Is Emotional Intelligence Important in Information Technology?

May 14th, 2013 | Industry News, Job Search | No Comments »

275356843_bba2ef0ab1 copyEveryone’s familiar with the old computer nerd stereotype: the code monkey with his eyes glued to the screen, tapping away at his keyboard, and awkwardly avoiding interaction with anyone else in the office.

But as the IT field becomes evermore ubiquitous in every workplace, this stereotype has become grossly outdated. And while even the best IT folks may geek out over the hottest new tech releases, the truth is that the emotional intelligence – the capacity to both identify and regulate emotions in yourself and others – is an increasingly important trait for those in Information Technology.

The Basics of Emotional Intelligence or EQ

EQ, as opposed to IQ, measures the way we perceive, discriminate between, and respond to our own and others’ emotions. Unlike IQ, emotional intelligence is something that can be developed purposely. Typically, a higher EQ is needed for career roles in which there is a lot of human interaction, like customer service or physicians.

The Need for EQ in IT

IT has become a highly integrative foundation for the majority of businesses, meaning the reliance on IT professionals is at an all-time high. The result of this, of course, is the growing importance of communication and collaboration between tech and non-tech people. The most successful developers know how to communicate effectively both with end users and with their own team members.

In short, the stereotypical computer nerd glued to his computer in the darkest corner of the office needs to adapt as the IT field grows more people-focused than ever before.

The Emotionally Intelligent Job Seeker

Honing your emotional intelligence can help set you apart from your competitors in the job search. You can’t always guarantee that you’ll be talking to a fellow techie in a company’s hiring process. You might have the hard skills to pass the technical screening, but if you’re also called in to interview with Human Resources, it’s your emotional intelligence that will give you the leg up.

How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

1. Experts say that the first step in improving your EQ is to reduce your stress levels. Stress masks your ability to tap into your emotions, so make an effort to manage that stress.

2. Secondly, you need to start recognizing your own emotions the moment you feel them. Sometimes it takes people a while to realize they’re angry, and the consequences of this delay can be costly.

3. Another tip to increasing your emotional intelligence is to begin to read social cues. Other people’s emotions are most often expressed through nonverbal communication, so you need to tune into those signs.

These few tips are enough to help improve your communication, collaboration, and leadership in the workplace. Emotional Intelligence is an increasingly important factor in the IT field, so developing the skills to increase your EQ is key to becoming a successful IT professional.

By Clare Saumell

Photo Credit