It takes more than great code to be a great engineer.

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Soft Skills Engineering is a weekly advice podcast for software developers. We answer questions about all the stuff you didn't realize you needed to know about being an engineer:

  • pay raises
  • hiring
  • going into management
  • annoying co-workers
  • quitting your job
  • meetings
  • micromanagers
  • installing a ball pit in your office
  • and much much more...

For answers to these and other questions, our hosts Dave Smith and Jamison Dance are here to help.

Why should you listen?

Soft Skills Engineering listeners are awesome. Here's what they are saying about the podcast.

Jack says:

Not only did Soft Skills Engineering help me land my first gig, I also used your advice to negotiate a $10,000 raise! I love your podcast and will continue to heartily recommend you to everyone I know!

Hdennen says:

Facing a 9 hour drive, I grabbed a bunch of podcasts to listen to. I don't even know what the other ones are. Seriously, this podcast is full of massively helpful and relevant content from two people who are experienced, funny, and insightful.

Saad says:

Listening to Soft Skills Engineering has completely shifted my thoughts on what it means to be an engineer. It’s probably one of the more useful things I’ve gained during my time at Amazon. It definitely helped me grow, and I’m totally indebted to you for that.

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Recent Episodes:

Episode 36: Unlimited Vacation and Enforcing Best Practices


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. What do you think of unlimited vacation policies?
  2. How do I enforce coding best practices?

Show notes, because Jamison is feeling ambitious:

Episode 35: Attracting Talent and Quitting Responsibly


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. How can I attract talent?
  2. How do I quit without burning bridges?

Episode 34: Do Certifications Help and How Can I Avoid Avoidance?


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Do certifications help me?
  2. How can I solve an avoidance problem?

Episode 33: Damaging Your Credibility and Meeting Potential Employers In School


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. How can a developer damage their credibility online?
  2. How can I meet potential employers while I’m still in school?

Episode 32: Why Would You Do Contracting?


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer this question:

  1. Why would a developer leave a full time job to do consulting or contracting?

It just so happens that Jamison did this a few months ago, and he shares his experience in making the transition.

Episode 31: Going In To Management and Knowing If A Job Is Worth Applying To


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Should I go in to management?
  2. How do you know if a job is worth applying to?

Episode 30: Reaching Consensus and Code Editing Etiquette


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. How should you reach consensus on a team? Should you always have consensus?
  2. What is the etiquette around editing code in a shared repository?

Episode 29: What Should I Do When Starting A New Job?


Literally the only episode that the advice “quit your job and get a better one” doesn’t apply.

Dave and Jamison answer the question:

What should I do when starting a new job?

Episode 28: How Long Should I Stay At My Job and How Do I Help Junior Developers Improve


In episode 28, Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

How long should I stay before I quit my job?

  • Two to three years seems fairly normal.
  • Dave sees people with less than 12 months regularly.
  • Staying at a job means you experience things you wouldn’t if you hopped around a lot.
  • It is much easier to see the hype cycle play out if you stick around.
  • You get to see the outcome of your own decisions.
  • Quitting usually == raise.
  • Chronic job hopping might result in a reputation of not sticking with things.
  • Dave thinks you should quit your first job after 18 months because of the Monty Hall problem

How do you encourage junior developers to improve?

  • We assume that these junior developers really want to improve.
  • Make it clear that people get stuck and struggle, and that is normal.
  • Make it clear that you don’t want them to get too stuck.
  • Make it OK to ask questions.
  • People generally live up or down to your expectations, so help them feel trusted and that you expect they will be great.
  • Make the outcome of their work clear.

Episode 27: Writing Great Resumes and Pushing Back on Non-Engineering Tasks


In episode 27, Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

How do I write a great resume?

  • Do you really need a resume these days?
  • How important is formatting and good design?
  • What content should be on your resume?

Should I push back on non-engineering tasks like PowerPoint presentations?

From listener samspot: I am a Sr. Developer and I am often asked to spend time on PowerPoint presentations for funding and other business stuff. I want to ask why the managers, analysts, etc can’t handle these tasks. I find them to be a frequent distraction from my actual responsibilities, especially because these are so frequently “emergency” requests. Should I push back on this work, or is it better to be a team player?