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 240: Under-leveled in the big leagues and pushing back


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. I became a software engineer 4 years ago after graduating from a bootcamp. I then worked a few software jobs in middle America. About a year and a half ago, I got a job in a well know tech start up and moved to a big city with heavy software/tech presence.

    Before I moved, I suspected I was good at software engineering, and after working in this tech startup “in the big leagues”, I confirmed my suspicion by quickly becoming the go to engineer for the team. I just finished a project that delivered a major tech component of our core system, and received lots of kudos.

    Because of this I suspect I was mis-hired for my current level; this is the first job that I can compare myself with more than 10 software engineer peers, and evidently I am above average. I used to tell myself I was not that good because I didn’t work at a “real tech company.” I am pretty certain I will get promoted in the next cycle, but how can I land my compensation to be above average in the pay band as well? Should I share my feeling that I was mis-hired in my current position?

  2. How do I push back the work I do not really want to do while still being a team player? My manager assigned me a project that I do not really want to work on and when I try to push back, he said he finds me the best person that suits this. I ended up doing it since I want to be a team player, but I don’t believe it will benefit me in the long term in the team. How can I push back to my manager in other occasion in the future? Thanks for your podcast, it has been very amazing.

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Episode 239: Hustle and patents and toxicity


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. Really love the podcast. Keep it up! I’m in a senior role at a software company and have been here over 5 years. I have come up with a SaaS product idea after finding a problem in my company’s engineering process and started working on it. It solves a niche problem in general software development so it isn’t related to my company product. I would like to use this product at my current company both to help me manage the technical issues at my current company and to help validate and grow the idea.

    Should I have any concerns with what I’m doing? Can my company claim my idea as it’s own? What should I be doing now to protect myself? Any other things I should consider? Does it make sense to validate a new side hustle idea at a company while working full time at said company?

  2. Please help soft skills wizards:

    Junior eng at a huge conglomerate, quit mid-patent process (OK I HAD A PRODUCTIVE TUESDAY A MONTH AGO and I’m pretty good with mermaid.js).

    If they come back with a job offer post-departure, since I am the sole inventor on this patent, how do I properly handle this one?

    My manager was…. extremely toxic and every attempt that was made to move was botched either by CoViD-19 or my chain of command. I don’t think I could feasibly have a positive interaction with my former manager and working under him has had a significant impact on my mental health.

    But…. I loved my work. I loved some of the people I worked with. Sometimes it being a huge conglomerate had its upsides as well: I was able to bend the rules as long as the bureaucracy had prevented someone from implementing the visibility that would have demonstrated the rules were bent.

    If they give me an offer to return as a junior architect I would be very tempted to do so, but would be afraid of being anywhere near my former manager, director or VP.

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Episode 238: Naughty team and quitting after 2 weeks


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. A few years ago, my current company did a big no-no which turned into a scandal that made national headlines. When I was considering joining, I said it was important for me to feel ethically aligned with my work, and asked about how things had changed since The Incident. They told me they stopped doing bad things, and I accepted the offer. Well, during my time at the company, it has slowly been dawning on me that my team is THE TEAM in question. I finally gathered the courage to ask a coworker, and he confirmed that this was true, and that there’s more designs coming down the pipeline that he and other devs are uncomfortable building. He brought it up with our manager and he was basically told “business is business”. As devs, we don’t make the decisions. And our golden handcuffs are really shiny. Should I leave, stay and try to influence change from the inside, or stay and maybe be a whistleblower one day if need be?

  2. I think I made a horrible mistake. I gave up an undesirable job for a fairly large tech company, and joined a Drupal agency. These two weeks have been the longest year of my life. I haven’t written one line of code, and the Drupal admin is incomprehensible. Since it’s only been a (relatively) short time here, how do I get back in the job market without looking like a chump? Do I remove it from my resume? Do I own it like a hideous tattoo? What do I tell hiring managers; whether its a gap in my resume, or that I want to leave after only 2 weeks? Any and all help is appreciated. Thank you!