Understanding the most in-demand soft skills in requirements engineering practice: Insights from two focus groups

Maya Daneva, Andrea Herrmann, Nelly Condori-Fernandez, Chong Wang

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Abstract

[Context] Research on the professional occupation of Requirements Engineering (RE) indicated soft skills as very important in employers’ search for RE specialists. A very long list of soft skills came out of prior research, with proficiency in English being ranked as the Number One skill.

[Question/problem] To what extent, however, are these skills deemed critical in RE in practice, and also in making hiring decisions in RE, and why? Which skills are to be ranked higher in regard to hiring decisions, and which lower? In this study, we compare results based on analyses of job ads with practitioners’ perceptions in real-life organizations.

[Methodology] We executed two focus groups (FGs) with RE practitioners from industry, as part of the REFSQ 2018 conference.

[Principal ideas/results] The soft skills from previous studies were discussed in depth with the FGs participants regarding where and why these skills are needed or sometimes are even unnecessary. Here, we report a ranked list of soft skills, among which communication skills were considered as the most important. Next, some of the skills ranked as the most important in job ads, are not needed everywhere.

[Contribution] The results lead to a more differentiated view on those soft skills that requirements engineers need in practice, and the reasons for these skills’ importance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of EASE 2019 - Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Pages284-290
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-7145-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2019
Event23rd Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering Conference, EASE 2019 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 14 Apr 201917 Apr 2019
Conference number: 23

Conference

Conference23rd Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering Conference, EASE 2019
Abbreviated titleEASE 2019
CountryDenmark
CityCopenhagen
Period14/04/1917/04/19

Keywords

  • Business analyst
  • Communication
  • Focus groups
  • Industry-relevant research
  • Qualitative study
  • Requirements engineering
  • Soft skill

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    Daneva, M., Herrmann, A., Condori-Fernandez, N., & Wang, C. (2019). Understanding the most in-demand soft skills in requirements engineering practice: Insights from two focus groups. In Proceedings of EASE 2019 - Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (pp. 284-290). Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). https://doi.org/10.1145/3319008.3319352