Soft skills

This month my professional career as a Software Engineer sums up to 10 years (although I’ve been programming longer than that). Here is a summary of what I think is really important for a good career.

Technical skills are important.
As you might have noticed, my blog is mostly technical.

But in this article I’d like to praise soft skills.

Being good with everybody, communicative, adaptable, helpful, truthful, modest, and being a good listener, observer, and learner is just some of the most important skills.

I would also like to quote our creed here at Automattic:

I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.

If you try to look 10 years back, you will mostly see memories of events and people and the time spent with them, not how you optimized that loop or that DB query (not that the latter is not important, thus the reason I said “mostly”).

Find inspiration and motivation in your successes, yourself, your family, nature, and other people. Maintain inner peace, and most of the soft skills will come naturally.

Life keywords

A few keywords for life that everybody should be doing on a regular basis. 🙂

Life. Family. Love. Health. Work. Improve/Grow. Socialize. (Keep) Try(ing). Patience. Belief. Balance. Food. Rest. Relax. Think.

If you can do most of these, you should be happy and consider yourself lucky.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927