Strategies for developing soft skills for university students in a digital world

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Prof Alaa Shakir Mahmood, Prof Ansam Ayad Ali


Education and training in many universities used to focus on technical skills or what was termed “hard skills” - or cognitive skills - to develop the profession, and these skills are still acquiring a central importance in higher education institutions, whether in Iraq or globally. Educational programs, especially at the undergraduate level, are evaluated by the quality and quality of the hard skills they provide students with, and these skills are considered essential for a good job and career success.

      But with the huge developments and changes that the world has witnessed with the globalization phenomenon and the great digital transformation that it witnessed at various levels, especially the level of business and the economy, the urgent need for a new type of skills added and complementary to hard skills began to talk about the emergence of the term soft skills as a basic form of skills that It is required by the market economy, which is very necessary to get a job in a digital world, and technical skills are no longer sufficient for workers to compete in the global work environment in light of an economic system governed by globalization, and soft skills have become of paramount importance in the field of competition to obtain employment.

     Soft skills or soft skills is a very common term nowadays that refers to transversal interpersonal competencies such as social abilities, language, ability to communicate, emotional intelligence, ability to work in a team spirit and other interpersonal traits that characterize interpersonal relationships. Soft skills are traditionally considered complementary to hard skills, which are the ability to perform a specific type of task or activity. Soft skills are a strategy for personal and professional success and are essential to anyone trying to land any kind of job. Usually new companies hire employees, especially new graduates, according to the requirements and skills, most of which focus on soft skills, and take into account their soft skills more than their hard skills. This happens in most professions, but it is distinguished in technical professions, such as engineers, because the company, in order to be able to compete, needs to create good and effective work teams and collaborative work and needs an appropriate work environment that leads to the quality of products provided by any industry. On the materials selected, on the technology used, not on the experience of the workers who contribute to their individual manufacture, but also to the quality of the enterprise as a whole. This quality depends heavily on the concerned human resources and their positive abilities to interact to achieve a common goal and the success of the company or institution. Any organization consists of a group of people and its success depends mainly on the capabilities of these human resources and on the type of cooperation that they are able to establish.

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