280 episodes

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

    • Technology
    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

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 279: (Rerun of 220) Premature leadership push and credit and status

    Episode 279: (Rerun of 220) Premature leadership push and credit and status

    This is a rerun of episode 220.


    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


    Questions



    Hello,


    I know you said you don’t read the compliments on air most of the time but this podcast is great. I just found it a few weeks ago and I love the positive fun approach to question answering. It has really made me think about software engineering outside of the ““make code do thing”” box.


    Anyway, the question: I have been at the same company for 4 years. It is my first job out of college. I have ended up working in so many different languages and frameworks I don’t remember them all. I guess that’s just how things go. Recently I have been selected to take on a scrum master role and I feel I am quickly being groomed for management.


    That was never really my goal. I wanted to build a depth of knowledge and always have my hands on code.


    Will taking on these kind of roles hurt my chances at future technical roles? Am I dooming myself to managing spreadsheets and Jira tickets until I retire? Will I only communicate in Dilbert references?



    My teammate frequently gives status updates or fields follow up questions about work that was mostly done by someone else. I am pretty sure they do this to be helpful not to claim credit for all the work. I just wish I could speak up about the work I contributed primarily to before they do so on my behalf. I wish it didn’t bother me since we are one team and I would rather focus on the progress of the team rather than receiving credit.


    How should I respond to these situations in a way that allows me to not get bothered emotionally and also do what’s best for the team?

    • 33 min
    Episode 278: PM to engineer and pressure to stay after quitting

    Episode 278: PM to engineer and pressure to stay after quitting

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


    Questions



    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.



    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.

    • 35 min
    Episode 277: Super long code reviews and replacement laptop

    Episode 277: Super long code reviews and replacement laptop

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


    Questions



    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?



    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?


    Thanks

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

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

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


    Questions



    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.



    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?

    • 28 min
    Episode 275: Take-home tests and doing my own recruiting

    Episode 275: Take-home tests and doing my own recruiting

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


    Questions



    I’m a developer responsible for hiring other developers for my company. I’m comfortable interviewing and I feel like I can get a good grasp on whether the interviewee is technically competent.


    My boss wants us to give a take-home technical test to people after the first interview if we’re happy with how they interviewed and want to proceed further.


    The current technical test is time-boxed and is designed to represent the work they would do at our company. I worry that we ask for too many requirements within the current time constraint of 2 hours, but asking for more time will put people off completely.


    What can we do to make sure the technical test is fair and a good experience for candidates?



    Hello Dave and Jamison,


    I am a team lead at a rapidly expanding company. We have been trying to fill open head counts (>4) for over a year now, and our team is also handed some very important and promising projects, and because of that, even more open reqs for our team. Recently in our 1:1, I was pressing my manager to fill the openings ASAP but he told me our company recruiters are so busy that our team don’t have any dedicated recruiters, and my manager have been sourcing candidates himself for almost a year now.


    I was surprised by that and offered to help. I had read some materials from the recruiting team, got the tools set up and ready to cold email people I found on LinkedIn. My question is, how do I approach them in an authentic manner? I am proud of my company and our products, but how do I reach out to them without letting them know my primary motivation is get more team members to do the work so I can get more sleep? On the other side of the table, I feel those recruiting emails are cold and a waste of my time. So looking at the funnel I built, I don’t know if I can bring myself to start spamming others’ inbox.

    • 34 min
    Episode 274: Announcing resignation too early and why are my ideas rejected?

    Episode 274: Announcing resignation too early and why are my ideas rejected?

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


    Questions



    I’m a technical lead and I’m planning to take the usual advice and quit my job. The catch is, I have a not-yet-vested interest in staying until the new year. My manager mentioned in passing that he’s doing resource planning for my team for next year. Should I indicate that I’ll be looking for work in the new year?


    I feel like I have a guarded relationship with my manager, so I don’t feel like it’s a safe space to say just anything. But I know it would be helpful for him to know that I’m leaving.



    I work at a consulting company and I’ve been outsourced to one of the biggest banks to work on their iOS application. My problem is every time I propose a solution, it bounces back and is never accepted. In my opinion our way of doing things is wrong and I lost motivation and enthusiasm to work on the project. I shared my concerns and thoughts and always got the pat on my back but never found a solution. In these kind of situations, how do you motivate yourself to keep going? Should I look at it as improving my people management skills or should I quit? Thank you both of you. I don’t feel alone when I listen your podcast and I’m simply thankful your existence.

    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

Top Podcasts In Technology

You Might Also Like