I have worked with soft skills in Engineering Education for a while. And quite recently, I held a presentation at the 9:th Development Conference for Engineering Education.

For engineering students, having both soft and hard skills is essential for a successful career. Skills that are used to solve a specific task or situation are called hard skills (math, engineering, sketching, etc). Rovida and Zafferi (2022) describe Soft skills as a set of non-technical competencies that are typically not taught in traditional classroom settings but are essential for success in various professional settings.  

In CDIO, personal hard skills include analytic reasoning, problem-solving, experimentation, and system thinking. Soft skills are skills that aid a person in interacting with others. In CDIO, soft skills are, for example, attitudes, habits, ethics, and equity. Interpersonal skills refer to the abilities of a person to communicate effectively with others and, hence, are often considered part of the soft skills category. Interpersonal skills in CDIO include teamwork and communication, delegation, persuasion, leadership, listening, negotiation, attitude, and social awareness. 

Mapping of CDIO syllabus into Soft, Hard, and Interpersonal skills.

The presentation presents a strategic curriculum approach within an Industrial Design Engineering program that emphasises progressive skill development. It includes a competence profile and continuous self-assessment to encourage student reflection and growth. I also describe an implementation that is introduced in a third-year capstone project, helping students identify and actively improve personal and interpersonal skills. The results underscore the importance of systematic soft skill development through reflective practice and assessment.

 Implementing Soft Skills in the Engineering Curriculum


Implementing Soft Skills