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 275: Take-home tests and doing my own recruiting


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. I’m a developer responsible for hiring other developers for my company. I’m comfortable interviewing and I feel like I can get a good grasp on whether the interviewee is technically competent.

    My boss wants us to give a take-home technical test to people after the first interview if we’re happy with how they interviewed and want to proceed further.

    The current technical test is time-boxed and is designed to represent the work they would do at our company. I worry that we ask for too many requirements within the current time constraint of 2 hours, but asking for more time will put people off completely.

    What can we do to make sure the technical test is fair and a good experience for candidates?

  2. Hello Dave and Jamison,

    I am a team lead at a rapidly expanding company. We have been trying to fill open head counts (>4) for over a year now, and our team is also handed some very important and promising projects, and because of that, even more open reqs for our team. Recently in our 1:1, I was pressing my manager to fill the openings ASAP but he told me our company recruiters are so busy that our team don’t have any dedicated recruiters, and my manager have been sourcing candidates himself for almost a year now.

    I was surprised by that and offered to help. I had read some materials from the recruiting team, got the tools set up and ready to cold email people I found on LinkedIn. My question is, how do I approach them in an authentic manner? I am proud of my company and our products, but how do I reach out to them without letting them know my primary motivation is get more team members to do the work so I can get more sleep? On the other side of the table, I feel those recruiting emails are cold and a waste of my time. So looking at the funnel I built, I don’t know if I can bring myself to start spamming others’ inbox.

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Episode 274: Announcing resignation too early and why are my ideas rejected?


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. I’m a technical lead and I’m planning to take the usual advice and quit my job. The catch is, I have a not-yet-vested interest in staying until the new year. My manager mentioned in passing that he’s doing resource planning for my team for next year. Should I indicate that I’ll be looking for work in the new year?

    I feel like I have a guarded relationship with my manager, so I don’t feel like it’s a safe space to say just anything. But I know it would be helpful for him to know that I’m leaving.

  2. I work at a consulting company and I’ve been outsourced to one of the biggest banks to work on their iOS application. My problem is every time I propose a solution, it bounces back and is never accepted. In my opinion our way of doing things is wrong and I lost motivation and enthusiasm to work on the project. I shared my concerns and thoughts and always got the pat on my back but never found a solution. In these kind of situations, how do you motivate yourself to keep going? Should I look at it as improving my people management skills or should I quit? Thank you both of you. I don’t feel alone when I listen your podcast and I’m simply thankful your existence.

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Episode 273: Influencing people and getting a raise in a flat org


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. Listener Anonomomonous asks,

    How do you influence people and change minds?

    I work on a team where things often happen by inertia. I have a lot of ideas about how to improve our process, scope our work better, collaborate more effectively etc. I’m comfortable with sharing my concerns and suggestions with my manager and the rest of the team but the opinion of any single developer is usually politely noted and ignored.

    As an individual contributor, what’s the best way to influence the rest of your team and your manager without being the overly critical toxic person who tries to shut down every idea?

  2. For those who work in a “flat” hierarchy structure, is it unreasonable to ask for a 30~35% pay raise? Normally that would sound like an absurd ask. However, given the fact that everyone is considered an “engineer”, the higher compensation that comes with a promotion isn’t available any other way than explicitly asking for it (as far as I know).

    Not looking to jab an employer for more money, especially since I like my current one, but since what I’m doing on a daily basis sounds an awful lot like the senior engineer positions I hear about, I naturally would like my pay to reflect what I do.

    What do you suggest?