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Skills vs. Attributes: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 28, 2023
Skills are learned abilities to perform tasks, like coding or writing. Attributes are inherent qualities or characteristics of a person, like patience or intelligence.

Key Differences

Skills refer to specific learned abilities or competencies in performing tasks or solving problems, such as technical skills or communication skills. Attributes, in contrast, are inherent qualities or characteristics of an individual, which can include traits like creativity, resilience, or empathy.
Skills are typically acquired and developed through training, practice, and experience. They are often measurable and teachable. Attributes, however, are often innate or developed over a longer period through personal growth and life experiences.
In the professional context, skills are crucial for job performance and career advancement. They are often the focus of education and training programs. Attributes, on the other hand, play a significant role in personal development and can influence interpersonal relationships and overall life success.
Skills can be assessed through tests, performance evaluations, or demonstration of competence. Attributes are more subjective and are often evaluated through observations, feedback, or self-reflection.
Common examples of skills include programming, language proficiency, and project management. Examples of attributes include integrity, agility, and leadership potential.

Comparison Chart


Learned abilities.
Inherent qualities.


Acquired through practice and training.
Developed or innate.


Key in job performance and tasks.
Influence personal development.


Measurable and testable.
Subjective, observed over time.


Coding, writing, analytics.
Patience, intelligence, creativity.

Skills and Attributes Definitions


Skills are demonstrable and measurable.
Her language skills were tested in a certification exam.


Attributes can be physical or psychological.
Physical strength is an important attribute for athletes.


Skills are often specific to certain tasks or fields.
She developed her graphic design skills over the years.


Attributes often define a person's character.
Integrity is a key attribute in ethical leadership.


Skills can be enhanced through training.
Attending the workshop sharpened his managerial skills.


Attributes are inherent or developed qualities.
His patience is one of his most valued attributes.


Skills are abilities acquired through practice.
Her coding skills improved with each project.


Attributes include personality traits and dispositions.
Her empathy is an attribute that makes her a great listener.


Skills can be technical or soft, like communication.
His negotiation skills helped close the deal.


Attributes can influence one's approach to situations.
Her creativity is an attribute that helps in problem-solving.


Proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through training or experience
Painted with great skill.


To regard as arising from a particular cause or source; ascribe
Attributed their failure to a lack of preparation.


A developed talent or ability
Improved his writing skills.


To regard (a work, for example) as belonging to or produced by a specified agent, place, or time
Attributed the painting to Titian.
Attributed the vase to 18th-century Japan.


An art, trade, or technique, particularly one requiring use of the hands or body
The skill of glassmaking.


A quality or characteristic inherent in or ascribed to someone or something.


(Obsolete) A reason; a cause.


An object associated with and serving to identify a character, personage, or office
Lightning bolts are an attribute of Zeus.


(Grammar) A word or phrase syntactically subordinate to another word or phrase that it modifies; for example, my sister's and brown in my sister's brown dog.


Plural of attribute


Infl of attribute


What is an attribute?

An attribute is an inherent or developed quality of a person.

What defines a skill?

A skill is a learned ability to perform a specific task.

Are attributes changeable?

Some attributes can evolve over time, while others are more innate.

How are attributes assessed?

Attributes are generally assessed through observations and subjective evaluations.

Is empathy a skill or an attribute?

Empathy is considered an attribute, often inherent in a person's character.

Can skills be taught?

Yes, skills can be taught and developed through training.

Is coding a skill or an attribute?

Coding is a skill that can be learned and perfected over time.

What is an example of a skill?

An example of a skill is proficiency in a foreign language.

How are skills assessed?

Skills are often assessed through tests, performance reviews, or practical demonstrations.

Do skills require practice?

Yes, skills typically improve with practice and experience.

Are attributes inherent?

Many attributes are inherent, though they can also be developed or nurtured.

Can skills be lost?

Skills can diminish without practice or usage.

What is an example of an attribute?

An example of an attribute is natural leadership ability.

Is kindness a skill or an attribute?

Kindness is typically considered an attribute, reflecting a person's nature.

Is decision-making a skill or an attribute?

Decision-making is a skill that can be developed and refined.

Can someone have a skill they are unaware of?

Yes, sometimes people possess skills they haven't fully recognized or utilized.

Can a person's attributes change with experience?

Experience can influence and modify a person's attributes.

Is intelligence a skill or an attribute?

Intelligence is generally considered an attribute, although aspects of it can be developed.

Are communication skills important in the workplace?

Yes, communication skills are vital for effective collaboration and success in most workplaces.

Do attributes play a role in professional success?

Yes, attributes like adaptability and resilience play a key role in professional success.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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