195 episódios

It takes more than great code to be a great engineer. Soft Skills Engineering is a weekly advice podcast for software developers about the non-technical stuff that goes into being a great software developer.

Soft Skills Engineering Jamison Dance and Dave Smith

    • Tecnologia

It takes more than great code to be a great engineer. Soft Skills Engineering is a weekly advice podcast for software developers about the non-technical stuff that goes into being a great software developer.

    Episode 194: Leveling up through speaking and negativity

    Episode 194: Leveling up through speaking and negativity

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:




    Hey friends, thanks for such an entertaining show, I look forward to it every week.


    My question relates to ‘leveling up’ as a developer. I’ve been getting nice feedback for my work on projects and the blog post updates I’ve been writing along the way. This has been noticed by colleagues, managers and the local meetup organising committees in my city. I have now been asked to speak at a number of events internally and in the community. While I am very flattered they enjoy my writing I am not interested in hitting the local ‘speaking circuit’ and would prefer to focus on building, writing and mentoring without getting up on stage.


    Is it ‘ok’ to say no to speaking when it simply does not spin my wheels or is this a mandatory ‘thing’ I must get on board with to progress my career?



    I am a tech lead on a team where, for the most part, people are friendly, optimistic and professional. There is one engineer who is mostly upbeat and has shown real potential but in certain contexts, e,g, retros and the odd technical conversation becomes a crippling black hole of negativity. The person in question is quite young, relative to the rest of the team, has only ever worked at our company, they are well compensated and have great opportunities to work on exciting green field projects, every developers dream right?


    What could I be missing? I don’t want to lose this person but I can’t help but feel that they need to grow in maturity and somehow, despite pointed feedback, that’s not happening here.


    What do you think I should do to stop the chronic pessimism, which I’m afraid if not rectified soon will lead to more victims?

    • 27 min
    Episode 193: Playing the field and paying for speaking

    Episode 193: Playing the field and paying for speaking

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:




    I’ve been recently looking for summer internships and I have had a couple of video interviews. I don’t consider myself an interview rookie since I’ve had my fair share but there is one question I can’t understand whether to answer honestly or not so here it goes: “Are you applying to other job opportunities?”. The question is kind of stupid since no one puts all of its eggs in one basket but on the other hand I’m afraid answering ‘yes’ will make it seem as if I don’t care about the company (spoiler alert: I don’t really care :)). How do I answer honestly to this question and at the same time make them feel like they are special? By the way, love the podcast!



    Hi guys! I just started listening to your show and I already have experienced a steep improvement from a puny 10x dev to 11x one.
    My question, if you’ll be kind enough to answer is:
    How do I convince my cheapskate boss to sponsor me flying across the pond to give a talk at a conference I was selected for. Should I sponsor it myself in case of a decline? Should I hint at a possible job quitting if I am declined (I am currently seeking a new job)? Should I go forward with the talk if I do quit and the content of the talk is largely about the job I did there in the last couple of years.


    Note, I am widely regarded as an excellent employee by my superiors and colleagues. I earn quite a bit less than my current value and I am currently back, looking for a job.


    That’s it from me, love you guys!

    • 25 min
    Episode 192: Giving feedback and messaging a team change

    Episode 192: Giving feedback and messaging a team change

    Hey, want to use Dropbox as your app’s production database? Well, check here.


    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:




    Hello Dave & Jamison, first of all thank you for the show! I recently moved to a tech lead position and as such I will be asked by many people to provide feedbacks for performance reviews and promotions. Do you have any tip on how to provide good feedbacks, especially in the cases where you don’t constantly work with the interested people?



    Hello, guys! Thank you so much for the amazing content produced. I really enjoy the show. Thanks for the laughs and the knowledge.”


    I am a backend software developer working on a multidisciplinary team. There’s this other developer that really gets on my nerves. To maintain my sanity I am asking to change teams, and people keep asking me why I want to change. Should I tell my manager the real reason or is it better to say that I want new challenges? Maybe my manager can solve the problem and no one else leaves the team (I am not the first one to leave for this reason)

    • 34 min
    Episode 191: Overshadowed and demos and credit

    Episode 191: Overshadowed and demos and credit

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:




    I’m an introverted person but am not afraid to present my work and have strong 1-1s. For the past few months, I’ve been working on a project with a coworker who is very extroverted and expressive compared to me. During meetings with higher ups to present our work and progress, he overpowers me in conversation unwittingly. Most of the time, I feel he does a good job but other times I notice that he makes claims without gathering all the data. I’m much more deliberate and will let people know if I’m uncertain about something; But he is willing to just say something outright then later apologize if he was incorrect. I want to make sure that in meetings, I don’t come across as weak. I’m pretty confident in my technical ability and am polite at work, but don’t think I come across as very approachable due to my lack of expressiveness. Is this something I should work on?



    Hey Jamison and Dave! I absolutely love your show and have listened to every episode. You guys keep me company on those commutes to work and keep me sane.
    Every quarter, we have an organization-wide demo. Usually, it’s one person demoing the feature - usually the person who has been working on it most recently. For some of the features, I put in a lot of hard work and time into the feature but was later moved off to another project after completing my part. Essentially, I wrote the foundation of the whole feature. However, everyone has long forgotten that I ever contributed to it and I only found out it was even being demoed on the day of.
    I feel really disappointed my efforts aren’t recognized, but is it too petty to care? From a career standpoint, I worry that the person demoing will get a lot more visibility from leadership and it will lead to faster career growth for them. What are your thoughts? Thanks!

    • 30 min
    Episode 190: Disorganized startup and leveling up the team

    Episode 190: Disorganized startup and leveling up the team

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:




    My company is a startup and they’re super unorganized. I’m a junior-mid level engineer, and when I was onboarded, there was no documentation for how to run anything. I wrote a bunch of documentation and also made some PR templates to try and organize PRs. I’m super annoyed because things are constantly being messed with in our schema, and I don’t realize what we’ve changed until it correlates to a different issue that I’m trying to fix and then have to redo the fix because there’s this new change. What can I do to help my company?



    I’m a lead engineer at a small but growing startup. I work primarily on skunkworks projects. My teammate and I are feeling constantly underwhelmed by the performance of the rest of the engineering team, who are working on the core app. Their work causes limitation for us, makes the engineering team look ill-equipped, and we cant seem to make old dogs learn new tricks.
    How do we make it more apparent to the team, and the rest of the company, that it’s time to “level up” the engineering domain as a whole.

    • 33 min
    Episode 189: Building relationships and handling negative feedback with speical guest Jeff Leiken

    Episode 189: Building relationships and handling negative feedback with speical guest Jeff Leiken

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:




    Hi, I’m a software engineer who’s recently been promoted to a technical lead. I accomplished this mainly through work ethic, dedication to improving my skillset, a couple of large/notable projects, and some minor internal networking. After going through the promotion process, it’s become apparent how valuable it is to establish strong relationships with peers and seniors in your field.


    What advice or recommendations do you have for establishing these relationships within a company and how would you go about seeking a more senior engineer or leader to mentor you? Also, thanks for all your hard work - been listening to your episodes for the past 6 months and finding them very enlightening!



    I just got my annual performance review at work. The overall rating was “meets expectations”, but I worked really hard this year and thought I did great work. I was hoping for a higher rating than that. Maybe worse, this means I got a smaller raise than I expected. The review contained some suggestions for improvement. I feel pretty demotivated by the whole situation. How do I get out of this funk?




    You can get in touch with Jeff Leiken at https://www.evolutionmentoring.com/.

    • 43 min

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