The Social Skills of a Web Developer - or lack thereof!
I've been thinking about this topic lately and comparing myself to other Web Designers/Developers out there. I find personally that I'm pretty approachable, an all rounder and pretty "ok" at what I do. It made me think of the characteristics, traits and social attitude web developers need to have to get by in this business.
The old myth or viewpoint of a computer nerd has changed somewhat to when I first started with web design and development. Usually one thought that you (a) had zero social skills and (b) you wore black thick framed glasses, black clothes and hibernated in your bedroom all year round! :shifty: (if you're still keeping this look up, it's time to change buddy!)
I guess my question here is more focussed on the social aspect of this line of work rather than the technical side of things. Do you find it difficult to interact with clients? Perhaps all your work is sourced exclusively via the web for this very reason? Maybe you're great at networking and can offer up some tips on how to solve the previous question?
For me, I'm OK at socialising - within reason. If I have to meet with clients, attend functions, conferences etc I will of course but it is still a struggle for me nonetheless :confused2 I think the initial stages of this i.e. actually going there and meeting with clients or attending functions is the biggest step for me, once I'm there I'm glad I made the effort - but it's just that little kickstart I constantly struggle with :rolleyes:
When does it get easy? Is being socialable something that comes natural? You either have it or you don't? Is this something you can learn? I know a couple of people who are fantastic web designers but their social skills are non existant - zero confidence in themselves not their ability but they hide away because of fear essentially because of this whole social element! Do you have any advice on how they can combat this issue and get over this barrier? Maybe you've once been like this yourself and finally mastered your fear?
Welcome your thoughts guys
As a naturally fast speaker aswell I find it unbelievably difficult to slow down and work to a lesson plan - it's always a struggle to keep things on schedule and if I'm passionate about what I'm talking about it gets worse! :lol: I don't believe alot of people realise just how hard it is to talk about something for x amount of time - when you have say 3/4 full pages of content to discuss this may only add up to 5 mins of delivery! It is a real art when you do find a great teacher/presenter who effortlessly works through their schedule with perfectl timing and delivery :tup:
I believe it's easy for people who are living with say their partner, family etc when it comes to working at home (to a certain extent) - you have some level of social interaction whereas with those who are living on their own I can imagine it to be more of a major struggle for them :confused2
I know that issue well, I've been getting a bit of the cabin fever lately from working away in the house (even though I chat here all the time).
I know a few single telecommuters and you're right that it does take a certain mindset to pull off. You have to force yourself to go out and network, or work from a coffee shop every so often to break the isolation. It's not easy to deal with if you can't motivate yourself, but so is telecommuting in general.
I've been working at home for the last 4 years. That can be isolating (I haven't seen any of my co-workers since 2007) and I think working with others in an office again would be an adjustment for me, but I don't think I've lost my social skills because of it. If anything I like that it forces me to have a varied social life and seek out new friends outside of work.
I also don't get too nervous about meeting new clients and things like that. In those situations, you and the client are talking about what you know well (your work, his/her business), so to me it's a more natural conversation.
Presenting to big groups is another story though. I tend to rush through that and have to remind myself to slow down and stop mumbling
I believe being anti-social does matter on the whole - unless you're a hermit you're going to deal with people in one way or another on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis...and when you do, you really would like to be able to communicate properly wouldn't you?
I don't believe it's about whether or not you're happy with yourself - it's easy to say that "I'm me...like it or lump it"...I agree that you should be happy with who you are but I don't think you should be stubborn to change or use it as an excuse not to interact with people in terms of "that's just not a "me" thing to do"
You're last line describes what the problem is... we just aren't all like minded people and in most cases we don't have the luxury of talking to people who are on our level and that's where the problems start :x
Haha, true. Funny now that you say "scare off immediately" — I guess some people are a bit startled by the very "direct" and efficient communication style we usually apply even from the beginning.
Finding a few like-minded people and being happy with who you are doesn't make business go around and it doesn't pay the rent. It takes a bit more effort than being laid back and waiting for clients to pop up by themselves.
I don't think geeks are that anti-social, it's rather interesting actually that with the rise in computer usage, the geek has turned from the "freaky kid" who lives in a basement to an idealistic type role which most people these days recognise and see as a decent job type. I read a scientific study from psychologists that are now saying that geeks have actually become a more "sexually attractive" type of persona (possibly due to the way society is moving). As for the personality tests, it's easy for you to say "Yep that sums me up" but it's worth noting that saying you are that kind of person and actually being that kind of person is VERY different. People very often have false persona's that they reflect upon themselves and you're far too subjective as an individual to pick a personality type and say "that's who I am". Being social is something you learn, it's not a natural thing. If you examine those cases of feral children where they had no social interaction, they grew up with no social skills and essentially went native. This thread's pretty much just stereotypes and old arguments. Some people are more social than others, some people like being a web professional as they can hide behind a screen, others like it because of the potential for further contact, there's no right or wrong answer.
I'm an INTJ as well, introvert strategist and as such pretty asocial. I like working from home, alone in my studio which I've set up nicely.
