It takes more than great code to be a great engineer.

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Soft Skills Engineering is a weekly advice podcast for software developers. We answer questions about all the stuff you didn't realize you needed to know about being an engineer:

  • navigating pay raises
  • hiring and interviewing
  • deciding to go into management
  • dealing with annoying co-workers
  • quitting your job
  • managing meeting creep
  • micromanagers
  • installing a ball pit in your office
  • and much much more...

For answers to these and other questions, our hosts Dave Smith and Jamison Dance are here to help.

Why should you listen?

Soft Skills Engineering listeners are awesome. Here's what they are saying about the podcast.

Hdennen says:

Facing a 9 hour drive, I grabbed a bunch of podcasts to listen to. I don't even know what the other ones are. Seriously, this podcast is full of massively helpful and relevant content from two people who are experienced, funny, and insightful.

Saad says:

I owe you a lot, listening to Soft Skills has completely shifted my thoughts on what it means to be an engineer. It’s probably one of the more useful things I’ve gained during my time at Amazon. I kind of brushed this stuff off, considering some of it politics, and the rest unimportant, but boy was I wrong. It definitely helped me grow, and I’m totally indebted to you for that.

Recent Episodes:

Episode 80: New Team Leads and Constant Follow Up

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. How do I keep up with new tech as a team lead?
  2. I manage a team. A manager from a different team wants me to run everything I do in my team by him. What do I do?

Jamison mentions this by Charity Majors on the pendulum between technical and people leadership.

Jamison also mentions this HBR article on employee happiness.

Episode 79: Story Point Misses and Measuring Productivity

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. It seems like my teams always miss their story point commitments. Is this normal? How do you change it?
  2. How do you actually measure developer productivity?

The article comparing research on productivity in static and dynamic type systems is here. It is a great read.

Jamison also mentions Goodhart’s Law. Read more about it here.

Episode 78: Endless Rewrites and Fake Deadlines

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. We’ve re-written the project I’m on 10 times without launching. What should I do?
  2. I worked hard to hit a deadline, only to find out the deadline was moved. How do I avoid this in the future?

We talked a bit about the value of deadlines way back in episode nine if you want to hear some positive things about deadlines.

Episode 77: Boss Wants Me To Speak and The 2% Raise

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. My boss wants me to speak at conferences, but I’m very new to software. What should I do?
  2. How do I get more than a 2% raise? That is the company average.

We talked about conferences a bit more way back in episode 6.

We also talked more about playing the salary game in episode 23, which is a technique for sharing salary information with your co-workers.

Episode 76: Writing Goals and Firing Jokes

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. My organization requires me to set goals for myself. What advice do you have for writing good technical and non-technical goals?
  2. My managers openly joke about firing people all the time. What should I do?

Episode 75: Self-Promotion For Wallflowers and Moving in a Year

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. What are some good ways for people who aren’t good at self-promotion to promote themselves?
  2. I’m moving to Europe in a year. How much notice should I give my company that I’m leaving?

Way back in episode 26 we talked a little bit about self-promotion as well.

Episode 74: Switching Languages Without A Pay Cut and A Missed Negotiation

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Jamison and Dave will be at the UtahJS Conference on September 18th. See conf.utahjs.com for more info and to buy tickets. Come say hi!

This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. Do I need to take a pay cut when switching languages?
  2. I was promoted at work but didn’t get a raise or a title change. What do I do?

Episode 73: A Rampant Rewriter and Overexplainers

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Jamison and Dave will be at the UtahJS Conference on September 18th. See conf.utahjs.com for more info and to buy tickets. Come say hi!

This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. A developer on my team has been rewriting my code under the guise of “code cleanup” without saying anything to me. Is this normal? What should I do?
  2. How do you deal with co-workers who over-explain unimportant issues?

Episode 72: The Micromanaging CEO and The Only Developer

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Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. My CEO is micromanaging the developers. What do I do?
  2. I’m about to take a job as the only developer at a company. How do I handle working without technical coworkers?

Episode 71: Informal Leadership and Dealing With Burnout

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Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. I’m sometimes an informal lead on project teams. How do I help the team get stuff done as a peer?
  2. How do I deal with burnout after an extended period of crunch time?

Jamison mentions the blog post by Jamis Buck called To Smile Again where he talks about his experiences with burnout.