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 129: Office romance and What to say during one-on-ones

Download

In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I recently started working at a small dev shop. Somewhere along the way I may or may not have started seeing a coworker outside of work. It’s really been great but there are no clear examples of how the organization would react to something like this. We have fairly lateral positions and there are no written policies or anything in the handbook. Even so, we’ve been doing our best to act “business casual” when we run into each other during the day. We don’t work directly but it’s a smaller company so the chance is pretty good that we eventually will.

    It’s been fun to navigate so far but wondering what your take is on this/the pros and cons of telling trusted coworkers or management. Thanks!!

  2. I’ve been working as a software engineer for several years now. In my current job I have fortnightly one-to-one catchups with my manager. My problem is that I very rarely have anything to say. My work is going fine, I’m happy enough with my job, and I don’t feel like I really need help with anything. I feel as though not having much to say reflects poorly on me, giving the impression that I’m uninterested or that I don’t value my managers input. What is it we should be talking about?

A smiling speech bubble

Episode 128: Finish The Degree In Poverty? and Hiring Insecurity

Download

In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I’m working for minimum wage as a full Systems Administrator at a State University while I’m taking classes. I really like working here, but I need to make at LEAST 40K /year to justify this level of effort for much longer. I just got offered a job two hours away for 80 - 100K as a System Administrator at a smallish ISP. The same day my boss told me he got approval to hire me on at 45K in 3 - 4 months.

    If I wait and stay I’m not making what I feel I’m worth, but if I leave I’ll make WAY more money and probably won’t finish my bachelor’s degree.

    I already have 5 years of experience as a ““system admin”” but I want to move over to technical project management in the next 10 years.

    I think I should stay, make less money, continue growing my relationships in the Scholastic Network, and finish getting my Bachelor’s degree. That way I can get past HR checks to become a Project Manager somewhere else.

    What should I do?

  2. I’ve recently become the technical lead at my company. I need to build my team more but am struggling with one thing. How do I overcome the fear of hiring someone better than me who could potentially overtake me as the team lead? Is this a common fear among leaders? I want to build an effective team of high caliber developers. But I can’t do that if I let my ego and insecurity get in the way.

A smiling speech bubble

Episode 127: Leaving a Job I Love and My Role Is Being Eroded

Download

In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hey guys, I love the show! Thanks so much for keeping episodes coming every week.

    Some background:

    I work for a small, established company based in a small city with a growing tech scene. We have about 20 employees, 5 of which make up the engineering team and it’s been a great experience. My role is primarily being a full stack developer working on our web application, but since we’re a small company, I’ve been able to explore some other responsibilities like analyzing data for the marketing team and working with the sales staff to build custom solutions for select clients. I started working here as an intern while still in college almost 6 years ago. I feel my initial salary out of college started a bit low, but I’ve received an 8-10% raise each year I’ve been a full time employee (without having fight for them)–so I think I’m catching up.

    My question is, will I be stunting my career or making myself seem less hirable by staying here too long? I’ve clearly found a great place to work so leaving here would be difficult. I’m also concerned that I’m beginning to run out of skills to acquire here. It sounds easy to leave a job you hate, but how/when should you leave a job that’s this good to you?

  2. Hi Jamison and Dave,

    tl;dr:

    The role I was originally hired for is slowly being eroded - what should I do?

    Longer version:

    I have been working for my current company for a little over a year now. Things were going really well at first, I liked the team I was on, the work (backend) was interesting and I was learning a lot from my colleagues.

    Unfortunately, due to corporate machinations, my team was dissolved as part of a reorganization and scattered to seperate, mostly frontend focused, teams.

    Originally I was told that I would still be doing effectively the same type of work on my new team as on my old, and this has been mostly true. However, over the course of the last few weeks my new manager has gradually been announcing changes in the direction the team is taking as a whole and talking to me specifically about working more on frontend related tasks and upskilling, as I have almost no frontend experience.

    I have tried to make it clear that I have no interest in doing this but my manager is still pushing for it. I am currently still doing mostly backend work with a little frontend, but I feel like my days are numbered. There are other teams with a more backend focus, but I feel that my manager partly wants to keep me in the short term for some necessary backend work and in the long term is hoping I will acquiesce on doing more frontend work.

    How should I navigate this situation? It feels like I sinking in quicksand

    Thanks