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 199: Offshore team influence and time zone fun


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I work at a large public company. Two years ago, they hired a new CEO who immediately started a development center in a different country. Much of the knowledge transfer is complete and this new team outnumbers us by 3 to 1. It feels that we have lost much of our influence. They turn out decent work and cost less than 1/10th to employ. I am ramping up a job search but in the mean time what steps can we take to keep influence and control? Also, is this the future for the industry in the US?

  2. Hi Jamison and Dave. Your voices have been bringing sanity into my head for the last 2 years. I’d like to get your thoughts about something that’s driving me a little crazy. I work for a company based in Europe, and work in the Asian office. The Asian office, and only the Asian office, has a fixed time schedule. To overlap with Europe, the Asian team has to be at the office from 2PM to 11PM. However, the European team comes in at 10AM and leaves at 7PM. When our team mates in Europe decide to do overtime, we have to stay later to work with them, often very late in the night but I tolerate it because I love software development. However, whenever we have company “fun” events, the Asian managers schedule it in the morning so that our regular work schedule won’t be consumed. So we’ll do badminton or wall-climbing from 9AM to 12 and then have to do the 2PM to 11PM shift. This is very tiring. The events usually happen every two weeks, but our schedule makes me dread them. It’s even worse if the “fun” events happen on the same day as the overtime. At the end of work, I feel like a zombie! Is this reasonable?

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Episode 198: Stinky manager and VP overhaul


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. My manager smells really bad! Sometimes so bad that I can’t bear to be in his proximity. I am not sure if it’s his breath, or body odour (probably both), but the smell is very foul on a daily basis. He has been with us for quite a few months now, but I am not sure if anybody has mentioned it to him, because the situation hasn’t gotten any better. I’ve also retrained from speaking about it with anyone else. He’s a good guy, and a very hard worker. I want to build a better relationship with him, but his smell is literally getting in the way. How can I help this situation? I can never tell him outright, but he’s the worst smelling person I’ve ever met, and have to work with. But I do want to work with him. Help.

  2. Hey friends, thanks for such an engaging and helpful show, it makes me happy to see every new episode pop up in my feed.

    My question relates to the politics and drama of a restructure and whether I should follow the time honoured tradition of ‘quit your job’ or stick this out.

    Six months ago our new VP of Engineering was hired to work remotely in a city across the country and decided that the first order of business was to restructure our three Engineering teams into one mega team with new management and a matrix structrure. This meant 15 Principals, Senior Engineers and Product Managers decided it was ‘time to move on to a new challenge’ and are now being replaced by the VPs ex-colleagues in the city across the country. All our processes are being thrown away to do things ‘their way’, new Jira boards, new Confluence pages, new file locations, new AWS accounts, new hiring processes, new everything. The new folks are getting the pick of the exciting and high profile projects while those of us who have been around for up to ten years and hold the institutional knowledge are left monitoring and maintaining the fragile work that could really do with some help from the Principals and Seniors.

    Is this all part of a standard restructure after six months? Should I carry on trying to put on a smile and fall in line or run away as fast as I can?

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Episode 197: Rambling co-worker and awkward resume leak


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Help! I have a co-worker who can’t get to the point. They keep rambling, throwing in useless jargon, with veiled bragging of their knowledge and accomplishments, and answering questions that weren’t asked; and all in a very monotone voice. My brain starts to zone out now every time they start in to “explain” something.

    They also somehow survived at the company for 8+ years and have recently become a team lead. Our paths don’t cross every day because we work on separate products, but I am interested in their team’s product and might want to join them in a year or so.

    What do I do?

  2. Listener Zezima asks,

    Hi! I’ve been at my current job for about a year and a half now. My boss says we should be getting more money and investors and will soon give everyone a raise. I’ve seen many people being hired and others given a raise but have not yet received one myself. I recently started applying to other jobs. I don’t want to leave but want to learn my market value and get a slight increase. I was demoing some work in a meeting, and sharing my screen to do so. As I went to upload an image…. my RESUME file is open. resume,coverletter,resumeadobe,resumeTesla. I mashed the cancel button and bounced in to panic mode but continued like nothing happened. I hear some typing shortly after closing. Did they see it? Are they talking about me…? Do they know I dont want to leave but just want some sort of compensation? These questions are going through my brain and I have no clue what to do. Should I call up the people in the demo and have a heart to heart?