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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Why should you listen?

Here's what listeners say:

Recent Episodes

Latest Episode

Episode 253: Not coding after 2 years and fake data scientists

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

Questions

  1. Thanks for the show, I absolutely love getting awkward glances from people when I LOL randomly in public places.

    I’ve been at my first job for 2 years, including an internship. The work I got to do as an intern was absolutely brilliant and I learned new things almost every day. Then I joined as a full-time employee, and things were good at first.

    For the past year, things have gone downhill.

    I barely get to write code and spend most of my time reviewing and writing documents in excel and word.

    I find this unsatisfying and can barely get the work assigned to me done due to lack of motivation and interest.

    However, I am fairly convinced that the compensation and other perks I get here, as well as the coworkers and management here are some of the best I could find.

    Should I follow the soft skills advice and quit, or should I stick around because of the other favourable conditions I mentioned? In other words, how should I decide between satisfying work vs the favourable conditions?

  2. Hi, I am a data scientist. I work on a team of about 30 other data scientists. It’s a new team and I have determined after talking to everyone for a few weeks, that about 1/3 of the team does not know Python, 2 even admitting to me privately they lied in the interview, and probably 50-60% have no idea what git is. I feel like they hired a bunch of excel, tableau, business-y people and assumed any experience with data qualified you to do data science. You may say “quit your job” but this is my first job out of college and I don’t think I could find another easily. Do I tell my manager about this? How do I teach them these things? I’ve already had to pick up a lot of slack on the team, luckily since I have no kids, no girlfriend, a ton of free time, and have been coding since middle school it’s been manageable, but I’m concerned about how to handle this going forward.

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Episode 252: Impossible documentation and unexcited coworkers

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

Questions

  1. How do I incentivize people to maintain documentation?

    Getting anything done at this large enterprise company is a massive challenge because documentation is constantly out of date and people only have half the information needed. So much time gets wasted because people have contradicting knowledge about the status of projects, systems, or requirements.

    Should I just quit my job or can this be fixed?

  2. Greetings! First off, great show - thanks for the countless episodes, most of which result in me getting weird looks as I chuckle to myself while running and listening. I have a passion for technology which lead me to a career in development. I am very often researching new languages and software that will help us do our jobs and/or lives better in my free time. I get excited about these things I find and want to share them with my co-workers but often get rebuffed by them, asking me why I spend my free time “working”. I know I can’t expect everyone to share my enthusiasm and passion for this stuff, but I am finding it discouraging being on a team where this curiosity is not celebrated/encouraged. I love the company I work for and don’t want to leave, but I find myself becoming more and more disconnected from my team because of this. Any suggestions on how I can share my passion with my co-workers is a way that is mutually beneficial to me and them? Thanks, keep up the great work!

Show notes

Gary Bernhardt’s WAT video from 2012: https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/talks/wat

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Episode 251: Working with real live developers and the royal we?

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

Questions

  1. I’m not a developer, and have never worked with developers. I have four years of systems/IT experience (ansible, bash, python, windows, etc). I got hired in a devops role at a company with many developers. How can I make sure I’ll have meaningful discussions (and a good learing experience) with software developers in my upcoming devops role at a new company? Will they notice that I don’t know what an enterprise communication bus is if just don’t ask but instead scribble something in my notebook?

  2. I just watched “How to crash an airplane” by Nickolas Means. It is about how the flight crew of an airplane crashed in 1989 yet saved 189 lives. The learning is that there are no heroes and teams can succeed only with inputs from all members in the team. All opinions need to be heard. And he also emphasizes that the captain used “we” in all his speeches.

    When it comes to interviews, the expectation is to talk about your personal experience. Using “we” during interviews would look like negative, right? Especially in leadership interviews, this is difficult since leaders are successful only with their team.

    Can you give us some strategies to balance this the best?