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 210: Study time and caring less


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. My question is regarding studying and learning new material. Before I got my job as a web developer, I was studying at least 2 hours per night, but now that I have the job (been in the job for 2 years), I want to come home and relax. How much time do you spend reading about new technology or working on new projects? Do you do it while at work or at home at your own time? I plan on getting a new job in the future and I feel I need to start studying again. I need to refresh my skills on different algorithm questions. My GitHub is empty because I haven’t worked on new projects since I got the job. Should I worry about that? How much studying should I do for future interviews? Do I need to listen to hard skill engineering podcasts to be up to date on new technology? If I’m not doing any of these already, does that mean I’m not passionate enough and I won’t do well in this career?

  2. I just had a 1:1 with a junior engineer I’m mentoring. He mentioned that he has difficulty compartmentalizing work from his personal life (for example, even when he’s not working, he can’t stop thinking about his code and edge cases and possible bugs missed). Got any life hacks to help him care less?

A smiling speech bubble

Episode 209: Glue and Covid ghost job


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Is a “glue person” valuable on a software team? Someone who isn’t the strongest developer but is liked by teammates and builds a cohesive team dynamic.

  2. A while ago I interviewed with a big company. Right after completing a code challenge, covid-19 got out of hand in my country and they sent me an email saying they are putting the process on hold.

    Weeks have passed and I came across a job opportunity posted recently by the company for the position I was applying to. I felt betrayed. I emailed the recruiter asking for follow-up and she said that they are sorry about the situation and that they wanted to schedule a meeting.

    The question is, should I let them know I was displeased by this or is this really a non-issue? Do I risk my chances by doing so? Am I acting like a jealous teenager? Thanks a lot and love the podcast, stay safe!!

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Episode 208: Toe-stepper-on-er and high leverage work


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hi Dave and Jamison, my name is Bob Marley. I am a senior software engineer at a tech company. How do I deal with a chronic toe-stepper-onner?

    I have a coworker named Jimi Hendrix - also a senior software engineer - who has a habit of getting involved in and trying to manage my projects. He joins meetings and slack channels, uninvited, and starts asking people for status updates and questions them why things are done a certain way (and not the other), what’s taking so long on unfinished tasks, etc. Jimi basically feels that my projects are his to oversee and manage.

    So far, my response has only been passive aggressive - e.g. taking discussions to a different slack channel or thread, or meeting the team members offline when he is not around. This is obviously not working out and it is not sustainable so I’m looking for some advice on how to deal with it.

    It’s not hindering the project so I don’t have a strong reason to complain. Other than the fact that it drives me nuts when Jimi gets involved and asks for a status update on a project which I have fully under control.

    Should I just do nothing and wait for the problem to go away due to him getting moved to a different project? But how do I keep my sanity until then? And what if even then he finds a way to step on my toes? Have you guys experienced this kind of situation? Is there a permanent solution to it? And no, I don’t want to quit my job. Please help!

    Yours truly, Bob Marley

  2. Hi Dave and Jamison. Love the show. I have been gathering informal peer feedback from my team. I was told I am doing well, and I should be doing “more high leverage work”. I interpret that as coming up with design patterns, best practices, and mentoring other developers. I mentioned that to my manager, and while he agrees, he also said there is no additional head count for the coming year, and knowing that there is a backlog full of features, my concern is that I will be the primary person tasked with writing those features. How could I negotiate/convince my manager to let me do more tech lead work instead?