Four Traits Engineers Should Have If They Want The Best Jobs

What are the top most desirable skills by employers for engineers? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Hector Aguila, President of Technology at Okta, in their Session:
Selecting and retaining the right hires can be the hardest part of an IT/engineering leader’s job — especially in Silicon Valley, where the demand for strong technology talent is fierce. That’s why it’s critical for engineering leaders to stay focused and strategic when networking and hiring to ensure they’re seeking out the right candidates. This is easier said than done, though!
When it comes to finding the best talent, I have noticed the top hires have a few key characteristics in common. Here are a few that I’ve noticed:
  1. They know their tech, but they’re also very willing to learn new technical skills: Sometimes, more senior engineering candidates skirt around developing the technical skills they need to perform a job well because it’s too time-consuming or they have more pressing tasks. This can lead to problems down the road as these leaders need to be able to answer questions for other team members and set a strong example. Everyone I interview today must have a foundational knowledge of coding and a willingness to step in and take the lead on technical problems when necessary.
  2. They can adapt and innovate: All engineers today need to be able to rapidly adopt new skills and stay familiar with new tools available to them to do their jobs well. This means being willing to disrupt the status quo and think of creative solutions.
  3. They are passionate: When I’m interviewing someone, I like to ask “What made you decide to get into technology?” and “How do you stay positive when a project hits serious roadblocks or setbacks?” to determine if they are truly passionate about engineering. Candidates who love the work they do will typically answer these questions with ease.
  4. They are strong communicators: Strong communication is a critical skill for any role, especially as remote work is on the rise and workers communicate through more apps and channels than ever before. That said, I like to give engineers who enjoy more solo, independent work an option to pursue one of two tracks: a technical track, or a management track. Those more interested in managing a team can take that path, while others can work toward higher-level technical roles.

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