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 experience 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

Recent Episodes

Latest Episode

Episode 156: How to move from web development into other software engineering roles and dealing with slow code review processes


This episode is sponsored by the O’Reilly Velocity conference. Register today and use discount code SKILLS for a 20% discount:

In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hey! I love your podcast, you have definitely helped me improve my soft skills in my career.

    I am a full stack web developer and I have been pretty much loving it. Web development was not my original career plan though, I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Computational Mathematics & Computer Science, and I knew I wanted to be a software dev since working with robotics in middle school. I kinda fell into Web Development from my IT work study job in college.

    I have been doing this for 4 years, and I am ready to transition over to applying for Software Engineering jobs. How do I get over this scary feeling of leaving my safety net? How can I encourage myself that I can make this new career transition? There will be jobs I see posted, and I just wanna go for it, but I always get scared at the thought of leaving since it’s just so intimidating, especially coding interviews and interacting with new people, new workplace, etc. What if I end up regretting my choice? Any advice is appreciated!

    Thanks guys! I always look forward to your episodes every week - I share your podcast with my fellow nerd friends!

  2. I work at a bureaucratic company where we move fairly slow. Recently, I’ve been getting more and more frustrated with our code review process, but I’m not sure if this has to do with my quality of code.

    It can take weeks for one of my pull requests to actually get merged. Someone will review my work, I will make some changes, then they will come back some days later with a new truckload of very nitpicky details that they want changed.

    This makes me long for the days of me working at a startup where we had no code review, and no testing process, and it’s making me sad. How do you draw the line over what is reasonable code review and what is too much?

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Episode 155: What do you think about employee monitoring software and how do I get un-demotivated after losing interest in software dev?


This episode is sponsored by the O’Reilly Velocity conference. Register today and use discount code SKILLS for a 20% discount:

In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hello! Thank you for the show!

    What do you think about employee monitoring software? I received a message from a company about a job position and they use such software. It seems weird for me to make screenshots on my computer and to see what software I’ve use and what websites I’ve open. How do you feel about it?

  2. I’m a software engineer with about 2 years of professional experience. When I started working, I was motivated to learn all the things. I consumed technical blogs and podcasts in my personal time and proactively identified and solved problems for the team.

    Things recently changed. I can’t bring myself to care about work anymore. Curiosity used to come naturally to me but I can no longer summon curiosity about anything related to software development. A few things lead to this. 1) I got a lower than expected rating on my performance review due to an issue with my soft skills. I thought the feedback was valuable but didn’t think such a rating was warranted, considering my overall contributions. 2) Our team has spent the past few months writing code that didn’t ship. 3) I took the Soft Skills Engineering advice and got a new job. In order to do that, I spent many mornings and weekends preparing for technical interviews. After accepting the offer, I felt totally burned out.

    I very much want to be back to my previous, curious self by the time I start my new job. Unfortunately, I can’t take a long break before the start date. How can I get to a place where I feel motivated again?

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Episode 154: Why am I terrible at picking candidates and how soon can I quit my job?


This episode is sponsored by the O’Reilly Velocity conference. Register today and use discount code SKILLS for a 20% discount:

In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I keep getting asked to interview new candidates. But my interview feedback history is pretty bad. I’ve said yes to hiring:

    • Someone who’s super smart, but drives me absolutely crazy with constant argument and may cause me to take the time-honored Soft Skills advice and quit my job.
    • My boss at my former company, who DID drive me to quit my job.
    • My first (and only) hire back when I was a people manager, who turned out to be terrible, but I was told I had to keep him around because “it would look bad” to fire my first hire.

    What should I do? Is it acceptable to just keep turning down interview requests? I’ve wandered into a tech lead position, so I suspect I can’t dodge them forever. But I don’t want to keep suggesting bad hires just for the sake of getting more interview practice.

    Thanks for all the advice and the laughs! I’ve been a regular listener for a couple years.

  2. How long do I need to wait before bailing on a new job I don’t like? More than a month? It’s not totally miserable: the people are nice and the company has good prospects. But the technical decisions of the team lead to daily frustrations for me.

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