My clients are happy. It limits my work in the way that I as a startup have to push myself to get clients as I'm not social by nature. I believe in Jason Fried's philosophy that meetings are toxic, and prefer email or structured collaboration via a nice PM software.
When I do get clients, they tend to stick with me though. Never had one leave, never had one that doesn't take what I say seriously and listen to me. Probably will at some point, been "lucky" until now.
There's your answer. Now send over some clients. Seriously, I could use them.
That sums me up as well. Not because it's cool or geeky, but because I'm set up that way, and I've been born an introvert (long before the internet/computer days).
I think that's quite typical for an INTJ. Those we don't scare off immediately tend to appreciate us and stick around.
Does being anti-social really matter?
If you are happy with yourself, and your life then I don't see why it should be an issue. So long as it doesn't affect your work or life in a negative way then you should just be happy with who you are.
It's just a case of finding like minded people that you can relate too, to have meaningful conversation with.
Most people think I am a MMA fighter, construction worker or a cop. I have never had any guess I was a software developer.
I think web developer is not quite the same as old school developers. For starters, web development in todays languages (PHP, Python, etc) are far more abstract and I suspect require the use of a different side of the brain than low level, algorithmic problem solving. I think there is less analytical thinking in building web applications, than writing system code in a mix of C/ASM.
That being said, all developers are experts at understanding systems and how they work.
Solving large complex problems requires the minds of many, unlike small but equally complicated problems that require seeing the small picture as opposed the large picture. For that reason I believe that web developers (high level developers) are more collaborative and thus more communicative. Just a guess.
I think as long as your business is running good then there's no problem with it. What matters most is you earn using your own ideas that works for yourself... no matter if you're a social kind or not... (though you really had to become one so you can deal with your client easily)
I'm an INTJ, so socialising isn't my thing. My usual behaviour is similar to that of a grizzly bear in a foul mood. And a toothache.
:shifty: ok, well that's a bit scary! Do you find that your behaviour limits you with your work Tommy? Considering your above statement I'm assuming that you can put on a "happy socialising face" when required?
I think I've a split personality, I tend to be an Introvert with Extravert type tendancies :rofl: Maybe it just depends on my form for that day, how confident I feel or perhaps just who I'm talking to! Even as a teacher, I can get up there and deliver a class to 30 if not more but it's like the flick of a switch, suddenly I'm bubbly, socialiable and no one would know that minutes before I would struggle to just get up there in the first place! When I'm up there and doing my thing, I'm loving it and having a laugh - it's all very weird :shifty:
With my web design - Meeting with clients is ok but sometimes I can't seem to push myself to actually get out there and socialise more to obtain more business - I just wish there was something I could learn or do to get over this barrier that stands in my way, I'm not a lazy person at all :confused2
Any advice for my reclusive web design friends? I think ultimately it's a personal confidence issue for them, this is not going to change overnight I suspect :shifty:
Not me, but perhaps my co-workers?
Nope. I don't do cute. But I've trained my colleagues to walk on their tiptoes around me and not to contradict me unless they have very good arguments.
I didn't know the term INTJ, but what I read in the article fits me perfectly, especially
Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense
I really don't like it when people say stuff that doesn't make sense to me (or seems unimportant to me for that matter), or if their thoughts appear to be all over the place; that easily confuses and agitates me.
For me this is not always a problem, it really depends on the person or persons I'm talking too. If the other person(s) in the conversation is able to keep a linear line of thought and doesn't say too many useless things I'll be able to get along with them. If they do however say useless things (which is subjective, I realise) most of the time I don't know how to respond and simply say nothing or "nice" or something. This invites some strange looks every now and then.
I guess I'm just one of those people who doesn't talk much but says a lot, instead of talking a lot and not saying much.
I sometimes do that comparison thing too. I'll watch videos of Web Designers / Developers / Techies giving conferences and key notes and so on and I'll think to myself how I might be in that situation.
I'm a pretty confident person when it comes to talking to anyone about technology and Web Design stuff, I love talking about it...When I meet someone who wants to talk about it. When I'm discussing things with clients we'll have a laugh, a giggle, and also be very serious and understanding of each other. The problem I have though is kicking a conversation off. I don't have the confidence to say hi to someone or talk to anyone I like, I don't have that confidence. But once someone has started talking to me, I'll natter on!
There are a lot more 'cooler' looking and 'fashionable' computer geeks in the world now so I think the viewpoint of computer geeks has changed to something positive altogether really. Also, I don't think many people have a choice these days with what's on sale in stores - Computer geeks of today can't wear clothes that computer geeks of yesteryear wore. :lol:
I don't find it difficult to interact with anyone aslong as they have kicked off the conversation I do find it difficult to talk to girls though, I'm totally shy and all "Oh bloody hell...What should I say now?!" around girls.
I guess it could be something that comes natural to some people. I don't know for sure whether I was a confident / socialable person or not before I went to secondary school, but after I was in secondary school I was confident enough to do solo performances at school at perform the Royal Albert Hall (after many many vocal lessons, might I add).
That is a very interesting read! I'd like to think I'm like that, but hey, who knows. I don't.
Haha, anyone who knows you shouldn't need training for that! I would strongly advice anyone who was about to meet you that they don't mention XHTML...At all.
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