How to advance your career with strong presentation skills

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As you enter your coding career, it can be tempting to develop hard skills at the expense of soft ones. While software proficiency is important, interpersonal skills help you land your first job and advance you through your career. Managers prefer to hire people with well-developed soft skills, because technical skills are easier to train on the job.

One of the most important soft skills you can learn is communication,  and more specifically, the ability to present ideas to a group. Strong presentation skills can help you inspire teams, attract funding, sell clients, and impress employers.

Let's explore why presentation skills are so important for developers and some steps you can take to improve your future presentations.

Improve collaboration with your team

As a developer, you’ll spend most of your time working in a team. When asking for help or delegating complicated tasks, you may need to prepare resources to explain what you’re trying to say.

Present new ideas in a clear and concise manner to help save time and make your team more productive. Show how your suggestions will benefit the team and fulfill the user story.

When asking for help, use the following steps to ensure you’re being productive:

  1. Check with your manager, product owner, or user story document to ensure you understand your goals.
  2. Attempt to solve the problem on your own with basic debugging procedures.
  3. Try to anticipate other problems you might run into so you can batch questions together and save time for your lead developer.
  4. When you ask your lead developer for help, explain what you’ve already tried. This shows you’ve put in effort beforehand and will help the lead developer identify gaps in your process or coding knowledge.

Engage with online communities

When you want help from developers outside your team or to work on open source projects, you’ll want to use websites like GitHub and Stack Overflow. Explaining problems effectively on these platforms will help you garner attention so you receive the best solutions from other developers.

Developers on these platforms have much less context to your problem than those on your agile team. Include the following information to catch them up to speed:

  • Identify your programming language.
  • Provide the specific code snippet and any relevant code that snippet relies on.
  • Provide the expected outcome.
  • Provide the outcome that occurred.
  • Mention any fixes you’ve already tried.

Improve interview performance

Presentation skills are crucial for coding interviews. These interviews are grueling sessions that test your ability to solve complex problems in front of an interviewer. Mastering your technical presentations can make or break your chances of getting hired.

Use the following steps to ace your next job interview.

Know your audience

First, consider what your interviewer is looking for and then tailor your presentation to their priorities. For example, a UX designer may want you to focus on personas and user flows, while a JavaScript coder could ask you about the specifics of variable printing.

Present with passion

Presenting with passion can show employers that you intend to thrive in this position instead of just going through the motions. Turn your past experiences into engaging narratives that will help you connect with the interviewer. Make sure your story shows why you’re seeking this position and how you’re the perfect fit.

Practice

Practice everything from answering possible interview questions to explaining how you would tackle a coding problem on a whiteboard. Use resources like Hacker Rank or Project Euler to seek potential technical questions. You can also attend developer events to engage and practice with tech-savvy friends.

Demonstrate leadership skills

As a junior developer, your priority is to complete the tasks assigned to you. As you graduate to more senior positions, you’ll begin to lead teams, start initiatives, and create business value without supervision. To accomplish these tasks well, you’ll need to develop excellent presentation skills.

Here is a process for improving leadership presentations:

  • Think about what you want to say first. What are the goals of your presentation? What action do you want your audience to take?
  • Make your presentation clear, concise, and compelling. Make sure you stay on topic. Using data and statistics is great as long as it’s relevant to your goals and objectives.
  • Work on delivery. As a leader, you will need to show authority and confidence in your speech. Work on developing a strong voice and mastering your body language.
  • Finish with a specific suggestion. After your presentation, your audience will be the most receptive to your suggestions. Delegate specific tasks so your team can work productively with the suggestions you’ve outlined.

Jump-start your coding career today

Presentation skills are an important and integral part of any developer’s career. Developing these skills early will help you land your first job and move up to the position of your dreams.

It can be hard to learn these skills on your own, which is why Austin Coding Academy (ACA) emphasis presentations in our curriculum. We ensure students feel comfortable presenting their technical work to their peers, other developers, interviewers, and clients. Our instructors all work as full-time developers, which means they can provide students with valuable, practical advice.

Learn more about what Austin Coding Academy can offer by applying to our program today. You’ll get connected to a coding mentor who will learn about your goals and evaluate if our program is a good fit for you.

Apply today and get started towards the career of your dreams.