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 216: One-on-ones and inter-team power struggles


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. I have a weekly one-on-one with my manager. What should I talk about in them? Things like feedback and career goals become old and repetitive real soon, and I end up discussing current work items. I understand that a one-on-one is my time to ask questions and don’t want it to be a longer daily-standup.

  2. My front-end team mates are in a power struggle with my back-end team mates and my design team mates. They’re intentionally making technical decisions that artificially constrain the choices of other teams.

    For example, design wants a certain interaction for a new feature, and my team says “nope, it can’t work that way, cause the components we built don’t allow that”. Or, they make tickets for the back-end team as in “endpoints have to work this or that way, because our components assume that structure”. This often seems detrimental and confusing to other teams.

    When I push back against my team they are angry. When I defend my team other people are angry. When I try to strike a compromise I feel gross because I usually think my team is wrong. I’ve tried talking with other teams and managers about the problem. I feel gross about that too because I don’t want to point fingers or throw my team mates under the bus. Where should I even start?

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Episode 215: Many jobs in one and junior git stickler


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. Listener Ryan asks,

    I am the only full-time software engineer at a relatively small company. There is also a contractor who has been with the company off and on for about 25 years.

    How do I manage playing multiple roles when the development team is so small? I take the role of software engineer, team lead, software architect, product owner, project manager, designer, QA, etc. Some of those roles are full time jobs. How do I still make progress on development (i.e. coding)?

  2. Hey guys, love the show. My question is this.

    I work in a small startup. About a year ago our team documented what our git workflow would look like. We agreed on things like rebasing instead of merging to master, and never squashing our commits into one, that sort of thing.

    One of our developers is now making a fuss about following these rules and constantly does their own thing. After speaking to them about it, they shut me down and said it is up to the individual developer to decide how they use these tools.

    There have been some heated discussion on merge requests with this person telling our senior devs that they don’t want to hear their opinions.

    This person started at the company 6 months before me, and I am only a junior engineer myself so I’m not sure if there is really anything I can do. I have been at the company for 2 years now.

    I have offered to help them learn how to use git the way our team agreed but was told “no thanks, I’ll do it my way”.

    What is the best way to navigate this situation? Is this something I should escalate to my manager, or should I just get over it?

    Thanks for the help, can’t wait to hear you rip this one apart :P

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Episode 214: Jumping ship and saying "I can't"


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. We have just today been told that we may or may not have a job in 1 week. I feel lucky because I handed my notice in yesterday for a new job, but my colleagues are not in such a position. The company burned through all it’s money, and its only hope is that someone or some company who wants to buy the business in its current state.

    How would you approach a situation like this? Is it best to just jump ship right away? What would potential new employers think when you told them the situation? What about my co-workers?

  2. Long time listener, first time caller asker.

    How do I tell my boss I can’t complete a task?

    I’ve been with my current company for 6 months. In that time I’ve fixed a lot of problems that have blocked our current embedded system project because of my hardware design background. Sometimes I take a bit longer than projected, but I’ve been upfront about that and it’s all fine.

    I was trying to implement a new feature and it was meant to take around 3 days of work to do, but after 3 weeks I just couldn’t quite get it to work. I asked for help and pulled out every trick in my arsenal and just couldn’t figure it out. I ended up having to tell my boss that I was out of ideas and letting him tell me to shelve it, but I could tell this disappointed him.

    What should I do next time?

Show Notes