324 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
    • 4.8 • 227 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 323: Shopping offers and returning equipment

    Episode 323: Shopping offers and returning equipment

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:




    I’m planning to leave my job purely because of low compensation. I like my growth in my current company - but low compensation than what market is offering is quite a mental hiccup in my regular work (yep! I’m slowly becoming one of the quiet quitters). I’m thinking of going to my manager with my new offer and ask him to match it. Do retention offers actually work? As mangers yourselves, how would you want me to approach a retention discussion? I don’t want my manager to make my life hell under the pretense of “Oh he’ll leave in a year” if I do decide to stay after taking the matching offer.
    Love the show - pretty much my single source of wisdom for all my behavioural interviews xD



    I was recently let go from a company. They said they would send me a shipping label so that I could return the hardware. I didn’t hear back from them for a week. A few days later a label came in for the laptop, but not for the dock or the two monitors they also sent.


    I did not enjoy my experience there and I’m feeling resentful at having to pester them so that I can get what I need to send them back their hardware.


    What is my due diligence on the score? I don’t even like the monitors.

    • 26 min
    Episode 322: Cover blown and no one cares

    Episode 322: Cover blown and no one cares

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:




    Listener Olexander asks,


    I was a tech lead on some relatively known project since the beginning for more than a year. I made several trade-offs with technologies and wrong decisions. I participate in some generic Slack organisations and met several users of my product. I haven’t told them that I was connected to implementing the project but sometimes shared some insights on how the product is tested and asked opinions about some of features of the product in comparison to the competitors. Now there is a person who continuously critiques the product. Sometimes the criticism is valid but sometimes is’s just a rant. How can I influence that person without blowing my cover?



    Listener Kieran asks,


    Hi guys! Loving the podcast from down under. I’m working part time as a dev while I complete my software engineering degree. It’s been fun, but there are almost no processes in place for development and not many other devs seem to care about improvement.


    Although I am the most inexperienced here I feel some of the devs do not care about the quality of the work as I often have to refactor some of their code due to it being buggy, slow and undocumented (still using var in javascript).


    I’ve talked to management about improving our standards. However, they brushed me off saying yeah some of the developers are stubborn. They are not brushing me off because I lack technicality as Ive been given an end user app as a solo project. How should I go about encouraging the team to improve our processes?

    • 28 min
    Episode 321: Politely, no and participation at scale

    Episode 321: Politely, no and participation at scale

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:




    How do you politely tell a reviewer politely, “Your suggestion is stupid. I will not do it” when you get stupid review comments. If you don’t do it then the pull request can’t move forward because of unresolved issues. If you do it, then you’re compromising your design you’ve worked weeks on for some fly-by random comment.



    A few months back, I volunteered as co-facilitator for my department’s NodeJS Guild meeting. At first, it was a struggle to get people to present. But I tried to lower the bar more and more until it was easy. I asked for 10-15m presentations, and eventually I realized people are happier “Kicking off a discussion” than they are “giving a presentation”. All the listeners are more engaged too, at least after the first 2 meetings doing this.


    Now I want people to share half-baked code, or problems they are struggling with, as part of our discussions. I want people to be able to be vulnerable. If we don’t collaborate on common problems until we feel they’re polished and won’t reflect badly on us, then we will all waste time solving the same problems.


    I also want this to scale across 15-25 small scrum teams. I think success could be my demise–if we have good discussions, then more people will come, but people won’t want to be as vulnerable with a larger group.


    In general, I think my own scrum team is very open and vulnerable to each other, but the remote work in the deparment has created distance. I want to help create more collaboration on similar problems and solutions.


    What would you do to keep this going, and improve it?

    • 30 min
    Episode 320: Hot and less hot and no privileges

    Episode 320: Hot and less hot and no privileges

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:




    I seem to be very hot and cold about how I feel about my job. Some days I hate it and think about quitting, but other days, I feel it’s not that bad and can stick around a little longer. The reason for it seems to change depending on the day, but a lot of it seems to center around the people around me (i.e. developers who need me to Google for them, business people who don’t understand how to provide requirements), but sometimes I can’t tell whether it’s an attitude problem that will follow me anywhere or if it’s just time to leave. It’s a relatively small company, so I feel like I would be betraying my manager who has invested a lot in me if I decided to leave so suddenly. I’d like to give my manager a chance to address my concerns, but I’m afraid to sour our relationship if I come across as a complainer. I’m also not confident there’s any solutions to my current frustrations because it seems to be a company-wide issue. How do I make sense of all of what I’m feeling?



