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 278: PM to engineer and pressure to stay after quitting


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. Many engineers want to go into product management, but I’m the reverse - a product manager who wants to move into engineering.

    What advice would you give to someone pursuing this path? How would you recommend I spend my time while jobfinding? What type of job should I be looking for?

    I have a computer science degree but I’ve worked as a PM for 10 years, so… it’s been a while. I’ve pursued various side projects over the years and have a basic working knowledge of lots of things (e.g. android, ios, react, python, computer vision, firebase/serverless functions, databases, algorithms/data structures) but not much depth in any area.

    I know one option is to convert at the company you’re already at. Take that off the table for a moment and say it has to be at a new company.

  2. I recently just quit my first tech job for higher pay at another company. Upon turning in my two weeks notice, my boss coxed me into agreeing to work as a contractor to finish a project I’ve been working on.

    His argument is that no one else on the team has been involved in my project, is familiar with the tech stack, and has any time to help anyway. I’m finding I don’t have time after the 40 hours I’m putting in at the new job but don’t quite know how to sever ties. I feel like I’m the bad guy. Family and friends all say that It’s not my problem and I should move on… being familiar with the project and company, I can’t help but feel differently.

    How can I sever ties and get over the feeling of being the bad guy, especially after kind of leading on my employer about contract work the last two weeks, or how can I convince family and friends that this is something I should do to avoid burning a professional bridge.

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Episode 277: Super long code reviews and replacement laptop


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. My company recently had a kerfuffle where some teams felt that reviewing a PR in less than 3 weeks was an unreasonable ask.

    As such, the company is trying to come up with guidelines for cross-team asks. The current proposal is for work of 1-2 hours they will commit to an SLA of 6 months. I feel this is a polite way of saying no to any request.

    Are there any ways we could come a more reasonable agreement on this?

  2. Hi, my laptop has died after upgrading to MacOS Monterrey and I’ve been given a 2017 Macbook with poor specs as a replacement due to no fault of my own.

    I’m at a startup of around 100 employees and I don’t think we’ve got a mature set up in terms of getting replacement machines.

    I’m a Senior Engineer and need a speedy laptop for my intense role. It’d be faster for me to use my personal MacBook than using the replacement, but I don’t think that would be allowed.

    How would you suggest I go about requesting a replacement MacBook with specs that fit my role? Do companies have budgets set aside for these expenses?


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Episode 276: Startup or big company and negotiating your exit?


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. Hi guys, I’ve been listening for a few months now and am dissatisfied with my current work, where I’ve been for a year. I come from a research background, and now doing an engineering job at a B2B SaaS company is leaving me wanting a change. Moving between teams is not an option, so I plan to move companies early next year. My problem is that I don’t know whether to look for another large or mid-size company (I’m finishing final rounds at Facebook and Palantir), or go to a startup where it is likely to be more interesting (I have an offer to be the lead engineer at a very small startup, where there are already 5 developers). I have one year of industry experience. If I go to the startup, will it negatively impact my career in the future if/when I want to move elsewhere? Would it be easier to move elsewhere, and get a better offer or a higher position, if I work at Facebook or Palantir instead of this startup? Also, while I prefer research, I’m not in the position to go back to grad school and finish my PhD (I finished my MS and left to work) for monetary reasons, so I need to move to another engineering position.

  2. I’ve often heard of senior employees “negotiating their exit” instead of resigning/quitting, with rumors of large negotiated payouts. I assume that’s just a select group of people who can, but I’ve never seen much written on that. What is the situation where you can do this? How do you set yourself up for being able to get a payout like this?