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 219: Remote crickets and Manager Careering


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. I took the cult’s advice and quit my job at a start-up!! Now I’m at a big company and the pace of work is REAL different.

    In my previous life, if I asked a question, I would get an answer within the minute, or at the most, within the hour.

    At my new gig, the response time on Slack can be 6 hours, and pull request comments so far are never – after a day has passed, I just send a Slack to ask for a response to the PR comment. I’ve noticed that if I schedule a Zoom call I have the best chance of getting a hold of them, but a video call sometimes feels like overkill.

    I realize it’s due to my coworkers/manager being super busy, so I try to make my questions short, sweet and infrequent.

    Still, I’m now missing deadlines because I can’t get an answer. How can I get my coworkers’ attention so I can do my work and meet my deadlines?

  2. Engineering Managers support growth of their direct reports. Once you become a manager, it’s expected to own your own career development. How much should you expect your manager to support you in that?

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Episode 218: Referral underperforming and take a tech lead role


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. Hey Dave and Jamison, really wish I found your podcast sooner as it has been a great insight into some of the challenges at work.

    Last year, a fairly close friend reached out asking for a referral for an entry level position to my work. Trying to help him out, I figured absolutely! What could go wrong? (Foreshadowing intensifies)

    About 3 months into his employment, my boss informally mentioned at a dinner how behind said friend was at a technical level. I brushed this off, and reassured him that he’ll catch up.

    6 months into his employment said friend was written up a few times for a few different reasons: tardiness , performance (avoids taking tickets and calls), using phone too often during work hours, fell asleep at his desk.

    7 months in brought in our yearly reviews, which he was denied a raise due to his performance history. He asked me if I thought this was correct, and I was brutally honest with him and agreed with that decision. He didn’t take this well, and resulted in an argument between us. At this point I was pretty frustrated with his performance, and it was definitely straining the relationship.

    1 Year in (today), he was caught working on side-projects (paid) at work….. which resulted being put on a PIP / Final Warning. I got pulled aside by my boss and HR asking if I knew about it, I said I knew he had side work, but I wasn’t aware it was being done on company time. He’s on the verge of losing his job, but I can’t help but feel somewhat responsible for referring him.

    All of above events have really hurt the friendship, to the point where I don’t think I would call him a friend. I’ve pulled him aside more than a handful of times asking what’s going on, or if I can help him in anyway but either resulted in a small improvement or a stubborn response that he’s fine at work.

    Am I holding him to too high of a standard? I don’t think the friendship will heal anytime soon, which I am fine with, but am I responsible for referring them?

    Thanks for your time guys, love the podcast and advice!

  2. I’m currently a manager and applied for a manager role at another company. I heard back from the recruiter that the manager role was filled, but they were still hiring for tech leads.

    I really want to work at this company, so I asked to interview for a tech lead role. But I really want to be a manager. I’m tempted to ask if they’d be willing to then interview me as if I were a candidate for the manager position I originally applied for.

    Should I try to show them my readiness for a manager role (even though they no longer have a manager role available) just so I can be top of mind when a manager role opens up? Or should I just be happy falling back into the tech lead ranks and try to prove myself over time?

    I really don’t mind starting out in the tech lead role and moving back up to management when I’m settled in at the company and an opportunity presents itself, but I can’t help but wonder if I could have passed the bar for the manager role I originally applied for.

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Episode 217: Quitting words and double COVID internship


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. Hi

    Over time I have heard many different terms that all seem to equate to “I no longer have a job”. Some examples are quit, fired, laid off and terminated. What is the difference between these (and others) and what is best (both from benefits and emotionally) for the employee and the employer?

    Note I am not planning to quit my job or fire someone, but I am curious to hear your views.

  2. Hey guys, I love your podcast and find it super helpful for me as I start my career in tech. I am in a conundrum. I am a student and I took the opportunity Covid presented me to take up two internships instead of one. Both are at top companies. My question is I am feeling like I am drowning in work, how do I navigate through this and what are your general thoughts. Thank you in advance!