Managing People

Technical Competencies vs. General. What is the difference?

Comparing technical competencies to general competencies can be tricky. Find out which matter most to your competency modeling effort.


In this article, we will explore the different types of skills necessary for building a job role.  And how they can vary from general to specific types of knowledge.  If you’re exploring competency-based talent management for your organisation, you’ll notice that there are 2 types of competencies: General Competencies and Technical Competencies.

These two types have their individual characteristics which should be taken into account when they are being used in your organisation.  To better understand how to use competency modeling as a tool check this article out.Competency Based Assessments: The Foundation for Success in the Business World

Our post will cover the following points:

  • General competencies consist of a broad range of soft skills – creativity, problem solving, teamwork – whereas technical competencies are specific to a given industry and require constant training and reinforcement.
  • It’s important to have a skillset that reflects the needs of the present and future.
  • What is the right combination of skills for your competency model?

What is a General Competency?

To begin with, general and technical competencies are not an “either/or” proposition. Every organization—and every employee—requires some combination of both technical and general competencies in order to thrive. General competencies are a blend of knowledge, abilities, motivations, and traits needed to perform a variety of tasks.

Soft skills are often referred to as people skills which are necessary in contexts & occupations. If you need to learn more about what general competencies are, I recommend checking out.  Examples of general competencies include interactive communication, social responsibility and achievement orientation.

Candidates with these skills do a better job as they deliver value to the organization, whether they’re being considered for a salesperson, a CTO or a safety engineer.  Though, general competencies only tell half the story.

What are Technical Competencies?

Technical competencies refer to a range of skills relating to IT and technology-related fields. They usually include things like basic programming languages, hardware operations, networking protocols and more.


Technical competencies typically refer to the skills and knowledge an organization deems necessary for employees to perform their jobs. Thus, closely aligned with an employee’s ability to know and use knowledge, such as what you need to use specific information in order to do a particular task.

Why is this important to know the difference between these 2 competencies?

For example, when you’re looking for a safety engineer, consider someone who can speak on behalf of your company to the public, as well as having the personal qualifications to plan effectively for emergencies and crises.

Technical competencies include programming languages, computer systems, data communications, and databases. General competencies include interpersonal skills, leadership, management, and oral communication.

In Summary

Every job profile needs a combination of general and technical competencies in order to capture the complete picture of the ideal candidate. To determine the right combination, you need to understand how these two types of competencies fit into the organization’s competency architecture.

Related Article On Hard and Soft Skills

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