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 272: Consistent or shiny


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. A few years ago my team chose a niche SPA framework (Aurelia) for the front-end of a large multi-year new product development.

    The team started a new product in the same family. I chose to continue using Aurelia. However, some of the developers on the team have suggested using React - newer framework, easier to hire/retain for, etc.

    I personally feel that focusing on solid foundational css/html/javascript skills is more important than the actual front-end framework used, but perhaps they have a good point when it comes to retention and hiring. What do you think?

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Episode 271: Too quiet and quitting too much?


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. Listener Lisa asks,

    Hi Dave and Jamison! How do you answer the statement “You’re very quiet. Like really quiet”? Me? I tend to give a small smile or recently, I said “I know.”

    I’m a software developer in a large defense company and I’m on my third and final year of my rotational program. I just rotated back to the same area as my first rotation, so I know a couple of folks. However, I’m not SUPER close to these people. My team is fairly new, but most of the members started at the same time, unlike me, who started just three weeks ago. I want to try to know people and get close to them, but at the same time I know my energy lowers after a couple interactions. I have always been known to be quiet, but I don’t want to be known as the odd developer out on my team. The team seems to already know and like each other. I still talk, but only when I have things to say. I tend to stick to doing actually work, while others walk around and talk to people. Especially in the environment I work in, I assumed that we should limit ourselves to mostly chargeable time because we would have to make up the time we spent talking about unrelated work topics. It also doesn’t help that most of my team sit around each other, while I’m in a separate area. I think it would just be awkward for me to stand over their area just to talk, then having to make up that time later on.

    Should I just accept that I’m mostly an introvert even though I want to belong/to be part of the team? I feel like I want to talk to everyone, but at the same time I sometimes can’t relate to what they’re talking about or I’m just not interested in some of their topics.

    Aside: I feel like there’s a lot of extroverted developers here and it’s different from what I’m used to.

  2. Hiya! I haven’t listened too all your episodes, but out of the ones I’ve heard, it seems like you both suggest quitting our jobs. How many jobs have you quit? My dad had told me a couple years ago (when I was looking for a job) is that if you quit too many times, potential employers would think that you aren’t committed or are only looking to get more money. Is this the case? Will companies think that if I quit multiple times?

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Episode 270 (rerun of 227): Junior expectations and manager flakiness


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. What should I expect from a junior develop, and how can I help them grow?

    A junior developer joined my team of 4 a few months ago. He has learned things at a reasonable speed but it is still hard for him to implement new features without any help or existing code to copy.

    In past jobs, I usually gave juniors simple, easy tasks, but we don’t have that simple tasks in my current job because we’re working on complicated internal systems.

    Also other junior developers spent lots of their private time learning. I don’t think this junior has spent any time learning in his private time.

    I don’t want to ask them to learn in their private time, but I just can’t help feel annoyed about the fact that he still cannot pick up a well-defined task in our backlog and complete it by himself. I think he really needs to take some time learning some basics like networking and some skills like keyboard shortcuts of text editors. I know there is lots to learn. However, sometimes I lose my patience when I have to repeat myself.

    In addition to lack of knowledge and skills, I feel that he always waits somebody to tell him what to do and explain everything to him. I tried to tell him the whole picture of the project before explain a specific task, but I couldn’t see any improvement.

    What could I do to help him (or make myself feel better)?

  2. I’ve worked with 3 managers in the past 2 years at my first company and all of them seem to have trouble producing results from team meetings and one on ones. More specifically, my managers have mentioned things/events/changes they would plan to do with the team or me and several weeks/months go by and the idea is never mentioned again. At times it felt like maybe it was me that was unable to produce the outcomes of said ideas or that maybe I was some sort of a lost cause. However, my most recent manager doubled the ratio of ideas:results, so I don’t think it’s just me. For my one on ones, we have a long running list of things we talk about and even the trail there doesn’t seem to amount to anything.

    How do I hold my manager accountable for things they say or plan to do? How do I bring up these conversation on one-on-ones without making it seem like I’m the one managing them?