    I really like my company but their project management is atrocious, ad hoc, and “old school.” They’re not giving me privileges to configure Jira in ways that allow me to get stuff done.


    Is there an effective way to convince my CTO that I’m not going to screw up our secure systems or do I just need to find a new job?

    • 27 min
    Episode 319: Steve's babysitter and these uncertain times

    Episode 319: Steve's babysitter and these uncertain times

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:




    My company wants several complex applications rewritten. “Steve” wrote the original applications, and has been assigned to do the rewrite. There is very little documentation on the original applications, and the rewrite will take intimate understanding of the existing code and new requirements.


    Management assigned me to work with Steve. They warned me that since we have started working remotely after covid, Steve has been hard to get a hold of and not meeting deadlines. My job is to keep Steve on task.


    When I ask Steve a question he will respond “I’ll work on it tomorrow” or “I’ll have to look in to that.” Then I never hear from him again. If I tell management I haven’t been able to get a hold of him, they will contact him, then he will contact me asking “What can I help you with?” Again, all his answers will be “I’ll have to look into that.”


    Occasionally Steve will report to me that he has finished a task. But because he did it without me, I am even more confused about what needs done or how to do it.


    I feel like my job has turned in to tattling on Steve. I am afraid I’m going to be labeled a whiner and that this project will harm my career growth.


    Over the last 2 weeks my solution has been to just ignore the project. Management hasn’t checked in with me, but I’m sitting on a ticking time bomb.


    What should I do?



    How to keep our sanity in times of uncertainty? I’ve recently changed jobs and despite the facts shows that I shouldn’t be worried, I can see my judgement is blurred by the fear of getting laid off even there’s no sign of it and I fear I would fulfill the prophecy!

    • 37 min
    Episode 318: Staff and part time dev

    Episode 318: Staff and part time dev

    In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:




    Listener Albert Camus asks,


    Hello Team. I am a long time listener of the show, and I really enjoy it.
    I’m a senior engineer and want to get to the next level in my career. I talked to my manager about this. I told them I preferred the technical side and staff engineer was the next level up. He responded positively, although he didn’t give me a timeline, not even a vague estimate.
    In a subsequent meeting they told me it wasn’t a linear progression at the company and there’s quite an overlap in the salary range between senior and staff engineer. I was also told that the company only had a few staff level engineers and they were considered experts at a particular sub-section of a technology.
    This makes me feel like I am being stalled. I have seen this a few years ago, at a previous workplace, where I tried for a promotion, and the manager at that place kept giving excuses to buy time. I am afraid that could be the case here as well.
    I am technically strong and have good soft-skills. I have designed, developed and documented multiple features for the company. Whenever there’s a complex bug, the product manager always turns towards me for help. I also handle inter-team discussions at times, always a part of the interview panel while hiring new team members and at most times the only person representing my team from the tech perspective during alignment meetings with the sales and marketing teams. I could also say with confidence that I bring more value to the table and have data to back it up.
    But I am not sure how I could use all this information without seeming desperate, to really push for that promotion and a raise. I could quit and get a new job, most probably with a promotion, but I have put in a lot of effort here and I intend to stay at the current company for at least the next couple of years to reap the rewards. What can I do to get that promotion in the coming year?



    We know that the salary is high in our area, and I don’t need all this money. So, what is your opinion on part time job and how can I get one?


    I’m a senior frontend with more than 15 years of experience and just want to live a little.

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
227 Ratings

227 Ratings

Lh15770 ,

They are super geeky and super funny

These guys are super geeky and super funny!

Highly recommend as a light technical podcast

rcc777777 ,

Good content, a bit too silly

Listening to episode 304 as my first episode. Feels like the content is great, but my feedback to the hosts is that you’re being a bit too silly and it’s making it hard to focus on the wisdom.

Will nickname not taken angel ,

Car talk for software!

These guys are funny and educational!

Cartalk for software developers!

Really good stuff.

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