It takes more than great code to be a great engineer.

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Soft Skills Engineering is a weekly advice podcast for software developers. We answer questions about all the stuff you didn't realize you needed to know about being an engineer:

  • navigating pay raises
  • hiring and interviewing
  • deciding to go into management
  • dealing with annoying co-workers
  • quitting your job
  • managing meeting creep
  • micromanagers
  • installing a ball pit in your office
  • and much much more...

For answers to these and other questions, our hosts Dave Smith and Jamison Dance are here to help.

Why should you listen?

Soft Skills Engineering listeners are awesome. Here's what they are saying about the podcast.

Saad says:

I owe you a lot, listening to Soft Skills has completely shifted my thoughts on what it means to be an engineer. It’s probably one of the more useful things I’ve gained during my time at Amazon. I kind of brushed this stuff off, considering some of it politics, and the rest unimportant, but boy was I wrong. It definitely helped me grow, and I’m totally indebted to you for that.

Recent Episodes:

Episode 91: Job Requirements and Teams of Misfits

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. How often do candidates get hired who don’t match the requirements listed in a job posting? Is it a waste for me to apply to all jobs I come across even though I only have about 1/3 of what they want?
  2. I’ve been moved to a newly formed team. I suspect the team consists of people nobody really wants to work with. What are my options in a situation like this?

Episode 90: Upper Management Dislikes Me and Undeserved Job Offers

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. Upper management has a negative impression of me because of an early manager. How do I manage and improve my reputation with mid and upper level management, who I interact with very rarely?
  2. I have a job offer I feel unqualified for. Should I decline this offer I honestly don’t deserve, or face a massive amount of impostor syndrome and risk not delivering?

Episode 89: Departed Engineers and Employment Contracts

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. How do I deal with co-workers who constantly cite the decisions of engineers who don’t work here anymore?
  2. My employment makes it sound like the company owns my past work and side-projects. Is this true? Is this normal?

Episode 88: How To Dress For Interviews and Learning To Interview

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. How do you dress for interviews? Full on informal beach bum? Smart casual? Formal suit tie?
  2. I’m a new developer and have been asked to interview incoming developers. How do I learn how to interview?

This is the NoRedInk interview process. This is the blog post Jamison likes on getting data out of the technical portion of the interview. This is a slightly pessimistic look at pitfalls in the standard interview process. Google wrote a great article about structured interviewing that might also be helpful.

Episode 87: Pushover Coworkers and Productivity Metrics

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. My peers give up and say “have it your way” whenever we have technical discussions. How do I get them to be more vocal about their opinions?
  2. I like the idea of measuring things, but metrics seem easy to game. How do I effectively measure team and personal productivity?

Jamison cites this tweet and this blog post about examining your own productivity.

Episode 86: Sharing Salaries and Offensive Words

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. Could you (Jamison and Dave) share some salary information publicly? It would help to know how much others make.
  2. My boss uses an offensive word in technical discussions. How do I ask him to stop?

Episode 85: Annoying Know-it-alls and Company Headshots

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. One of my co-workers is a know-it-all, which is pretty annoying. How do I work with them?
  2. A former employer still has my photo on their team website eight years after I left. How do I get them to take it down?

Episode 84: Shy Developers and Outsourced Architecture

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. I work with a very shy and anxious remote developer. How do I work effectively with them?
  2. Our manager is outsourcing the core architecture of our next products to an offshore team. How do I tell him I think this is a bad idea?

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?