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

Subscribe Now Support us on Patreon

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 15: Working with non-technical people and keeping up with the latest technology (with Brad Green)

Download

In episode 15, Jamison and Dave join Brad Green, engineering director at Google and Angular team mamager, to answer these questions:

How do I deal with non-technical people at work? I often get questions that put me into a position where I have to explain really basic concepts to non-technical people like sales and marketing. They seem to rely on me like a crutch, and it gets tiring to have to explain things over and over. How do I strike the right balance of being helpful, but not so helpful that they become dependent on me? I want to be helpful, but I don’t want to spend 90% of my time acting as tech support.

How do I keep up with new technology but avoid being sucked in by hype?

Episode 14: Web developer prejudice and legacy code

Download

In episode 14, Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

Since I am primarily a web developer, I often find there is a bit of developer prejudice, against web developers from software engineers of other categories. Often I find they think I am not capable of anything other than jquery dom manipulations, and talk down at me like I wouldn’t understand their expertly setup mysql queries. As it turns out, I too have my CS degree, and start new projects in all kinds of programming languages just to learn them. Any tips for breaking the web dev stereo types?

How to deal with legacy code and legacy coders? The code was probably good once, but it is impossible to maintain and doesn’t work on new hardware. You know the best approach is to scrap it and start from scratch but the original coder is resistant and wants to find a way to “make it work”. What do you do? In my situation, this legacy coder is a peer, and the only person above us doesn’t want to take a side on the argument, so we are left at a stale-mate.

Episode 13: Dealing with a 'yes' boss and the difference between contract and permanent positions

Download

In episode 13, Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

What should you do about a boss, or in my case ‘solution architect’, who won’t push back to the client and just keeps sacrificing quality of the product to push more features out?

What’s the difference between contract and permanent positions?

Episode 12: Making friends at work and how to be good at being managed

Download

In episode 12, Jamison, Dave, and special guest Ann Harter answer these questions:

How do I make friends at work? Should I?

I hear a lot about being a good manager but not much about being managed. How do I do that?

Episode 11: Negotiating offers and dealing with an oblivious boss

Download

In episode 11, Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

I’m looking for a new job. How do I negotiate to get a better offer?

How do you deal constructively with a boss who is well-intentioned, reasonably nice and intelligent, but incompetent, oblivious, and who has minimal to no oversight on their work performance?

Episode 10: Mentors and Stock Options

Download

In episode 10, Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

How about an episode about mentoring? Why is it important, how do we do it, and how do we find the right mentor for us?

How do stock options work? How can I tell whether an offer with stock options is any good?

Episode 9: Deadlines and Titles

Download

In episode 9, Jamison, Dave, and special guest Layne Mosely answer these questions:

As a software developer, is it better to put an aggressive deadline on myself? Or should I let it be open ended? What are the effects of these two approaches on me and my team?

What do all these titles mean? Technical lead. Senior software engineer. Director of engineering. VP of engineering. CTO.

Episode 8: Work life balance and on-boarding new engineers

Download

In episode 8, Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

How do you achieve work life balance? Do you have any strategies that work for you? Any bad examples from your own lives?

How do you on-board new engineers?

Episode 7: Finding meaning and quitting your job

Download

In episode 7, Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

How do I quit my job? What’s the process? How do I avoid burning bridges? What will my employer expect from me? How do benefits work?

I’m worried my job is not meaningful? Am I just cranking out code for “the man”? What can I do to get more meaning out of my job?

Episode 6: Speaking at Conferences

Download

In episode 6, Jamison and Dave answer this question:

I’d like to do some public speaking. How do I get accepted to speak at conferences? How do I give good talks once I’m there?