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 145: What to do with a bad manager who is loved by upper management and should I include detecting major security vulnerabilities on my resume?

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. How do I deal with the manager on my team who is both not very technical and positions himself as the “boss” spending almost no time with the team (except dragging everyone into more and more meetings! 😡) .

    My manager upsets and demotivates the team but not upper management and is clearly trying to climb the career ladders as fast as possible.

    Obviously everyone wants the team to succeed but the friction is growing. Some team members already left with (maybe too subtle) hints at the problem.

    Should one stage a coup and take over? Silently manipulate people to go to into “the right” direction? Switch teams/jobs and see it burn from the sidelines 🍿?

  2. While testing my system at work, I was shocked how little security there was. Two issues exposed the entire system’s data by just changing the query string. Also every API call had no backend check on the user making the call. These are just two examples of many.

    This is at a gigantic multi billion dollar institution handling hundreds of thousands of people’s data, some of it incredibly sensitive. This fact will be known on my resume.

    This leads to my question: I am looking for a new job now, and wondering how much detail about these security issues is appropriate to share on a resume? I feel this helps me stand out as a newer dev, but would this be frowned upon by prospective employers that may worry I might overshare their own security issues?

    Thanks for all your help!

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Episode 144: Job hunting while employed and how to start my first technical lead role

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions along with special guest Jonathan Cutrell::

  1. I’ve been job hunting while employed (gasp), and I have a number of opportunities that have advanced to the in-person interview. Most of the requests I’ve seen have said that they’ll be 4-5 hours in the office (which seems fairly typical).

    The problem is that I don’t have unlimited vacation, and I feel dishonest taking so many days off. How can I navigate new opportunities without disrespecting them, or completely failing in my current responsibilities?

  2. Hey guys, great show (though I think, as with all shows, it could probably use more discussion of badgers [yes, I said badgers!]).

    I’m about to start a new job (I took the time-honored and hallowed show advice, though I’m leaving on great terms with my old job) and will be coming in as that fanciest of newly-invented titles in software, Staff Software Engineer. This is the only third time I’ve started a new job [not counting odd jobs in high school and college], and I’ve never stepped into a leadership role before when starting. What are the most helpful things you’ve done or seen other engineers do when joining a team in a technical leadership role?

    Thanks!

Follow Jonathan Cutrell on Twitter @jcutrell and subscribe to the Developer Tea podcast: https://spec.fm/podcasts/developer-tea.

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Episode 143: Dealing with meeting interrupters and setting work limits

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I have noticed one of my coworkers, a fellow senior software engineer, often interrupts people during their meetings with his comments and thoughts.

    While I’m not against voicing opinions during a meeting, he does it so often that he takes over meetings. Some of his points are off-topic. He’ll cut off the presenter or another colleague (who displayed good etiquette) mid-sentence, not letting them finish their thought and derailing the flow of the meeting.

    In our last meeting I tried to quickly respond to his interjections rather than let him finish so we can keep the meeting moving. I thought he would take the hint to think a little more before interrupting. Ineffective so far. I think next time I will recommend that all questions and concerns be held to the end so we can get through all the meaningful content before letting him speak. Any other suggestions on how to deal with people like this?

  2. Hi guys! I have a question about setting limits to your work. I hear that its a common practice among developers to set restrictions to their work like turning off slack notifications when at home, not staying late at work, etc. This seems like a healthy approach, and I like it.

    But I can’t bring myself to do it.

    I’m a successful developer, I love my job, and I love the work communication in our chat. I have no problems struggling through the workday, but I have problems not falling into work in my free time.

    I have a lot of friends, a lot of hobbies, I’m definitely not bored outside of work. But still I always have this inner desire to open and read the workchat when I have a free minute, or finish an interesting feature in the evening instead of reading an interesting book.

    I can’t say it makes me unhappy in some way or affects my private life - I still will go and see a friend if I’m invited and still will attend my yoga class on a normal schedule - but this ““desire”” distracts me sometimes and that’s not normal either. Am I right?