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 experience 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 112: Disinterested Interviewing and Layoff Fallout

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Is it common for developers to take an interview without real interest in a job?

    Is it common for a company to reject a candidate because they think candidate is not interested in a job?

    Recently I had an interview and I was rejected even though I though it went really well. From internal channels in that company I learned that the interviewer thought I wasn’t really searching for a new job and was just doing interviews for fun or to improve my skills. That was really frustrating. And also, well, flattering. But still, I don’t understand what signals I may have given. I asked questions about the company, processes, etc. I prepared really well. And I asked for a salary that’s quite significant for our market.

    The only reason I see is that I always worked remotely and this is position in an office.

    By the way, LOVE your show!

  2. What happens when a wave of engineers leaves your company?

    I work for a startup that went through a brutal round of layoffs, before stabilizing. We’re building the engineering team back up, but the core team members that built our platform are gone.

    How do we approach maintaining things, adding new things, technology decisions, etc?

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Episode 111: Dogma Rehab and Getting a Co-worker Fired

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hello Jamison and Dave. 💕 your show! 👏

    I have been a C# dev for 7 years. Last year, I learn Erlang. I fell in love with functional programming. After that I learned Elm and oh boy… I had never dreamed a compiler/computer could do so much work for me, preventing so many mistakes that would otherwise require an unholy number of “unit tests”.

    The thing is I can no longer find satisfaction with any job. I love to write software, but at some point I became almost dogmatic. I abhor more and more the discipline it takes, in certain languages, to make my code be as pure and testable as in an FP language.

    I had to do so much un-learning, that now I feel that I am refusing to un-un-learn all these different ideas and paradigms and just go back to making the tests happy.

    I seek your humorous words of wisdom on how to find contentment with my job again, without looking at a language and dreading it.

  2. I have a co-worker, who is pretty incompetent technically. Over the past few years that I’ve been here, he has proved time and again that he is incapable of learning and really grasping how things work. He is able to accomplish basic feature work, but not capable of making good architecture decisions, or why a given framework should be chosen, or how to solve harder problems (I’m not sure how to describe this. But for example, how to build a resilient API client).

    However this person is great at creating slides, and presentations, and JIRAs, so I think management thinks they are ok at their job.

    He’s also a nice guy. I’m not sure how to say, hey you suck at your job. Which is pretty harsh. Or to suggest to someone that he should be replaced.

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Episode 110: Team Spirit and Half-hearted Recruiting

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. How do I help foster team spirit in a newly created team?
  2. I work for small startup (fewer than 10 people). My boss wants to hire another developer and asked me to look around for people.

    I don’t feel particularly strongly about this team. I’ve been there for about a year, but I don’t imagine myself working there for another twelve months.

    I don’t want to refer my friends because I don’t want them to join a team I don’t feel good about.

    On the other hand, I want to work with great people. I see how other devs may enjoy working in such an environment, but it’s just not for me.

    In the long run, I obviously want to leave this job, but what would you recommend doing in short term? Is hiring under such circumstances really that different than hiring if I liked this team?

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