Soft Skills Engineering listeners are awesome. Here's what they are saying about the podcast.
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.
Since working remotely I’ve noticed a trend to do things like not leaving the house, growing my beard out to above average length, or not wearing (real) pants. What should I do to keep from losing any/all interpersonal skills?
2.Is there such a thing as meetup etiquette? When I attend meetups and attempt to initiate conversion with people, I’m hesitant to interrupt people who are in discussion with others. Should I wait, try to join the discussion or just barge in on the conversion?
I went through the interview process, and as last step I had an interview with the VP of engineering. At the end of interview he asked if I had any questions for him. I didn’t know what to ask. What do you ask?
I’m a front-end web developer on a SCRUM team. Our Product Owner is also our tester, but she has a very busy schedule and she hardly has any time to test anymore.
My team thinks we need a second product owner, but I think we should hire a dedicated tester to help the PO. How do I convince my team and my manager to hire a tester instead of a second product owner?
We don’t work with scripted test plans or anything, so I think a dedicated tester would be a huge benefit to our team and our deliverables.
I became an engineer because I loved my programming assignments and CS degree. However, at work I’m struggling to contribute beyond competing the tasks assigned to me. How do I participate more in broader technical solutions, process, etc?
I recently started a new job, and a lot of the existing code is really bad. How can I raise this concern, or make improvements to the code, without offending my teammates who wrote it? Thanks!
A teammate is a great developer but English isn’t their first language. Sometimes this results in bad grammar or spelling mistakes in code comments, variables, and method names. Often I correct it in code review, but I sometimes feel like I’m nit-picking, although I really do want it changed to be correct. It slows down code reviews. And of course, I don’t wish to appear racist or discriminatory. Any ideas for solving this?
This is my first job out of college. Been there for 2.5 years. It feels like my manager is always firefighting and not able to be proactive, trapped by the tyranny of the urgent. It feels like our group is always behind on deadlines trying to catch up and we’ve accrued large amounts of technical debt with little to no time spent on improving our processes or tools. The result is that we produce a worse product and documentation than we should. This causes additional support required down the road further loading down the group. What can I or my manager do to improve this situation? Is this more common than I think?
A fellow developer submitted a pull request for me to review. The logic was totally fine, but the spacing drove me nuts. We use a linter to enforce some coding style but because this wasn’t a rule in the linter, I wasn’t sure if it was fair game to call him out on it. Was I being petty? I knew if this got into our code I would end up fixing it later myself. I told him I would approve the PR but thought that spacing should be more readable and consistent with the rest of the codebase. What is the proper etiquette here? Mention it and add the rules to the linter later? Don’t care about spacing if the code gets the job done?”
How do you express gratitude to your immediate supervisor? My immediate boss, who is lead engineer for our team, does an amazing job. Occasionally I get to peek into his world and see how much work he does. I am amazed at all he does for the team; shielding us from company politics, keeping us updated on relevant info, dealing really well with team drama and even makes time to contribute to code. How do I show gratitude besides building meaningful software?
I recently read a paper on coding style and how it survives even through compilation and optimization!
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:
We have a great intern, who is smart and has good ideas but is also very quiet.
She’s got a great deal of potential, and I want to tell her that being more vocal and assertive can help her greatly, both in her career and in life.
How can I give her this feedback, without it sounding like a criticism of her personality, or her introverted tendencies?”
Recently a team member was let go. I am the team lead so I played a role in their termination. While they weren’t a good fit for the team, I’d still like to be in touch and help them improve their skills. Should I steer clear of this? My gut says yes but my heart says no.
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:
I know that teaching others is important when working on a team so that the team can grow and get better. But what happens when one member of the team, despite being the friendliest person in the world, is missing so many required skills for his job that it becomes impossible for me to do anything besides teach him?
I recently heard the concept of “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns”. It’s the unknown unknowns that get me. Sometimes I ask a question of a seasoned developer and they seem annoyed because it’s something that I could have looked up. They knew it but I didn’t. Sometimes I ask a question and they are eager to help because the question is interesting and they know it will be good for me to learn. I struggle because I don’t want to waste my time or theirs, but I want to work through things and learn. How do I do this well?
Wikipedia has a whole article on the origin of the phrase “unknown unknowns”.
Also, Gary Bernhardt has a fantastic talk called Ideology about “unknown knowns” - things we believe in software without even realizing we believe them.