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

A speech bubble

Why should you listen?

Here's what listeners say:

Recent Episodes

Latest Episode

Episode 322: Cover blown and no one cares


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Listener Olexander asks,

    I was a tech lead on some relatively known project since the beginning for more than a year. I made several trade-offs with technologies and wrong decisions. I participate in some generic Slack organisations and met several users of my product. I haven’t told them that I was connected to implementing the project but sometimes shared some insights on how the product is tested and asked opinions about some of features of the product in comparison to the competitors. Now there is a person who continuously critiques the product. Sometimes the criticism is valid but sometimes is’s just a rant. How can I influence that person without blowing my cover?

  2. Listener Kieran asks,

    Hi guys! Loving the podcast from down under. I’m working part time as a dev while I complete my software engineering degree. It’s been fun, but there are almost no processes in place for development and not many other devs seem to care about improvement.

    Although I am the most inexperienced here I feel some of the devs do not care about the quality of the work as I often have to refactor some of their code due to it being buggy, slow and undocumented (still using var in javascript).

    I’ve talked to management about improving our standards. However, they brushed me off saying yeah some of the developers are stubborn. They are not brushing me off because I lack technicality as Ive been given an end user app as a solo project. How should I go about encouraging the team to improve our processes?

A smiling speech bubble

Episode 321: Politely, no and participation at scale


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. How do you politely tell a reviewer politely, “Your suggestion is stupid. I will not do it” when you get stupid review comments. If you don’t do it then the pull request can’t move forward because of unresolved issues. If you do it, then you’re compromising your design you’ve worked weeks on for some fly-by random comment.

  2. A few months back, I volunteered as co-facilitator for my department’s NodeJS Guild meeting. At first, it was a struggle to get people to present. But I tried to lower the bar more and more until it was easy. I asked for 10-15m presentations, and eventually I realized people are happier “Kicking off a discussion” than they are “giving a presentation”. All the listeners are more engaged too, at least after the first 2 meetings doing this.

    Now I want people to share half-baked code, or problems they are struggling with, as part of our discussions. I want people to be able to be vulnerable. If we don’t collaborate on common problems until we feel they’re polished and won’t reflect badly on us, then we will all waste time solving the same problems.

    I also want this to scale across 15-25 small scrum teams. I think success could be my demise–if we have good discussions, then more people will come, but people won’t want to be as vulnerable with a larger group.

    In general, I think my own scrum team is very open and vulnerable to each other, but the remote work in the deparment has created distance. I want to help create more collaboration on similar problems and solutions.

    What would you do to keep this going, and improve it?

A smiling speech bubble

Episode 320: Hot and less hot and no privileges


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I seem to be very hot and cold about how I feel about my job. Some days I hate it and think about quitting, but other days, I feel it’s not that bad and can stick around a little longer. The reason for it seems to change depending on the day, but a lot of it seems to center around the people around me (i.e. developers who need me to Google for them, business people who don’t understand how to provide requirements), but sometimes I can’t tell whether it’s an attitude problem that will follow me anywhere or if it’s just time to leave. It’s a relatively small company, so I feel like I would be betraying my manager who has invested a lot in me if I decided to leave so suddenly. I’d like to give my manager a chance to address my concerns, but I’m afraid to sour our relationship if I come across as a complainer. I’m also not confident there’s any solutions to my current frustrations because it seems to be a company-wide issue. How do I make sense of all of what I’m feeling?

  2. I really like my company but their project management is atrocious, ad hoc, and “old school.” They’re not giving me privileges to configure Jira in ways that allow me to get stuff done.

    Is there an effective way to convince my CTO that I’m not going to screw up our secure systems or do I just need to find a new job?