TWP 006 – Soft Skills Are a Scam – Here’s Why

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Before you go out and upskill, you need to understand what skills are. In today’s episode we go over Soft Skills, Hard Skills, Domains, Roles, Expertise, Generalism (if that’s a word), and everything related to what you should know about upskilling.
P.S Soft Skills are a scam, not for the reason you think – find out in the episode.

Hosted by Saqib Tahir
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1:38 – Intro to Soft Skills
2:36 – Hard Skills vs Soft Skills
3:42 – Examples of Hard Skills
4:12 – Examples of Soft Skills
5:18 – What is a Domain? How is it different than a Skill
7:18 – Why are Soft Skills a Scam?
8:11 – What Skills are required for me to start a business?
9:06 – Why you should think about Skills differently in developing nations
9:17 – What is an IC (Individual Contributor)
9:53 – Lack of Expertise Career Path in Pakistan
10:21 – Why most people end up becoming Manager in Pakistani Career Paths
11:39 – What is a Generalist role?
12:01 – Why should you become a Generalist rather than Specialist
13:29 – 1 – Written Communication
15:37 – What it means to be concise
17:06 – 2 – Organization and Documentation
19:28 – 3 – Ownership
20:42 – Validating your value to others
22:11 – A question for you
22:31 – In the car segment: What skill I am struggling with currently

English Transcript Summary: The Importance of Soft Skills: A Misunderstood Essential

Welcome to another episode of The Wandering Pro. As you know, this series is designed to provide a holistic understanding from start to finish, with each episode building upon the previous one. In the last episode, we discussed how to make time for learning new things. Today, we will take the next step and explore what kinds of skills to learn, focusing on the often misunderstood yet essential soft skills.

Introduction to Skills

When we are in university, especially in the third or fourth year, we start to hear about the importance of skills. Career workshops or resume-building sessions introduce us to the concept of skillsets. Typically, we see a section on our resumes where we need to list our skills.

Many people simply fill this section with whatever they think sounds good, sometimes even using percentages to quantify their proficiency. However, these percentages are often meaningless and don’t reflect the true nature of the skills.

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Understanding the difference between hard skills and soft skills is crucial. Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured. These are usually learned through education or training and are necessary to complete specific tasks or jobs. Examples include using Microsoft Office, Adobe Suite, or coding in a particular programming language.

On the other hand, soft skills are more abstract and harder to quantify. They are personal attributes that enhance an individual’s interactions, job performance, and career prospects. Examples include communication, time management, leadership, and problem-solving. Unlike hard skills, soft skills are often learned through experience and social interactions.

The Misconception of Soft Skills

The term “soft skills” can be misleading. Many people assume that because they are called “soft,” they must be easy to acquire.

However, in reality, soft skills are often harder to develop than hard skills. This is because they are not well-defined and can vary significantly depending on the culture and environment.

Defining Hard Skills

Hard skills are straightforward to define. They involve a fixed set of instructions or procedures. For instance, learning to use a particular software involves understanding its functions and features through a step-by-step process.

Hard skills do not change frequently and are associated with specific tasks or jobs.

Defining Soft Skills

Soft skills, however, are malleable and evolve over time. They are not easily defined and can differ based on cultural and environmental contexts.

For example, effective communication in one culture might be perceived differently in another. Soft skills require hands-on experience and exposure to develop fully.

They are essential for navigating life’s various challenges and are applicable in any role, regardless of the level or industry.

The Importance of Both Skill Sets

Both hard and soft skills are important, but they serve different purposes. Hard skills are necessary for completing specific tasks and jobs, while soft skills are crucial for overall career growth and personal development.

For instance, a software developer needs hard skills like coding and using development tools, but they also need soft skills like communication and time management to collaborate effectively with their team and manage their workload.

Combining Skills for Success

In today’s competitive job market, having a combination of hard and soft skills is essential. For example, a sales professional needs to know how to use CRM software (a hard skill) but also needs strong negotiation and client management skills (soft skills). Similarly, a software developer should understand not only the technical aspects of their job but also how to communicate effectively and document their work clearly.

The Role of Soft Skills in Career Progression

In many professional environments, particularly in Pakistan, there is a tendency to overlook the importance of soft skills. However, as individuals progress in their careers, they often find that soft skills become increasingly important.

For instance, technical experts may eventually need to take on managerial roles, which require strong leadership and interpersonal skills.

The Challenge of Transitioning to Management

One common scenario is that skilled technical professionals are promoted to managerial positions based on their hard skills. However, without proper training in soft skills, they may struggle in these roles.

This can lead to frustration and negatively impact both the individual and the organization’s culture. It is crucial for professionals to develop soft skills early on to ensure a smooth transition and effective management.

The Generalist vs. Specialist Debate

In developing nations like Pakistan, the debate between being a specialist and a generalist is particularly relevant.

While specialists focus deeply on one area, generalists have a broader skill set that can be applied to various roles. In environments with limited opportunities, being a generalist can often be more advantageous.

The Benefits of Being a Generalist

A generalist approach allows individuals to adapt to different roles and responsibilities, enhancing their overall career prospects. For example, a software developer with skills in communication and sales might find opportunities in freelancing or agency work, providing a diverse range of career paths. This flexibility can be particularly valuable in markets where job opportunities are limited.

Developing Soft Skills

The first and most important soft skill to develop is communication. Effective communication goes beyond casual conversations with friends; it involves conveying ideas clearly and concisely in professional settings.

For instance, writing impactful emails requires the ability to be concise yet comprehensive, ensuring that the message is understood and elicits the desired response.

Improving Written Communication

Improving written communication involves practice and the use of tools like the Hemingway Editor, which helps in crafting clear and concise messages. Highlighting key points and structuring emails effectively can significantly enhance their impact. Learning to communicate effectively is a continuous process that requires attention to detail and a willingness to adapt and improve.

Essential Soft Skills to Learn

Here are some essential soft skills that can help you excel in any job role:

1. Communication

Effective communication is crucial. It involves more than just talking to your friends; it means conveying messages that have an impact. Whether it’s writing concise emails or organizing thoughts clearly on platforms like Slack, good communication skills can set you apart.

2. Organization and Documentation

An organized person has a significant advantage over a disorganized one. Keeping your tasks, documents, and thoughts in order helps you approach everything in a calculated manner. Coupling this with good documentation practices ensures that your progress and achievements are visible and impactful.

3. Ownership

Taking ownership of your tasks and responsibilities, regardless of immediate rewards, can set you apart as a dependable and valuable team member. This mindset shift from doing the bare minimum to taking full responsibility can greatly enhance your professional growth.

Reflect and Improve

To wrap up, I want you to reflect on your own skills. What skills do you believe you know well? What skills do you want to learn in the next six months? Your feedback can give me ideas for future episodes.

As always, the goal is not to be right but to grow together. If you have any questions or need one-on-one help, consider joining our private Discord server. There, you can engage with a community of like-minded individuals and get personalized assistance.

Stay tuned for more episodes, and keep working on those soft skills. They might just be the key to your next big opportunity.


Soft skills, despite their name, are crucial and often harder to master than hard skills. They encompass essential life skills that help in personal and professional growth.

By focusing on communication, organization, documentation, and ownership, you can significantly enhance your career prospects. In a developing country like Pakistan, being a generalist with a combination of hard and soft skills can open numerous opportunities.

Reflect on your current skill set and identify areas for improvement. Remember, continuous learning and adapting are key to success in today’s dynamic professional landscape.

As always, if you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out to

Prepared by Yousaf Babur

Further learning and references

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