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 111: Dogma Rehab and Getting a Co-worker Fired

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hello Jamison and Dave. 💕 your show! 👏

    I have been a C# dev for 7 years. Last year, I learn Erlang. I fell in love with functional programming. After that I learned Elm and oh boy… I had never dreamed a compiler/computer could do so much work for me, preventing so many mistakes that would otherwise require an unholy number of “unit tests”.

    The thing is I can no longer find satisfaction with any job. I love to write software, but at some point I became almost dogmatic. I abhor more and more the discipline it takes, in certain languages, to make my code be as pure and testable as in an FP language.

    I had to do so much un-learning, that now I feel that I am refusing to un-un-learn all these different ideas and paradigms and just go back to making the tests happy.

    I seek your humorous words of wisdom on how to find contentment with my job again, without looking at a language and dreading it.

  2. I have a co-worker, who is pretty incompetent technically. Over the past few years that I’ve been here, he has proved time and again that he is incapable of learning and really grasping how things work. He is able to accomplish basic feature work, but not capable of making good architecture decisions, or why a given framework should be chosen, or how to solve harder problems (I’m not sure how to describe this. But for example, how to build a resilient API client).

    However this person is great at creating slides, and presentations, and JIRAs, so I think management thinks they are ok at their job.

    He’s also a nice guy. I’m not sure how to say, hey you suck at your job. Which is pretty harsh. Or to suggest to someone that he should be replaced.

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Episode 110: Team Spirit and Half-hearted Recruiting

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. How do I help foster team spirit in a newly created team?
  2. I work for small startup (fewer than 10 people). My boss wants to hire another developer and asked me to look around for people.

    I don’t feel particularly strongly about this team. I’ve been there for about a year, but I don’t imagine myself working there for another twelve months.

    I don’t want to refer my friends because I don’t want them to join a team I don’t feel good about.

    On the other hand, I want to work with great people. I see how other devs may enjoy working in such an environment, but it’s just not for me.

    In the long run, I obviously want to leave this job, but what would you recommend doing in short term? Is hiring under such circumstances really that different than hiring if I liked this team?

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Episode 109: Critical Junior Dev and Introducing New Tools

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I run a small dev team. One junior developer constantly openly challenges things that don’t meet this their preference. As a manager I don’t want to stifle innovation, but need to find a balance on being able to meet business goals on schedule.
  2. I want to add an automatic formatting tool to our code, but my co-worker is resistant to the idea. He started this project and I’m brand new to it. I don’t want to push it too much, but I would really love to use it. I’ve shared with him all the reasons that it would be good, and addressed most of his concerns. I’ve also submitted a PR to show him what it would look like. Also, he is in another timezone 9 hours away, so communication is all on GitHub, Slack, and the occasional video call (if I wake up early). He finally said if it really helps me, then I can go for it, but I don’t think he would like it if I did. Should I go for it? Try to convince him more? Or just drop it?