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 181: Blocked by back-end and tired of coding

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I recently took a job at a start-up as the only front-end developer. The distinction of front-end and back-end is new to me as all of my previous experience has been full stack development.

    Most of my work can only be started once a back end developer has done their part. There is only one back end developer who just so happens to be one of the co-founders of the company. Because he can’t exclusively dedicate his time to back-end work due to his other roles with the company, I am left sitting at my desk writing to you guys trying to figure out what to do with all this free time I suddenly have. I’d like to stay busy and not just look busy.

    I’d appreciate any advice to help get me busy again!

  2. Hey Dave and Jamison, love the show. Quit my job twice since I started listening so I’m a super fan.

    Long story short, I think I’m bored with coding(?). I just see everything as moving JSON around. Putting it in databases or putting it in queues or on a screen. I’ve done mobile, I’ve done backend, I’ve done front end, and it all just starts to look the same after a while. As an industry I feel we’ve solved the hard problems and now its degraded to this.

    What do I do next? Do I find a software product where the JSON moving around excites me (for example, a social good or cutting edge product)

    Do I look at something very different like embedded dev or games dev? (No JSON there!)

    Or do I look to tech leadership or people leadership? These options appeal but I’m just five years into my career and 26 years old and of course no one takes me seriously, naturally.

    However, I have been very deliberate and been very intense about my career, but now I’m feeling a bit done with coding. Team velocity problems interest me more than JSON APIs. People interests me more than code.

    I’d love to hear any of your thoughts on this! Thanks :D Keep up the great work.

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Episode 180: Inspiring attention to detail and moving

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. How do I inspire attention to detail in my co-workers?

    I’ve been frustrated with another developer on my team who pays a lot less attention to detail and it results in many bugs that I end up fixing, and sloppy commit history which makes debugging issues more difficult. I received a suggestion from a mentor to reframe my thinking from: I failed to enforce good practices, to, I failed to inspire good practices.

    Having approached the zen master, I’m hopeful for your additional advice / humour, what are some actions that I can take to help me on this path of inspiring vs enforcing?

  2. I am planning to move to a new city for my significant other to get another job, and will likely need to leave my current job to do so. Should I tell my manager up front when we start looking for new jobs or wait until we are actually moving?

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Episode 179: Pushing preemptive promotion and de-motivated by promotion

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hello! I love listening to your show. I often relisten to old episodes. I’m a Front End Developer at an IT consulting company. I will be reaching my 1 year anniversary at the company in March (it’s September right now). How do I talk to my manager about a promotion? I would like to become a Sr front end Developer. I have never had to have this conversation because I have always changed jobs before reaching 1 year with the company. I need help on how to start the conversation. Thank you!

  2. A member of my team asked for a promotion; we discussed and it was decided that if we worked on a set of core skills we could push for the promotion in a few months time. Since this conversion they have lacked motivation and productivity has dropped. What should I do now?