Buzzwords come and go but the term 'cross-functional' is here to stay. Peppered across countless job specs and company mission statements, modern workplaces want cross-functional teams, meaning that no department works in a silo, with little or no collaboration outside of themselves.

Working cross-functionally brings disparate teams together under a common goal, ensuring problem solving has a more holistic approach. This all sounds very zen, but with different expertise and KPIs at play, and the process involving constant challenging and questioning, cross-functional working isn't easy.

That's why software engineers need to develop a T-shaped skill set.

What is a T-shaped skill set?

When engineers start out in their careers, finding a niche and excelling in it is all-important. Really knowing your onions and being an expert in a particular technology really stands to junior developers, gaining them recognition internally and externally. This solid block of knowledge represents the vertical line in the T.

However, as a talented engineer goes through their career, they typically learn that being an expert in one thing is not enough. Senior software developers and team leads must discuss, sell and make decisions with key people across the organization, and so the ability to collaborate with others to achieve a shared objective is represented by the horizontal bar of the T.

T-shaped software engineers have both valuable specialist knowledge, and the soft skills to work with others for the broader benefit of the business. So, what kind of skills make up the T-shape?


You might know the most efficient way to implement a product upgrade, but is it the right thing for the wider business to prioritize? Listen to your colleagues, who will bring valuable customer feedback, and collaboratively revise the product roadmap with insights gleaned from various stakeholders.


As needs and knowledge constantly evolve, being adaptive serves you well in cross-functional teams. By understanding changes in context and engaging colleagues in revised solutions, leaders and contributors thrive with an open mind.


In a remote and hybrid working world, digital collaboration helps bridge gaps across time zones, devices and locations. Whether it's a preferred video conferencing group setting, project management software or a digital whiteboard everyone can contribute to, the right digital tools help everyone be heard.

Ready to level up into a role with more collaboration? Check out the TechSpot Job Board where new software engineering jobs are added every week. Here's three to start with:

Web Application Developer, Futurex, Bulverde, TX

Futurex is seeking a Web Application Engineer with strong knowledge of JavaScript frameworks, working knowledge of RESTful API design concepts, familiarity with Python and Python frameworks, demonstrated experience working within a professional development environment, and who is adept at developing reusable front-end components.

You'll need two or more years' of experience developing and managing a service-based architecture, experience with modern JavaScript frameworks and tools as well as experience with Python and Python web frameworks such as Django, Flask, Tornado. Find out more here.

Software Engineer, USNR, Eugene, OR

Join the USNR team in the scenic town of Eugene and you're joining a global leader in forestry, who are pushing the limits of technology in producing manufacturing systems to produce lumber, plywood, finger-jointed components and engineered wood products.

Currently hiring for a Software Engineer, this technical role will gather development specs and develop features from design through to completion, working with a mentor to understand how the task fits within the broader architecture, project or system. Minimum three years in software development is required, plus a diploma or degree in tech, computer science or engineering. Excellent interpersonal skills, both oral and written, are also a must. Apply here.

Senior Software Engineer - Front-end, ST Engineering iDirect, Herndon, VA

Are you an innovative, creative and experienced Front-end Software Engineer? Well then check out this available role at ST Engineering iDirect, a global leader in satcom technology who is providing next generation solutions for broadband IP networking via satellite networks.

Working in a test-driven environment, the successful Senior Software Engineer will develop front-end GUI web applications for satellite earth station network management systems with a strong emphasis on high-performance, scalable implementations, and overall user experience, by working in collaboration with other developers and engineers. Three years industry experience in web applications using Angular frameworks and a degree in computer science or computer engineering is preferred. Find out more.