If you’ve read around our site, dipped your toes into our blog posts or attended any of our live sessions, you’ll know we like to harp on about the importance of soft skills.
And that’s because they’re important! They’re a huge slice of the pizza that makes you a rounded person, and they’re exactly what employers are looking for. They’ll help you in all walks of life, from careers to relationship building and hobbies.
They are what make you malleable and adaptable, and can help you shine no matter the task or situation, or whether you’ve been exposed to it before.
One of the most important career-driven reasons for being adaptable and having strong soft skills is that the future is hurtling towards us at breakneck speed - we’re already moving into a world of AI, VR, driverless cars and space tourism.
Just imagine what the next twenty years might hold?
It’s hard to, unless you’ve got a handy crystal ball crammed into your back pocket.
Many of the jobs that the students of today will be doing in the future might not even exist yet. Think construction worker or engineer on 3D printed houses, air stewards on space crafts, synthetic organ developer.
How can you prepare or train for a job that doesn’t even exist yet?
You got it — strong soft skills. These are what help you in new, unfamiliar situations and can be moulded to new opportunities as they present themselves, making you a strong candidate in a newly emerging field.
Take climate change and global conservation, for example. A pretty hot topic at the moment, and will continue to be at the forefront of news and scientific thought as the years go on. This is an area that’s experiencing rapid technological change, and is unrecognisable to fifty years ago.
In terms of extinction control and animal conservation, new tech is making huge waves: the Guardian reported that “fixed-wing drones can land on water and circle high above the Indian Ocean to spot whales, rays and illegal fishing, while artificial intelligence-enabled infrared cameras are able to identify members of an individual species or human poachers, even through thick environmental cover.”
Claudio Sillero, Oxford University’s professor of conservation biology at Oxford University told the Guardian that tech is “changing the way conservation research is done – but it’s in an evolutionary way. As the technology gets better, cheaper and smaller, researchers get better at doing what they were already doing.”
“We started with handheld gadgets in the 1960s and now we are using satellites … With sensors and probes we can go out into the field and measure virtually everything.”
Sillero suggests that universities and conservation courses are trying to keep up with the tech boom, but “the drive comes from entrepreneurial students, individual research projects or small teams that embrace technology and pick up new stuff.”
How’s that for the power of soft skills? It may seem like drones have been nailing #influencer shots and grounding flights for as long as we can remember, but they’re a new, rapidly improving technology that’s moving faster than universities can teach.
Innovative, adaptive students who grasp these new technologies with both hands are giving themselves a huge head start, and without strong soft skills, this wouldn’t be possible.
LUCY HARDING is the Editorial manager for Push. She is an English Literature grad and an MA Publishing student at UCL. She is passionate about international relations and cultural diversity, having worked closely with her university’s Erasmus society to support European students. She also spent a year abroad studying at California State University: Long Beach
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