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

Recent Episodes

Latest Episode

Episode 143: Dealing with meeting interrupters and setting work limits

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I have noticed one of my coworkers, a fellow senior software engineer, often interrupts people during their meetings with his comments and thoughts.

    While I’m not against voicing opinions during a meeting, he does it so often that he takes over meetings. Some of his points are off-topic. He’ll cut off the presenter or another colleague (who displayed good etiquette) mid-sentence, not letting them finish their thought and derailing the flow of the meeting.

    In our last meeting I tried to quickly respond to his interjections rather than let him finish so we can keep the meeting moving. I thought he would take the hint to think a little more before interrupting. Ineffective so far. I think next time I will recommend that all questions and concerns be held to the end so we can get through all the meaningful content before letting him speak. Any other suggestions on how to deal with people like this?

  2. Hi guys! I have a question about setting limits to your work. I hear that its a common practice among developers to set restrictions to their work like turning off slack notifications when at home, not staying late at work, etc. This seems like a healthy approach, and I like it.

    But I can’t bring myself to do it.

    I’m a successful developer, I love my job, and I love the work communication in our chat. I have no problems struggling through the workday, but I have problems not falling into work in my free time.

    I have a lot of friends, a lot of hobbies, I’m definitely not bored outside of work. But still I always have this inner desire to open and read the workchat when I have a free minute, or finish an interesting feature in the evening instead of reading an interesting book.

    I can’t say it makes me unhappy in some way or affects my private life - I still will go and see a friend if I’m invited and still will attend my yoga class on a normal schedule - but this ““desire”” distracts me sometimes and that’s not normal either. Am I right?

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Episode 142: Can I get hired above my level even though I look inexperienced on paper and should I be brutally honest in peer performance reviews

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. On Episode 66 you attempted to answer my question: ‘How bad can a Junior Front End Developer be?’ Well, I’m now 4 months into my new job as a Junior Front End Developer and it turns out, they can be pretty bad!

    I’m in this junior role I feel overqualified for. My peers rate me as a solid mid-level, and I’ve started to realize that I’m not really a “junior”. I think this can all be attributed to learning from really good devs at my last company. My best friend is a Senior JS Contractor (legend) and I talk to him about code and best practices everyday.

    Question: Would you ever hire someone at a mid-level role even if they only had 6 months of profressional experience? i.e. how much weight do you put on the CV?

    I love you guys, listened to every podcast!

  2. Thank you so much for the show, I’ve been binge listening to old episodes ever since a friend of mine suggested it. Your excellent, and often comedic, advice has been getting me through the work day and I really appreciate it! Onward to the question!

    One of the members on my team, who is more senior than me, often does poor work, and the rest of the team picks up the slack to redo the work, pushing out deadlines we would have otherwise met. I know better than to vent about this at work even though it is very frustrating, however now I’m in a bit of a predicament. Part of our annual review process requires us to provide feedback on each of the members of our team which is not anonymous. The feedback is used to make decisions about raises and promotions. This individual has mentioned that they expect a promotion to a team lead position in this upcoming review cycle, which makes me quite nervous. Should I be honest in my review and mention my concerns or should I take the much more comfortable route that will also protect relationships on my team of pretending everything is fine.

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Episode 141: A Rampant Rewriter and Dealing with an Overexplainer (rerun of episode 73)

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This is a re-broadcast of episode 73 from August 2017. We’ll be back next week with a new episode!

In this episode, Dave and Jamison 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?
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