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 204: Remote work and ghosting your employer


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. My whole team recently transitioned to working from home. How do I handle this? The good news is I don’t have a fever.

  2. Working remotely, what should you do if either you ghost the company or the company ghosts you? (Ghosting as in the relationship)

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Episode 203: Downturns and conflict


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I am worried it is only a matter of time before the growing pandemic impacts the job market. I work for a young start up, and as of yet I am gainfully employed. But if this goes on as long as some folks say it will, I’m just not sure. I’ve heard there was a software job market crash after the dot com boom. What was that like ? What’s the best thing to do if you get laid off in a market downturn? Wait it out? Look for software jobs? Switch industries, temporarily?

  2. I’m a technical lead on a small team. Two of my teammates are constantly annoyed with each other and I need to know how to talk them down so we can be a better team. Let me introduce them:

    Alice (the names are made up), an experienced programmer, who is slower to catch on, keeps dragging old arguments and old ways of thinking in, works very slowly and in her own vacuum, and often comes across as difficult to work with. Alice constantly disagrees with the team on things like naming conventions and solutions to problems.

    In the other corner, Bob, a 2nd year coder, eager to follow leadership but still learning when to ask for help. He takes criticism constructively, but not from Alice because to him it sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard.

    Alice and Bob constantly bump heads. Yesterday, Bob rewrote Alice’s stored procedure because it was slow and he had some ideas with how to reuse some code. Today it was SQL formatting - Bob’s SQL is ugly, according to Alice, who wants to confront him on it. I suggested we create a style guide to settle that argument.

    This kind of thing has been going on since the team was formed. My question is, what can I do? They both look to me as the leader, and I don’t want to take sides, but we’ve had this problem for nearly two years.

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Episode 202: Can't stand up and new team, new me


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hey Dave and Jamison. Due to a chronic joint problem, I find it uncomfortable to stand for more than a couple of minutes. How do I talk to my boss about sitting during standup meetings? If I change workplaces, when do I talk about it to a new boss? I look and walk just fine, so people usually don’t realize that there is something wrong with me. I’ve already been to the doctors, and there is not much they can do, so I need to soft skill engineer my workplaces.

  2. Hello! I love your show! I am an entry level engineer that had graduated college with a B.S. in Computer Science in May of last year. I was on my previous team for about six months doing mostly documentation and asked for more development work because I didn’t have a lot of experience in hardcore dev work in my past internships. My manager, some of my team members, and the lead systems engineer gave me high props that helped me get onto a new team.

    I’ve been on the new team for two months but I am having a hard time finishing my tasks. I try to do things on my own before I ask for help, but it seems that I’m always stuck or can’t get the code to work in a reasonable time. My team has a strict deadline at the end of March. I have multiple tickets in Jira assigned to me before then.

    When I ask for help, it seems like my team members just finish my tickets for me. I feel like a fraud and it really doesn’t seem like I am delivering. People had praised me for my work to get on this new team, I don’t have anything to show for that praise. How did I even graduate from college with a Computer Science degree? Do you have any advice on my situation?