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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Why should you listen?

Here's what listeners say:

Recent Episodes

Latest Episode

Episode 254: Code makes my body hurt and level madness


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. Hi I just listened to your most recent podcast and you mentioned having gone to hand therapy for what I assume is something like repetitive strain injury. It would be great if you could talk about this, I assume lots of engineers have issues with aching arms and hands. Or, to phrase it as a question “my hands often ache after coding for hours. I can no longer work in bed on a laptop or my hands ache for a few days. what did you find out at hand therapy?”


  2. I am at a large (non FAANG) tech company. We have salary levels/bands. My entire team was laid off, and I was offered a job that is three bands higher with another team. They said usually they would not hire someone of my level, but since they had worked with me before and I was a heavy individual contributor they were willing to interview me for this senior position. By the end of the process they decided I was the most qualified candidate and offered me the job. They don’t want to increase my level at all. This is displeasing to me. I was the most qualified candidate, why not offer me the higher level as well? If an external candidate was the most qualified, they would have offered that person the higher level. Unfortunately, I believe that since I did not negotiate on my initial offer when entering the company my perceived worth is tied to my compensation and low seniority level. How do I broach that I think this is unfair (or that they should increase my salary)?

    As additional information, I was given a raise by the previous team’s manager of 20k in January as I found out I was the least compensated on the team by 30k and I got upset at my boss because only about half the team had ever made a commit to any repo and most have no understanding of OOP. Perhaps this is why the team was cut. I feel my company might find it weird to see my salary increase twice in one year and reject for that reason.

    I feel you’re going to tell me to quit and find another job, but I have worked with the new team and can attest that they are kind, smart, have good engineering practices, and are given a lot of attention because they do AI, so it’s not an opportunity I want to miss out on.

    Thanks, love your show, it’s like car talk for the 21st century.

Show Notes

Voice Driven Development:

Patrick McKenzie’s article on salary negotiation:

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Episode 253: Not coding after 2 years and fake data scientists


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. Thanks for the show, I absolutely love getting awkward glances from people when I LOL randomly in public places.

    I’ve been at my first job for 2 years, including an internship. The work I got to do as an intern was absolutely brilliant and I learned new things almost every day. Then I joined as a full-time employee, and things were good at first.

    For the past year, things have gone downhill.

    I barely get to write code and spend most of my time reviewing and writing documents in excel and word.

    I find this unsatisfying and can barely get the work assigned to me done due to lack of motivation and interest.

    However, I am fairly convinced that the compensation and other perks I get here, as well as the coworkers and management here are some of the best I could find.

    Should I follow the soft skills advice and quit, or should I stick around because of the other favourable conditions I mentioned? In other words, how should I decide between satisfying work vs the favourable conditions?

  2. Hi, I am a data scientist. I work on a team of about 30 other data scientists. It’s a new team and I have determined after talking to everyone for a few weeks, that about 1/3 of the team does not know Python, 2 even admitting to me privately they lied in the interview, and probably 50-60% have no idea what git is. I feel like they hired a bunch of excel, tableau, business-y people and assumed any experience with data qualified you to do data science. You may say “quit your job” but this is my first job out of college and I don’t think I could find another easily. Do I tell my manager about this? How do I teach them these things? I’ve already had to pick up a lot of slack on the team, luckily since I have no kids, no girlfriend, a ton of free time, and have been coding since middle school it’s been manageable, but I’m concerned about how to handle this going forward.

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Episode 252: Impossible documentation and unexcited coworkers


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. How do I incentivize people to maintain documentation?

    Getting anything done at this large enterprise company is a massive challenge because documentation is constantly out of date and people only have half the information needed. So much time gets wasted because people have contradicting knowledge about the status of projects, systems, or requirements.

    Should I just quit my job or can this be fixed?

  2. Greetings! First off, great show - thanks for the countless episodes, most of which result in me getting weird looks as I chuckle to myself while running and listening. I have a passion for technology which lead me to a career in development. I am very often researching new languages and software that will help us do our jobs and/or lives better in my free time. I get excited about these things I find and want to share them with my co-workers but often get rebuffed by them, asking me why I spend my free time “working”. I know I can’t expect everyone to share my enthusiasm and passion for this stuff, but I am finding it discouraging being on a team where this curiosity is not celebrated/encouraged. I love the company I work for and don’t want to leave, but I find myself becoming more and more disconnected from my team because of this. Any suggestions on how I can share my passion with my co-workers is a way that is mutually beneficial to me and them? Thanks, keep up the great work!

Show notes

Gary Bernhardt’s WAT video from 2012: