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 365: Rerun of 307, side hustles and telling me when you are stuck


This is a rerun of episode 307. Enjoy!

In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I work for a big bank. I recently found out I am severely underpaid. I have only received “exceeds expectations” ratings since joining over 5 years ago. I rage-interviewed at a bunch of FAANG companies, made it to the final rounds of all, but always came up short on the offer.

    Expectations at my current job are low. I’ve been putting all my extra energy and time into my own startup idea with a group of small people, that shows a lot of promise.

    I so desperately want to leave my current job, but I can’t prep for interviews and work on my startup at the same time. I never interviewed since joining the bank over 5 years ago.

    I truly believe my startup can ultimately be my escape, but I’m just grappling with the fact that it may take years before I can quit vs. if I got a new job I’d have much better pay and not be depressed at my 9-5.

    P.S. are you hiring?

  2. I’ve recently been placed as tech lead for a small group of 3 people, myself included. One of my teammates seems to be having a hard time communicating in a timely manner when they are stuck on something or when their task will be late. I’ve spoken to that person a few times individually on the importance of communicating early and often, but it seems like that person is happy to just muddle on until the time runs out.

    I’ve had to jump on to finish some work that was time sensitive and I’ve gone to greater lengths to slack dm on how things are going. It’s getting old. I don’t want to be micro managing. Each time I bring it up with them, it seems to get through but never manifests in action. I’m not sure if this person realizes the impact that lack of communication has especially in a remote first setting. A sense of urgency might be helpful in some respects.

    At one of our 1on1 dm chats the topic of imposter syndrome came up and we shared our mutual struggles with it. I’ve tried to encourage that person that my dm’s are open and can help but I can’t keep checking in. There should be some ownership on their end to getting help from me. How do I get this person to communicate more, share blockers or confusion so we can finish our work on time and learn on the way?

    Love your show, long time listener, first time caller.

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Episode 364: EMs doing technical tasks and too soft?


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Do you think an EM should only be involved with management tasks, and let the members handle the technical stuff, or should they have some technical expertise to manage things like architecture reviews or handle urgent incidents?

  2. Hello! Love the show, thank you both for all the knowledge. I discovered this podcast when I was struggling as a newbie who was learning on the job at a tech firm two years ago. By applying your advice for fellow listeners to my own situations, I now find myself a well-regarded senior frontend engineer in fintech. I’ve noticed that a big reason for this is my communication, organizational, and soft skills (English major and former operations manager). What really sets me apart is my effective and friendly collaboration with junior devs, tech leads, and product managers alike. As I work towards becoming a principal engineer, should I lean into extending and displaying these aforementioned skills, or are they actually “time sucks” since they are more fitting of a managerial track?

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Episode 363: Future impact of tech stacks and async communication


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Listener Thor asks,

    Is there a chance the tech stack I choose throughout my career will hurt my chances to shift direction towards project leading/managing in the future? Say, I do mostly frontend, will this affect the way people see my broader understanding of projects etc. compared to people in roles such as architect?

  2. Listener Travis asks,

    My company is starting to expand across time zones. The majority of the company is based in one time zone and a handful of employees are spread across others. I want to emphasize the importance of asynchronous communication. I have begun to feel like I need to respond ASAP to Slack messages instead of when it is convenient.

    If we were to say Slack is used for asynchronous communication, is asking the team to use Signal or even text appropriate for a quicker response?

    What is a good way to handle reaching out to team members in cases where a response is needed more immediately?

Show Notes