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Soft Skills: 07 valuable non-technical lessons learned from organizing my very first PHP conference!

PHP Day Curitiba 2018

PHP Day Curitiba 2018 - Closing Ceremony - Speakers, Sponsors and Attendees!

Oh my goodness, such a huge success! It went completely beyond all my expectations and... far, far, far better than initially planned. Hey, but I'm not talking about the conference itself, I'm referring to my personal Soft Skills growth!

The importance of Soft Skills for Software Engineers

Software Engineers devote a great number of hours working alongside computer machines. We can easily convert tons of customer requirements into logical sequences (coding) all day long. We can spend hours and hours debugging complete unthought out-of-the-box issues that are breaking production. Well, we can even engage into firewars threads on reddit polite "scientific" discussions in order to prove that removing a single bit in a given benchmark can save entire the world. Uhmm, deeply technical, right?

For society, IT people in general are considered super smart & brilliant minds for technical subjects! ... but at the same time IT people are very hard to deal with in the "real world"... I mean, extremely hard. (please, take it as a simple generalization for the purpose of illustration)

That's why (in my opinion) Software Developers should constantly put themselves into a position of developing their Soft Skills. Yes, I know, you can't get anywhere only with Soft Skills. Hard Skills are undoubtedly necessary. Nonetheless, in order to grow professionally, you gotta grow firstly as a human, touching several key areas commonly overlooked by developers.

I haven't studied the effectiveness of the balance hard/soft skills in depth, however the Pareto Principle applied to this matter sounds so precise to me:

80% of your career success comes from your Soft Skills, while only 20% comes from your Hard Skills.

From Wikipedia:

Soft skills are a combination of people skills, social skills, communication skills, character traits, attitudes, career attribute, social intelligence and emotional intelligence quotients among others that enable people to navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals with complementing hard skills.

Soft Skills empowers powerfully your Hard Skills! Such a perfect combination!

07 reasons on how organizing a conference can put you into a land of opportunities for Soft Skill growth!

PHP Day Curitiba 2018 - Conference Summary:

Rasmus Lerdorf - The PHP Creator

Rasmus Lerdorf - The PHP Creator

1) Network: increase exponentially your professional contacts


Network during coffee-break, attendees getting to know each other

If you think you have a good professional network, it's because you haven't organized an event yet! It's unbelievably amazing how it opens doors!

2) Leadership - be an ENCOURAGER of other! Lead by the example!

Check In

Check in: badges, notepad and a folder

There are many definitions to what the term "leadership" is. I'd simply define it as:

having a goal, surrounding yourself with fantastic people and continuously encouraging them, and ensure things are getting done.

You'll put yourself in a position of being flexible to wisely manage though situations and people's emotions/desires.

3) Resilience - be solid during difficult times


You'll face strong pressures for decision-making on top of short deadlines:

You'll put yourself in a position of frequently updating the priorities for the "unexpected" circumstances.

4) Responsibility - Good decisions, Good outcomes (the opposite is also true)


5) Stewardship - Get blood out from a stone


You'll find yourself in a position of being prudent on managing financial resource in order to reach out the ultimate goal.

6) Personal Brand - Show your awesomeness to the world

Personal Brand

Galv√£o Abbott, a PHP Evangelist for two decades in Brazil

Do you have just a degree or a certification on your personal portfolio? Organizing a conference brings value to your career. It'll distinguish you from the average. You'll be able to carry the legacy wherever you will go to for the next years. High-quality pictures, good videos, and beautiful digital content about the event make it look very professional and it endorses the awesomeness of your work. It sort of takes the names from well-known speaker & solid sponsor to your name.

7) Dealing with a high level of criticism & being vulnerable === GROWTH!

Entertaining the audience during a raffle!

Entertaining the audience during a raffle!

Unfortunately, we already won the prize: "The Most Narcissist Generation That Ever Lived On Earth!"

I do believe every person (literally every person) has unique talents and valuable skills to impact the world in a positive way. However it involves discipline, training, patience, sacrificing a large amount of fun moments with family & friends, giving up from personal desires, and working hard when nobody is watching you.

As I just said, even though everybody is able to impact the world in some capacity, there are people decidedly NOT willing to pay the price, and their full-time job is disencouraging those that make things happen.

I heard once nobody get into great places just by doing the normal... "for implementing something great, you will need to put yourself in a position of temporary exposure and vulnerability". And I strongly state that at the end of the event the outcomes were positive and the satisfaction paid-off!


It was a remarkable experience and from the bottom of my heart I encourage everyone that is willing to go to the next level on his/her soft skills: step out and shake it up!

Check out all the pictures from the conference here!

Interview with Rasmus Lerdorf - The PHP Creator

Check out the interview with Rasmus Lerdorf - The PHP Creator