Soft Skills Essential in the 21st Century

21st Century Skills by Bilisim Teknolojileri

By Marwa Kotb.

In the 20th century, the most valuable assets to job creators were financial and material capital that is no longer the case, today talent and creativity, have surpassed as the drivers of 21st economic growth (SEMCOG &MAC, 2012). Unfortunately most of us are still operating unde0r 20th century paradigm, we focus on building our hard skills and do our best to learn as much as we can about one profession (Graham, 2015, February 24), hard skills are crucial no doubt, a dentist must know how to fill a cavity and a mechanical engineer must know how to build and repair machinery.

But today in a changing global economy, hard or technical skills matter less and less, and for any hard skills shortage people can always get training to learn them, technical or hard skills alone don’t make someone competitive in the job market and what we are hired to do now will change or won’t even exist in the very near future, so retaining our positions depend on our ability to leverage our soft skills or what are known also as employability skills.

Educators must raise the student’s awareness to the importance of soft skills, constraining courses curricula with hard-skills development only isn’t enough, it is very important that educators realize that students are never fully developing soft skills if the curricula taught only within a classroom. There are many suggested means to help students build these skills but I find three among most effective, first is incorporating co-curricular activities into courses curricula, second using digital badges where “students can complement their coursework with badges for workshops, projects, and internships”, badging allows students to prove their claims of skill-specific competency, educators could integrate badges into their courses assessments (EDUCAUSE, 2012), and finally using portfolios that allow students to more accurately reflect who they are as unique individuals. (Kruger, 2015, March 16). At the end of post I will leave with a popular quote, “with hard skills, you can manage your boss, and with soft skills, you can lead your boss” (as cited in Graham, 2015, February 24).

References:
Graham, S. (2015, February 24). Preparing for the 21st Century: Soft Skills Matter. Huff Post Business. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stedman-graham/preparing-for-the-21st-ce_b_6738538.html

Kruger, K. (2015, March 16). US universities should follow UK in promoting students’ ‘soft skills’. Times Higher Education . Retrieved from https://www.timeshighereducation.com/comment/opinion/us-universities-should-follow-uk-in-promoting-students-soft-skills/2019081.article

SEMCOG. (2012, April). Lifelong Soft Skills Framework: Creating a Workforce that Works. Retrieved from http://library.semcog.org

Teknolojileri. (2013, March 22). 21st century skills [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwJIhZcAd0I

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