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 348: Making too many mistakes and low code career risk


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hey Dave and Jamison, long time listener of the show. looking to get your advice on dealing with guilt at work. Lately, I’ve found myself in a lot of situations of having to deal with bugs/incompleteness after pushing out a feature. It’s not my intention to be careless and I do feel like I’m giving it my 100% but there seems to keep being thing after thing that I’m not catching. It’s impossible to sweep these things under the rug when you have to put up a follow-up pull request to fix something that was clearly your fault. I feel like every once in a while is okay but when it starts to become a pattern, I wonder how this may reflect on my performance review. My coworkers aren’t letting on about any frustrations they may have but every time this happens, I can’t help but feel shameful of myself and it’s causing my anxiety to hit the roof. I’m waking up for work each morning wondering what’s it gonna be this time and feeling pits in my stomach.

    Please help.

  2. What are your thoughts on low-code platforms? I feel they will end up like WordPress (small companies with the tools in a varying degree of spaghetti that pay a contractor to clean up)

    I found myself on a team that wants to use it, and I feel like it’s a detriment to my career. I feel like another employer won’t take me seriously in an interview as I try to explain my way around it.

    Is this something I should be concerned about being in too long? I’ve voiced my concerns, but it doesn’t seem like direction is changing. What would you do? How do you feel about low-code in general?

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Episode 347: New untrusting manager and crappy project management


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Our small team where I work as a senior software engineer has a new engineering manager. They don’t trust me at all and verify simple technical things like how git rebase works, in the middle of meeting calls. I feel micro managed. Calling me on slack (slack huddle) without prior notice breaks me out of my flow. Recently they called an “Architecture meeting” and ended up talking about 2 spaces vs 4 spaces and other trivial stuff. I just felt like the facepalm emoji for the entire time of the call.

    They are technically good, but lack depth. For some reason they think know better than everyone else in the team. Unfortunately, they are my boss. How do I politely tell them, in a professional way, that they have to back down and trust the team? Any help would be highly appreciated. Thanks a lot.

  2. Federico asks,

    Hi! I’m a junior engineer. Our project managers are really crappy. I keep getting wrongly managed and “exploding” projects, where in the last days everything goes wrong with the client. Should I take a project management course so I can organize better my projects and discuss with project managers how to prevent this? I don’t know how to make them work like they should.

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Episode 346: Changing jobs with no raise and wrangling a cowboy coder


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I recently applied for a job for a great company. The interview went well until we talked compensation. I said I expected to get a pay raise for changing jobs, but it seems that they can only offer me as much as I already have. I have never negotiated salary before. With my current job (which was my first) I happily accepted what they offered and we have had regular bumps without negotiations.

    Although I am really interested in the job, I feel like it is a defeat not to get a pay raise when I’m changing jobs for the first time in my career. The benefits are also not as good.

    Do you have any advice? Should I lower my expectations for a non-consulting position and switch despite not getting a raise? Should I negotiate harder? Wait for something better?

  2. Hi Dave & Jamison,

    we recently started a new project with a new team of devs that never worked together before. The team consists of two experienced backend devs, two junior backend devs and a couple of frontend devs. One of the junior backend devs has a mindset of just jumping into tasks, doing things without any previous analysis, just writing code for the first thing that comes into his mind. I like him being proactive, but this is causing big trouble: bugs, technical debt and often absolutely useless code. We had several discussions in the team pointing out some of the problems, but he is not interesested in changing his behaviour. During the last discussion he didn’t react to any of our arguments, just insisted on doing things his way. After that discussion we realized he even made some commits on an issue that has not been in the sprint nor has been refined yet _while we were talking to him_.

    Our team has no dedicated lead nor a scrum master and we work remote only. The next organization level is our CEO. I love the company, i love the team, i love the project, i even like this dev on a personal level. If we talk to the CEO i suspect it might have a bad ending for the junior dev since he is still in probation period. I know that we must talk to our CEO if things do not change.

    Do you have any advice? How can we reach him?

    Thank you for your great show!