What You Need to Know About Developer Skill Tracking Systems
A map showing the various areas of skill acquisition. Some areas include knowledge, learning, competence, and experience.
Skill tracking involves a lot of factors and can be complicated.

What are Skill Tracking Systems?

Skill tracking systems are pieces of software that can assess the knowledge an employee has. For example, if a developer knows a certain framework such as jQuery, management can make a note of it in their skill tracking system. Then later, when a project requires a team on which everyone knows jQuery, management can use the same system to find everyone they had marked down as such. This is especially useful for big teams, where it would be impractical to keep track of this information by hand.

Skill tracking systems can vary highly in functionality. Some systems, like the solution by Trackstar, only allow manual input of skills and some search features. Other systems, like the one by Skillsoft, focus on training employees in skills and tracking the progress of this training. Such variety makes it possible to find a system that will work in almost any scenario.

Why Use Them?

Earlier, we gave an example for one use case for a skill tracking system; however, there are many other possible use cases. Some other examples include:

  1. Finding out who to allocate resources to
    Suppose you have two employees. One is a front-end web developer, and the other is working on a computationally heavy desktop app. Then, skill tracking software can point out that the second employee is working on the desktop app. Following that, more money could be allocated in the budget for computer upgrades for the second employee.
  2. To see if an employee is growing
    If you consistently track the skills of an employee throughout their employment, you could also notice changes in their skills. If an employee stops gaining new skills, they are stagnating. Noticing stagnation can let you know to intervene. This could prompt training through professional development days, or even a change of project.
  3. To make your customer support more efficient
    Often, there is a disconnect between customer support and the development team. This disconnect can lead to issues when support receives a ticket that only a developer can solve. Customer support is unlikely to know which developer to ask about the ticket. If customer support can just look up which developer has skills relating to the ticket, they can send the ticket to them without difficulty. This is exactly the type of skill tracking we do here at Creatros.

The cases we listed are just some of the possible scenarios that would be helped by the use of skill tracking software.

Who Should Use Skill Tracking?

You may be thinking: is skill tracking only a tool that managers can use? The answer to that question is definitely no! Skill tracking can be useful not only to management, but also to HR, developers, and customer support staff.

HR can use skill tracking to screen resumes. At large companies, hiring staff often get an unmanageable volume of resumes. Often, HR might only have the capacity to view a few of these resumes. Doing it this way, HR might not see some highly qualified candidates. Instead, HR can use a skill tracking suite that can scan resumes. Often, this type of software can look for keywords that might indicate a promising candidate. With resume analysis, HR can focus their time on considering the most promising candidates first.

A bar graph showing the percentage of developers have certain skills, or knowing certain technologies.
An example skills overview for developers. This skills overview was generated from a survey of job postings. Source

Developers themselves can also benefit from using skill tracking. While management obviously benefit from tracking their developers, individualized self tracking can also be a useful tool for a developer. Developers often take on side projects in their own time. It’s pretty unlikely that management would be able to know what skills they pick up from these projects. However, if a developer reports their new skills through skill tracking software, management can pick up on it and see their growth. Growth is another reason for a developer to track their own skills. Often, if development is bogged down it can be quite discouraging. At times like this it can be useful for a developer to see what skills they have acquired to see that they have actually made progress as a developer. Overall, skill tracking can be a great tool to help a developer grow.

Finally, as we mentioned before, customer support can also benefit from skills tracking. Skills tracking can be used to see what type of tickets an agent might be best at answering. This can allow tickets to be assigned to the right agent. Similarly, tracking can also simplify highly technical tickets that require developer intervention. Agents can use skill tracking to find which developer is best suited to handle such a ticket and quickly assign it to them. Clearly, tracking can save time for an agent at all stages of the process: from starting a ticket, all the way to resolving it.

How do I Find Skill Tracking Software That’s Right for Me?

First, you need to identify what your goals are for skill tracking software. Do you want to just do basic skill tracking? Do you want to train your staff? Do you want to make your customer support more efficient?

If enhancing customer support is your goal, then you should check out our software. Our software integrates with Slack to track the skills of every user in your slack workspace automatically, no manual intervention required. In one command, your customer support agents can find the right developer to solve a technical ticket. This can significantly reduce the time to solve the hardest tickets, boosting efficiency and raising customer satisfaction.

If you are looking for other types of skill tracking software, then we recommend looking at the helpful comparison list that Capterra has put together.

What is an Internal Support Plugin?

You may have seen the term “internal support plugin” used by us or another company. But, what is an internal support plugin? Simply put, an internal support plugin is a piece of software that helps a customer success team use their existing software better. Plugins interface directly with existing software. These plugins can have a variety of functions; from bringing up ticket details in chats, to assigning tickets to the right people. There are plugins available for most apps used by customer success teams, ranging from Intercom, to Slack and even Jira.

Why Plugins?

Another question that might come up is: why use plugins? Why not just build all this functionality directly into the customer success software? The answer to this is three-fold. Users are given choice, they can more easily connect the different apps they use, and they don’t have to learn new software.

Not every user needs all the features of every plugin. The amount of plugins for certain customer success suites is astoundingly large. If all these plugins were incorporated into the suites themselves, they would become bloated, confusing, and unusable. By having these features split into plugins, users can pick and choose they features they want.

This extensibility ties into the second reason to use plugins. Plugins allow different customer success technologies to connect more easily. Plugins can be installed on two or more different platforms (such as Slack and Jira), allowing them to interact. This interaction lets customer success teams enhance and connect the different parts of their workflows. The result is time saved for both the customer success agent and the customer.

Finally, plugins minimize the learning curve needed to use a new feature. Suppose that instead of offering a feature through a plugin, another company developed a separate app. This app would have to incorporate the feature and the existing functionality of the old app. Any user who wants the feature would have to learn a completely new interface and workflow. Depending on the complexity of the software, this could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Additionally, this puts the feature out of bounds for companies that are hesitant to switch apps for the sake of a single feature. Plugins allow complete avoidance of situations like this.

All in all, it’s pretty clear that plugins can play a big role in customer success. They not only offer choice, but are also easy ways to enhance a workflow.

How We Use Internal Support Plugins

The team here at Creatros is embracing internal support plugins. We’ve been developing our own skill tracking plugin for Slack and Jira to keep track of our team members’ skills. Our plugin helps us assign tasks to the team members best suited to handle them, all without needing to manually track skills. It only takes a single Slack command to find the most qualified team member for a job. We’re currently working on a beta of our software. If you think your customer success team could benefit from skill tracking, check out some info about the beta program. Or, just fill out our applicant survey!