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 experience 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

Recent Episodes

Latest Episode

Episode 97: A Quiet Intern and Hearts and Guts

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. 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?”

  2. 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.

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Episode 96: Teaching Burden and Unknown Unknowns

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. 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?
  2. 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.

Hoobastank.

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Episode 95: Paying For Help and Scared of Recruiters

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. When should asking a developer pal for help go from something that is free because you’re pals to something you should compensate them for in some way?
  2. I’ve never worked with recruiters before. I’ve always found jobs from friends and other connections. Is working with recruiters worth it? What should I watch out for?

I finally found the creepy Jack and the Beanstalk video! It is still horrifying.

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