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 146: What to do with sick co-workers who come into the office and dealing with weird performance review feedback

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hi guys! I was faced with quite a dilemma recently.

    A few days ago one of my co-workers said he was sick and worked from home. But the next day he came to office, constantly sneezing and looking terrible, and for some reason finished the day in the office. The same happened the day after that. I didn’t want to be rude and I felt for this guy, but I didn’t want to get sick either cause I have some important tasks this week.

    What could have I done? I could not just tell him “go home you fool, you’re contagious!” I could say “Hey! I noticed you’re not feeling very well, why don’t you come to the manager and ask to work from home this week?” But I didn’t have the guts to do this. Besides, what if he couldn’t work from home for some reason?

    I solved this by lying to my manager that I’m ill too, and worked from home. What is the best solution here?

  2. Hi, I recently went through my company’s annual review process. The review went pretty much as expected, with things that I was doing well and things that I could improve on. However, I received some negative feedback which I disagreed with. I asked for additional detail and examples of this, but neither my manager, or his manager (our site lead) could give me any concrete examples.

    After some further discussion they agreed to remove the comment from my review, but I’m now left wondering why this feedback was added in the first place if there were no examples they could give me. Their explanation for this was that it was feedback for our team, am I wrong or is an annual performance review the wrong place for that kind of feedback?

    Should I be concerned that they actually do have feedback for me, but were unwilling to do so given my reaction? Is this enough of a red flag to maybe consider looking for a new job?

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Episode 145: What to do with a bad manager who is loved by upper management and should I include detecting major security vulnerabilities on my resume?

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. How do I deal with the manager on my team who is both not very technical and positions himself as the “boss” spending almost no time with the team (except dragging everyone into more and more meetings! 😡) .

    My manager upsets and demotivates the team but not upper management and is clearly trying to climb the career ladders as fast as possible.

    Obviously everyone wants the team to succeed but the friction is growing. Some team members already left with (maybe too subtle) hints at the problem.

    Should one stage a coup and take over? Silently manipulate people to go to into “the right” direction? Switch teams/jobs and see it burn from the sidelines 🍿?

  2. While testing my system at work, I was shocked how little security there was. Two issues exposed the entire system’s data by just changing the query string. Also every API call had no backend check on the user making the call. These are just two examples of many.

    This is at a gigantic multi billion dollar institution handling hundreds of thousands of people’s data, some of it incredibly sensitive. This fact will be known on my resume.

    This leads to my question: I am looking for a new job now, and wondering how much detail about these security issues is appropriate to share on a resume? I feel this helps me stand out as a newer dev, but would this be frowned upon by prospective employers that may worry I might overshare their own security issues?

    Thanks for all your help!

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Episode 144: Job hunting while employed and how to start my first technical lead role

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions along with special guest Jonathan Cutrell::

  1. I’ve been job hunting while employed (gasp), and I have a number of opportunities that have advanced to the in-person interview. Most of the requests I’ve seen have said that they’ll be 4-5 hours in the office (which seems fairly typical).

    The problem is that I don’t have unlimited vacation, and I feel dishonest taking so many days off. How can I navigate new opportunities without disrespecting them, or completely failing in my current responsibilities?

  2. Hey guys, great show (though I think, as with all shows, it could probably use more discussion of badgers [yes, I said badgers!]).

    I’m about to start a new job (I took the time-honored and hallowed show advice, though I’m leaving on great terms with my old job) and will be coming in as that fanciest of newly-invented titles in software, Staff Software Engineer. This is the only third time I’ve started a new job [not counting odd jobs in high school and college], and I’ve never stepped into a leadership role before when starting. What are the most helpful things you’ve done or seen other engineers do when joining a team in a technical leadership role?

    Thanks!

Follow Jonathan Cutrell on Twitter @jcutrell and subscribe to the Developer Tea podcast: https://spec.fm/podcasts/developer-tea.

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