Hard Skills vs Soft Skills – What's The Difference?

What are hard skills and soft skills, and what’s the difference between them? Both career and personal growth are important to work on. It's helpful to understand the distinctions between the two for success.

Hard skills are fundamental technical skills essential for completing specific tasks within a job role. These skills are typically acquired through formal training, education, or certification programs, and they serve as the foundational knowledge required to perform job responsibilities effectively. 

While hard skills provide the technical expertise necessary for job performance, they are often complemented by soft skills, which encompass interpersonal attributes and personal qualities crucial for success in the workplace. 

What are hard skills? 

Hard skills are the technical skills required to perform a job. They’re typically specific to a particular role or industry, which are often learnt and developed by completing training and qualifications. The hard skills that you develop form the backbone of your job, as this is what gives you the fundamental ability to do your work. 

Some common hard skills include: 

  • Graphic design 
  • Data analysis 
  • Video production 
  • Painting 
  • Copywriting 

Employers will look for hard skills when hiring candidates as it shows their ability to work in the role, but they will also look out for a candidate's soft skills, which are more behavioural to ensure that they will work well in the team. 

What are soft skills? 

As well as having specific knowledge and skills relating to the role, employees will need to have additional qualities that can’t necessarily be quantified, such as communication skills. These are known as soft skills. 

Soft skills give employers a more well-rounded view of a person, rather than just the hard skills relating to the role. It can be difficult to measure skills such as handling objections, communicating with others, and managing time. Someone who is just starting out in a career, or transitioning into a new role may struggle with these skills. 

Some common soft skills include: 

  • Creativity 
  • Organisation 
  • Teamwork 
  • Leadership 
  • Conflict resolution 

Jason Goodman Bzqu01v G54 Unsplash

How do soft skills and hard skills work together? 

Like a classic dynamic duo, soft and hard skills work best when combined. When both types of skills have been developed, they amplify the effectiveness of each other. For instance, a software engineer may possess coding proficiency as a hard skill and problem-solving as a soft skill. When these two are combined, the engineer can develop innovative solutions to complex technical challenges, setting them apart from peers who may lack strong problem-solving abilities.  

Each skill set together can also help you to navigate a potentially difficult job market and career landscape. With technology advancing every day and industries changing to adapt, gaining these skills gives you the ability to become more flexible and adaptable in your work – making it easier to transition into new roles. 

How to learn hard and soft skills 

Learning hard skills, as well as soft skills, can be done from the comfort of your own home. Through online courses, you’re able to learn new transferable skills quickly and in a way that suits you. With The AIM Group’s qualification hub, you’re able to find the qualification that gives you the skills you need to further your development, whether that’s through interpersonal skills like communication and leadership (soft skills), or technical skills such as data analysis and business administration. 

View our full range of online courses here to expand your skills today: https://theaimgroup.co.uk/courses  

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