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

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Recent Episodes

Latest Episode

Episode 280: Async communication and how to quit not nicely

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

Questions

  1. Starting to work on a team that is split across time zones. With a majority of the company based in one time zone and a handful spread in others. I want to emphasis the importance of asynchronous communication. I have found Slack to begin to feel like I need to respond ASAP instead of when it is convenient.

    If we were to say slack is used for asynchronous communication, is asking the team to use signal or even text appropriate for a quicker response?

    What is a good way to reach out to team members in cases where a response is needed more immediately?

  2. After about 1 year at my developer job, I was moved to work for a client company helping them launch a new product. This other client had different plans, it turns out, and now I’m just testing their API for them. That’s fine but I never get questions answered and I hate my job with my client and hate my job with this company that sells me like a cheap piece of meat. I want to quit, I will quit, but I have a lot to say about why I’m quitting. How can I NOT be nice about quitting and the reasons I’m quitting, and still feel comfortable showing my face in the industry again?

    I haven’t quit a job before, and this is my first job in the tech industry. Searching how to quit a job always comes with “remain light and positive.

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Episode 279: (Rerun of 220) Premature leadership push and credit and status

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This is a rerun of episode 220.

In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

Questions

  1. Hello,

    I know you said you don’t read the compliments on air most of the time but this podcast is great. I just found it a few weeks ago and I love the positive fun approach to question answering. It has really made me think about software engineering outside of the ““make code do thing”” box.

    Anyway, the question: I have been at the same company for 4 years. It is my first job out of college. I have ended up working in so many different languages and frameworks I don’t remember them all. I guess that’s just how things go. Recently I have been selected to take on a scrum master role and I feel I am quickly being groomed for management.

    That was never really my goal. I wanted to build a depth of knowledge and always have my hands on code.

    Will taking on these kind of roles hurt my chances at future technical roles? Am I dooming myself to managing spreadsheets and Jira tickets until I retire? Will I only communicate in Dilbert references?

  2. My teammate frequently gives status updates or fields follow up questions about work that was mostly done by someone else. I am pretty sure they do this to be helpful not to claim credit for all the work. I just wish I could speak up about the work I contributed primarily to before they do so on my behalf. I wish it didn’t bother me since we are one team and I would rather focus on the progress of the team rather than receiving credit.

    How should I respond to these situations in a way that allows me to not get bothered emotionally and also do what’s best for the team?

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Episode 278: PM to engineer and pressure to stay after quitting

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

Questions

  1. Many engineers want to go into product management, but I’m the reverse - a product manager who wants to move into engineering.

    What advice would you give to someone pursuing this path? How would you recommend I spend my time while jobfinding? What type of job should I be looking for?

    I have a computer science degree but I’ve worked as a PM for 10 years, so… it’s been a while. I’ve pursued various side projects over the years and have a basic working knowledge of lots of things (e.g. android, ios, react, python, computer vision, firebase/serverless functions, databases, algorithms/data structures) but not much depth in any area.

    I know one option is to convert at the company you’re already at. Take that off the table for a moment and say it has to be at a new company.

  2. I recently just quit my first tech job for higher pay at another company. Upon turning in my two weeks notice, my boss coxed me into agreeing to work as a contractor to finish a project I’ve been working on.

    His argument is that no one else on the team has been involved in my project, is familiar with the tech stack, and has any time to help anyway. I’m finding I don’t have time after the 40 hours I’m putting in at the new job but don’t quite know how to sever ties. I feel like I’m the bad guy. Family and friends all say that It’s not my problem and I should move on… being familiar with the project and company, I can’t help but feel differently.

    How can I sever ties and get over the feeling of being the bad guy, especially after kind of leading on my employer about contract work the last two weeks, or how can I convince family and friends that this is something I should do to avoid burning a professional bridge.