, and troubleshooting skills on your resume, that will be a big asset.
There’s a huge demand for people with good IT skills, but there’s a real shortage of candidates with the required knowledge. For this reason, IT is one of the top technical skills employers look for. Many space tech jobs will require advanced IT skills, so it’s something to focus on in your application.
One of the most valuable skill sets you can highlight in Space Tech is the ability to code and develop software. SpaceSkills.Org says “specifically, demand appears to be highest for expertise in C and C++, Python, MATLAB, and Java. It should be noted that many adverts list multiple programming languages and state that experience with any is acceptable.”
Again, this is something where there’s huge demand but not enough supply. Businesses are desperate for experienced developers, and in space tech in particular, it’s one of the professional skills employers look for.
And finally, data analysis is one of the top technical skills that employers look for in the field.
Data analysis is the ability to take large data sets and turn them into useful information. All businesses collect data, but without data analysts to infer what the data means, it’s not useful. In today’s world, data analysis is ever more important, and it’s certainly one of the top skills employers look for.
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