What are difficult skills?
Hard skills are acquired skills acquired and improved through practice, repetition and education. Technical skills are important because they increase employee productivity and efficiency and then improve employee satisfaction. However, technical skills alone do not translate into business success, as employees must also use other skills, such as general skills, which contribute to customer satisfaction.
Key points to remember
- People learn strong skills through education, practice and repetition.
- Technical skills can refer to mastering any complex task.
- General skills are difficult to teach and are behavioral and personality related.
- Unlike general skills, people can prove their technical skills by producing a certificate, diploma, apprenticeship or work experience.
Understanding difficult skills
In business, technical skills most often refer to the basics of accounting and financial modeling. In the broad sense, hard skills can refer to mastering any complex task. Proficiency in a second language, knowledge of Photoshop or PowerPoint or expertise in carpentry are all difficult skills that can be learned and improved with practice.
Employers and recruiters most often look for these skills in professional CVs. Any difficult skill that a person cites is best supported by a certificate, diploma or other qualification that shows a level of achievement.
Characteristics of general and general skills
General skills focus on skills and practical skills, while general skills focus on behaviors and personalities, such as social and communication skills. General skills are less tangible and more difficult to teach. Getting along with others, listening well and engaging in small conversations are general skills.
A person’s general skills are more intrinsic to their personality and more difficult to judge quickly, but they can be just as important at work over time. They may include the ability to work in a team, flexibility, patience and the ability to manage time.
Technical skills are easier to teach than general skills, given a certain skill and enthusiasm. This is why employers often look for candidates with general skills rather than technical skills.
Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
Scientists once believed that physical skills required the use of the left brain, or logical center, while general skills were associated with the right brain, also called the emotional center. Recent studies by neuroscientists indicate that mental processes cannot be categorized as clearly.
It can be said that technical skills generally have rules that remain the same regardless of the trade, industry or even the culture in which they are practiced. Soft skills rules can evolve according to company culture and colleagues’ expectations. For example, the rules on how a programmer creates code are the same regardless of where the programmer works. However, a programmer can communicate effectively to other programmers on technical details, but has difficulty communicating with senior management about the progress of a project or support needs.
Technical skills can be acquired in schools, in books or through apprenticeships. Skill levels can be defined and there is a direct path to reach them. For example, a person can take basic and advanced accounting courses, gain work experience, and pass the Chartered Public Accountant (CPA) exam.
General skills are not often found in the curriculum of a school or college. They are, however, taught in programs that help people develop communication, teamwork or people management skills. These are most often offered through employer programs.
Example of technical skills
Accounting is a profession that requires a fairly rigid set of solid skills, especially at this time. Proficiency in the Microsoft Office suite, especially Excel, is a given. Knowledge of industry-specific software such as Great Plains, QuickBooks, Peachtree, SAP software, and tax preparation software is also required.
Accountants must know how to prepare and interpret financial statements and other accounting reports, develop effective financial reporting mechanisms, plan and implement accounting controls.
Some of the other skills that accountants need could be classified as general skills. They must be prepared to communicate effectively with regulatory authorities, to deal with external auditors, and to keep abreast of current issues and changes in industry regulations.