Programming Soft Skills: From Server to Web Developer

By Katie Dunn ● June 28, 2021

Today we’ll dive into the service industry, and all of the programming soft skills that would make a server or restaurant manager a great web developer.

A shift from the service to tech industry may seem like a huge jump at first glance. However, there are actually many parallels between the two, especially when it comes to soft skills. Technical capabilities can be learned and developed through instruction, but soft skills are often just as important when making a career change and typically harder to teach. If you’re in the leisure or hospitality sector and considering a career as a web developer, you likely already possess many of the important programming soft skills that will make you successful in tech. Let's walk through a few of them.

1. Strong Communication Skills

Clear communication is an essential skill in almost every industry, but it is particularly important when working in a restaurant. From conveying messages between the customers and management, to keeping the front and back of the house on the same page, good communication can prevent misunderstandings that would cost a restaurant valuable time and money. Strong communication skills are also central to providing customer service.

Efficient communication is also important for web developers. Projects often require collaboration and teamwork. Knowing how to communicate one’s ideas in a concise manner will save time and energy on all sides of the operation. Just like you would communicate with a customer to address their concerns in a restaurant, the process is quite similar in web development. At some point you may deal with a client who is not satisfied with how their software is performing. Communication skills will be necessary to understand the problem and provide a solution.

2. The Ability to Adapt

Adaptability can be a difficult skill to master in the workplace, but if you’re in the service industry you’ve probably got this one down. No day is ever the same at a restaurant. You’re constantly dealing with new customers, menu changes, overbookings, and may even be working with different people each shift. In order to be successful in such a busy environment, you must know how to adapt. Something that may seem as simple as rearranging tables to adjust for a customer’s seating preferences, or covering for a co-worker who calls in sick at the last minute requires a great deal of flexibility.

Adaptability is one of the most important programming soft skills. As a web developer, projects are constantly changing and each day is different. Even working within one project, it’s important to be comfortable adapting if a problem arises and adjusting strategies when necessary. Coding requires a lot of experimentation, which means ideas aren’t always executed as planned. Sometimes you may have to scrap a project completely and restart from the beginning. Understanding that it’s okay for ideas to change and being flexible throughout the process will help you be successful as a web developer.

3. Creative Problem Solving

Working in a restaurant can be chaotic and stressful at times. Mistakes are bound to happen. How you manage the conflict though, is the real testament to your problem-solving skills. When you work in a restaurant, you know how to deal with spilled drinks, messed-up orders, short staff, and any other crisis that could occur throughout the day. The ability to think on your feet and find a creative solution, all while keeping the customer satisfied, makes you a great problem solver.

When you take a step back from the technical terminology and put it simply, software development is all about finding creative solutions to complex problems. Your ability to think critically and assess all possible solutions to a problem will be useful as you work through projects. You may be faced with strict deadlines, or multiple approaches to reaching the same outcome. The better you are at being creative and thinking quickly, the more successful you will be.

4. A Sense of Urgency

Working in the service industry provides you with the valuable skill of knowing how to work under pressure. The fast-paced environment of a busy restaurant pushes you to prioritize tasks and be efficient as you learn to handle the busy times.

Momentum grad Danny Befumo noted the sense of urgency he gained through working in restaurants for almost 20 years is a skill that translated well to his job as a technical support engineer.

Being able to look at a hectic day, and prioritizing what would be the most efficient way to spend it has been helpful to adapt to projects.

So, take it from our grads – the service industry provides you with the important programming soft skills you need to make the career switch.

So You Have the Programming Soft Skills… What Now?

Consider attending a free online workshop to learn more about coding and whether a career in web development is right for you. Or if you’re past that step, it might be time to enroll in a programming course. Momentum offers both immersive and part-time programs, with graduates reporting an average salary of $65,700. Learn more and apply today on our website!