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 191: Overshadowed and demos and credit

Download

In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I’m an introverted person but am not afraid to present my work and have strong 1-1s. For the past few months, I’ve been working on a project with a coworker who is very extroverted and expressive compared to me. During meetings with higher ups to present our work and progress, he overpowers me in conversation unwittingly. Most of the time, I feel he does a good job but other times I notice that he makes claims without gathering all the data. I’m much more deliberate and will let people know if I’m uncertain about something; But he is willing to just say something outright then later apologize if he was incorrect. I want to make sure that in meetings, I don’t come across as weak. I’m pretty confident in my technical ability and am polite at work, but don’t think I come across as very approachable due to my lack of expressiveness. Is this something I should work on?

  2. Hey Jamison and Dave! I absolutely love your show and have listened to every episode. You guys keep me company on those commutes to work and keep me sane. Every quarter, we have an organization-wide demo. Usually, it’s one person demoing the feature - usually the person who has been working on it most recently. For some of the features, I put in a lot of hard work and time into the feature but was later moved off to another project after completing my part. Essentially, I wrote the foundation of the whole feature. However, everyone has long forgotten that I ever contributed to it and I only found out it was even being demoed on the day of. I feel really disappointed my efforts aren’t recognized, but is it too petty to care? From a career standpoint, I worry that the person demoing will get a lot more visibility from leadership and it will lead to faster career growth for them. What are your thoughts? Thanks!

A smiling speech bubble

Episode 190: Disorganized startup and leveling up the team

Download

In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. My company is a startup and they’re super unorganized. I’m a junior-mid level engineer, and when I was onboarded, there was no documentation for how to run anything. I wrote a bunch of documentation and also made some PR templates to try and organize PRs. I’m super annoyed because things are constantly being messed with in our schema, and I don’t realize what we’ve changed until it correlates to a different issue that I’m trying to fix and then have to redo the fix because there’s this new change. What can I do to help my company?

  2. I’m a lead engineer at a small but growing startup. I work primarily on skunkworks projects. My teammate and I are feeling constantly underwhelmed by the performance of the rest of the engineering team, who are working on the core app. Their work causes limitation for us, makes the engineering team look ill-equipped, and we cant seem to make old dogs learn new tricks. How do we make it more apparent to the team, and the rest of the company, that it’s time to “level up” the engineering domain as a whole.

A smiling speech bubble

Episode 189: Building relationships and handling negative feedback with speical guest Jeff Leiken

Download

In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hi, I’m a software engineer who’s recently been promoted to a technical lead. I accomplished this mainly through work ethic, dedication to improving my skillset, a couple of large/notable projects, and some minor internal networking. After going through the promotion process, it’s become apparent how valuable it is to establish strong relationships with peers and seniors in your field.

    What advice or recommendations do you have for establishing these relationships within a company and how would you go about seeking a more senior engineer or leader to mentor you? Also, thanks for all your hard work - been listening to your episodes for the past 6 months and finding them very enlightening!

  2. I just got my annual performance review at work. The overall rating was “meets expectations”, but I worked really hard this year and thought I did great work. I was hoping for a higher rating than that. Maybe worse, this means I got a smaller raise than I expected. The review contained some suggestions for improvement. I feel pretty demotivated by the whole situation. How do I get out of this funk?

You can get in touch with Jeff Leiken at https://www.evolutionmentoring.com/.