Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Difference Between Hard and Soft Skills

Skillset for business
Since the role of a business analyst is quite a challenging one, therefore it calls for the presence of hard skills as well as soft skills in case of candidates applying for the job. While the primary prerequisite for becoming a business analyst is hard skills, it pays to have well-developed soft skills too. After all, it is the latter that sets a business analyst apart from the crowd and gives him/her an edge. When it comes to these two skills, people generally get confused, which is why it is important to understand the importance of soft and hard skills if you want to become a really successful business analyst.

To understand the difference between the two, it is advisable to be aware of the definitions of hard and soft skills first. Hard skills are basically technical abilities which pertains to the core business of organizations. These are very specific and independent skills, which means that the individuals can learn and improve upon them without necessarily 'unlearning’ a previous skill. In case of the business analyst career, the required hard skills are contextual modeling, in-depth knowledge about technical subjects, ability to come up with concepts and breakthrough solutions, negotiation, ability to leverage core facilitation skills, ability to take great business decisions and so on.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are the extra set of skills that makes a business analyst a cut above the rest. Unlike hard skills, these skills are not properly defined, therefore they are subjective in nature. Soft skills basically refers to the skills of an individual that help him deal with other individuals at the workplace. Thus, communication, conflict resolution, listening, problem solving, diplomacy, tactfulness, etc are all examples of soft skills. Since soft skills are subjective in nature therefore they are very difficult to measure. Nevertheless, these can easily be identified depending upon how the business analyst in question interact with his team and others working for the organization.

In order to be a good business analyst, it is not just important to know the difference between soft skills and hard skills but one should also maintain a good balance of the two. To achieve the perfect balance, one must understand the soft skills required in order to manage one’s project well. After all, the problem generally lies with identifying and developing soft skills since hard skills are well defined and hence they can easily be learned.

Some individuals have 'the gift of the gab’, which means that they can speak eloquently and fluently. It is a given that if you have good communication skills then you don’t have to worry much about your soft skills! Thus, individuals who are naturally good communicators tend to achieve a lot in the industry of business analysis. Nevertheless, individuals who are not good communicators by default can work upon their communication skills in order to be successful in their business analyst careers. Even though soft skills may be difficult to measure, they can easily be learned and developed with hard work and determination.

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