What are Hard Skills and How it is Different from Soft Skills?

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hard skills

What Are Hard Skills?

Definition of Hard Skills

“Hard skills are the abilities that an individual can learn via education, practice, and experience. 

Hard skills can give threefold benefits to an organization. They can improve employee productivity, satisfaction, and efficiency.”

Hard skills refer to abilities or skills you can teach for a particular profession. You can also refer to them as the ‘technical skills.’ 

You will often find the list of hard skills in job requirements. For instance, a UX designer will need illustrations and Adobe suite knowledge.

Individuals can often learn hard skills through training programs and education curriculums such as college, internships, apprenticeships, online courses, and so on. 

The hard skills can include manufacturing knowledge and learning how to work with computers and machines. 

To better understand hard skills, you can categorize them into five boxes:

Research and analysis

Here hard skills such as transcribing and statistics are needed.

People-oriented

These hard skills are for financial and administration purposes.

Manual labor

Manufacturing, plumbing, construction, electrical, and many more come under this category.

Professional skills

All the professional skills and services like accounting, legal, engineering, etc., are included here.

Creative side

Photography, copywriting, and graphic designing are creative categories of hard skills. 

Hard Skills vs Soft Skills

Hard skills are the abilities that an individual can learn. 

On the other hand, the definition of soft skills is skills that are capabilities. They are not quantifiable and subjective. 

You can learn hard skills in school via courses, books, jobs, and many more sources.

Soft skills are also called people skills or interpersonal skills. You can learn soft skills only after relating and interacting with people. 

Hard skills are beneficial for you to get a job of your interest. You can add them to your resume and cover letter to let your employer know about your abilities.

Some of the hard skills examples are as follows:

  • Typing knowledge
  • Language proficiency
  • Certificate course or a degree
  • Computer science

Some of the soft skills examples are:

  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Team management skills

Why Are Hard Skills Important?

Hard skills are important in the workplace, and training your employees for the same reason will give you ample benefits too.

The benefits will range from better individual performance to the overall company success.

Product managers and employers need to understand that their performance on the projects will improve when the individual has hard skills.

Three reasons why hard skills are essential are as follows:

  • Hard skills help increase the productivity of all sorts
  • You will notice the employee engagement rate increasing
  • There will be a reduction in the employee turnover rate

When training is provided to employees to develop their hard skills, employees feel seen and valued for their work.

They start feeling confident in the work they are doing. This overall confidence will help individuals to have job satisfaction. Therefore employees will bring more progress to the work at hand.

What Are the Examples of Hard Skills? 

Hard skills are often particular to the job. Your hard skills for a specific role would differ vastly from someone else from a different role in another team. 

However, when we talk about product management and product design, there are some technical skills worth learning to make an impact. Especially, if you are using product management software like Chisel, certain hard skills weigh a bigger impact than others. 

Let’s look at the hards skills example by keeping the product manager at the forefront. 

Prioritization

Prioritizing important tasks and declining those that hamper accomplishing the prioritized functions is crucial to management. 

Furthermore, utilizing frameworks like weighted scoring, and so on, to support your priorities is an even more critical skill. 

Basic Business Knowledge

To be a product manager, you don’t need a degree in business. However, what you do need is some basic knowledge of the company. 

Understanding budget, revenue, profits, cash flow, etc., are some of the hard skills essential to have. 

Data Collection

The ability to gather data, analyze it, and come up with an appropriate conclusion is a crucial skill. 

This skill gives you the ability to track the progress of your development, estimate the effectiveness of your product, and examine a particular hypothesis. 

FAQs

Q: How to distinguish between hard skills and soft skills?

A: Hard skills can be learned and taught, specific to a field or profession. 

On the other hand, soft skills definition are the skills embedded in one’s personality and occur more naturally. 

For instance, communication, effective listening, mannerisms, and professionalism are the soft skills examples. 

Q: How to develop hard skills?

A: To develop hard skills, individuals can learn through college, internships, certifications, apprenticeships, various courses, etc. 

Nowadays, learning through the internet is becoming a more popular and affordable option. 

Q: Is project management a hard or soft skill?

A: Project managers need technical or hard skills to measure project progress, develop project budgets, etc. 

Having hard skills will help project managers to reach the end goal. However, soft skills will make the process of project management smoother. They will allow them to communicate effectively with team members, guide them throughout and use problem-solving abilities.

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