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Soft Skills Engineering is a weekly advice podcast for software developers.

Hosts Dave Smith and Jamison Dance answer software developers' most pressing questions about life, the universe, and everything. Join us each week to laugh at our terrible amazing jokes and gasp at our pretty good ideas pure wisdom.

Recent Episodes:

Episode 83: Gaps In The Resume and Moving To Business

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. I think I’ve saved enough money to get out of the rat race. If something goes wrong and I need to get a job again, how do I explain a long gap in my resume?
  2. I like writing code but I’m interested in moving to a more business-focused role. How can I test this without burning bridges? Do I need to take a pay cut?

Episode 82: Blow Ups and Job Security

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. How do I smooth things over after a blow-up between team members?
  2. A team mate admits he writes bad code on purpose for job security. What do I do?

Episode 81: Unwilling To Grow and Forced Out During Two Weeks Notice

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. A developer on a team I lead doesn’t seem interested in growing. How do I help them engage more?
  2. I gave two weeks notice, but was told part of the way through to not come in any more. I still had work left and this made me feel bad. Is this common? Did I do anything wrong?

Jamison talks about the Khan Academy engineering culture. He kinda misquoted it though. They don’t explicitly say they lay people off who don’t progress.

Episode 80: New Team Leads and Constant Follow Up

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. How do I keep up with new tech as a team lead?
  2. I manage a team. A manager from a different team wants me to run everything I do in my team by him. What do I do?

Jamison mentions this by Charity Majors on the pendulum between technical and people leadership.

Jamison also mentions this HBR article on employee happiness.

Episode 79: Story Point Misses and Measuring Productivity

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. It seems like my teams always miss their story point commitments. Is this normal? How do you change it?
  2. How do you actually measure developer productivity?

The article comparing research on productivity in static and dynamic type systems is here. It is a great read.

Jamison also mentions Goodhart’s Law. Read more about it here.

Episode 78: Endless Rewrites and Fake Deadlines

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. We’ve re-written the project I’m on 10 times without launching. What should I do?
  2. I worked hard to hit a deadline, only to find out the deadline was moved. How do I avoid this in the future?

We talked a bit about the value of deadlines way back in episode nine if you want to hear some positive things about deadlines.

Episode 77: Boss Wants Me To Speak and The 2% Raise

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. My boss wants me to speak at conferences, but I’m very new to software. What should I do?
  2. How do I get more than a 2% raise? That is the company average.

We talked about conferences a bit more way back in episode 6.

We also talked more about playing the salary game in episode 23, which is a technique for sharing salary information with your co-workers.

Episode 76: Writing Goals and Firing Jokes

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. My organization requires me to set goals for myself. What advice do you have for writing good technical and non-technical goals?
  2. My managers openly joke about firing people all the time. What should I do?

Episode 75: Self-Promotion For Wallflowers and Moving in a Year

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. What are some good ways for people who aren’t good at self-promotion to promote themselves?
  2. I’m moving to Europe in a year. How much notice should I give my company that I’m leaving?

Way back in episode 26 we talked a little bit about self-promotion as well.

Episode 74: Switching Languages Without A Pay Cut and A Missed Negotiation

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Jamison and Dave will be at the UtahJS Conference on September 18th. See conf.utahjs.com for more info and to buy tickets. Come say hi!

This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. Do I need to take a pay cut when switching languages?
  2. I was promoted at work but didn’t get a raise or a title change. What do I do?