For programmers, machines are often easier to deal with than people. They don't have personal quirks, they do what you tell them to do, and they don't talk back. For introverted personalities, technical jobs can mean minimizing interactions with difficult people.
It isn't possible to avoid people entirely, even in tech jobs. The ultimate users of every application are people, after all; even embedded systems hidden inside a manufacturing machine need to serve the goals of the company – the people – that own the application. This means technical workers need to deal with people, whether to understand the application's requirements or help them provide support when there are problems.
If you're a techie who hates to look up from your computer, here are three ways to develop skills that let you work well with customers.
Become less introverted.
Put yourself in positions where you need to interact with people. Sticking to technical interactions can help boost your confidence. You can also start online, by participating in forums. Then move on to real-world environments like a tech meet-up. Force yourself to talk to at least one person. These activities can make dealing with other people less intimidating.
Improve your interpersonal skills.
Along with reducing your fear of interacting with people, you need to build skills to make the interactions effective. You can take classes in presentation and communication skills; it's also important to boost your listening skills. Understanding customers' issues by listening to them is the first step in being able to resolve their concerns.
As well as being able to listen and speak with customers, really interacting well requires having the empathy to understand their points of view. Acting classes are a great way to experience another person's perspective.
Whether you're ready for a position that requires dealing with customers every day, or just want to keep your head down and write code, The Armada Group's jobs database has jobs that match your skills and interests. Take a look at the available positions and then contact us to start working with great recruiters who'll help you find a job that challenges and rewards you every day.