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

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

The show's hosts are experienced developers who answer your questions about topics like:

  • pay raises
  • hiring and firing developers
  • technical leadership
  • learning new technologies
  • quitting your job
  • getting promoted
  • code review etiquette
  • and much more...

Soft Skills Engineering is made possible through generous donations from listeners. A heart with a striped shadowSupport us on Patreon

A speech bubble

Why should you listen?

Here's what listeners say:

Recent Episodes

Latest Episode

Episode 256: No degree ceiling and reverse whippersnappers


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. Hiya, thank you for the show. It’s very insightful and both of you are pretty charismatic. Without getting too much into details I had a number of difficulties when I was younger which caused me to never finish my computer science degree. I took a job as a Business Intelligence analyst because I needed to move out. Fast forward a few years and I am now an Engineering Manager for one of the biggest companies in the UK - nearly 2000 engineers and around 100.000 employees overall.

    I consider myself incredibly successful for my age, just turned 30. I manage two teams(11 and 4 ppl) that are seen as the top performers in the Data Engineering department, and that is credited to my leadership.

    I’ve always been very self conscious of the degree situation. I’ve tried to finish it online a couple times but I simply can’t find how. I am now being asked to apply to my boss’ position as Senior Engineering Manager, which could mean being responsible of 6 teams of around 10 people average and a sizeable budget.

    I live in constant anxiety from the possibility of hitting a ceiling or being confronted about the degree situation. While I didn’t hide it on the interview process It’s not something I advertise at all but I got to a point where I just don’t know what to do about it. And so that would be my question: What would you advice for someone in my position?

  2. I’m working at a small company where we used to have 2 developers. Both of us had at least 10 years of professional experience and both of us are around 28 years old. A few months ago, our bosses decided to hire 3 new FE devs and all of them come from bootcamp.

    That wouldn’t be so unusual, but all of them are 35+ years old and have families and basically just 6 months of experience. This causes a lot of friction in our team. We’re trying to “mentor” them in best practices and experience we’ve gained over time, but sometimes they don’t accept it, because we’re just too young for them (in one case 10 years younger).

    Do you have any tips how to approach “mentorship” when it comes from younger to older dev? And how to overcome the 10 year barrier?

Show Notes

A smiling speech bubble

Episode 255: Only positive feedback and overworked and siloed


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. Hey there! Thank you so much for the amazing podcast.

    In my current job I work with an incredible (and very strong technically) team, and I like working with my manager a lot. BUT, during all 1:1s, and annual reviews the feedback is always that I am doing a great job and there is never a negative nor constructive criticism. However, I have been waiting for a promotion for more than a year, I never get assigned to the shinier and more challenging tasks/projects, and for the merit review I was put in the “good” bucket (not great, not the best).

    So, if I am always doing a great job, what else can I do to get this promotion and be trust worthy of shining projects?

  2. Jon asks,

    I’m having a hard time at work. There is so much to do my team can barely spare the time to collaborate on anything. Even when I ask for help, the overwhelming stress usually results in a snarky response.

    I’ve been working here for a year under these conditions and I’ve learned a lot but we never talk to each other…I feel like I still don’t have the whole picture because I’ve basically never been onboarded. I want to collaborate with my team but either the organizational structure or sheer amount of work is keeping us in silos. Trying to break them down usually lands me in the dog house.

    What the heck do I do now? I feel like if I stay I’ll only ever get year 1 dev experience, but I also feel like I’ll be totally useless to any real development team.

A smiling speech bubble

Episode 254: Code makes my body hurt and level madness


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. Hi I just listened to your most recent podcast and you mentioned having gone to hand therapy for what I assume is something like repetitive strain injury. It would be great if you could talk about this, I assume lots of engineers have issues with aching arms and hands. Or, to phrase it as a question “my hands often ache after coding for hours. I can no longer work in bed on a laptop or my hands ache for a few days. what did you find out at hand therapy?”


  2. I am at a large (non FAANG) tech company. We have salary levels/bands. My entire team was laid off, and I was offered a job that is three bands higher with another team. They said usually they would not hire someone of my level, but since they had worked with me before and I was a heavy individual contributor they were willing to interview me for this senior position. By the end of the process they decided I was the most qualified candidate and offered me the job. They don’t want to increase my level at all. This is displeasing to me. I was the most qualified candidate, why not offer me the higher level as well? If an external candidate was the most qualified, they would have offered that person the higher level. Unfortunately, I believe that since I did not negotiate on my initial offer when entering the company my perceived worth is tied to my compensation and low seniority level. How do I broach that I think this is unfair (or that they should increase my salary)?

    As additional information, I was given a raise by the previous team’s manager of 20k in January as I found out I was the least compensated on the team by 30k and I got upset at my boss because only about half the team had ever made a commit to any repo and most have no understanding of OOP. Perhaps this is why the team was cut. I feel my company might find it weird to see my salary increase twice in one year and reject for that reason.

    I feel you’re going to tell me to quit and find another job, but I have worked with the new team and can attest that they are kind, smart, have good engineering practices, and are given a lot of attention because they do AI, so it’s not an opportunity I want to miss out on.

    Thanks, love your show, it’s like car talk for the 21st century.

Show Notes

Voice Driven Development:

Patrick McKenzie’s article on salary negotiation: