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Rank #190 in Technology category

Technology

Soft Skills Engineering

Updated 9 days ago

Rank #190 in Technology category

Technology
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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.

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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.

iTunes Ratings

146 Ratings
Average Ratings
139
3
0
1
3

Awesome!

By andylin. - Jan 07 2020
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Funny, helpful, and informative!

Dope

By ChronicleDecay1 - Oct 12 2018
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One of my favorites. You guys are hilarious

iTunes Ratings

146 Ratings
Average Ratings
139
3
0
1
3

Awesome!

By andylin. - Jan 07 2020
Read more
Funny, helpful, and informative!

Dope

By ChronicleDecay1 - Oct 12 2018
Read more
One of my favorites. You guys are hilarious
Cover image of Soft Skills Engineering

Soft Skills Engineering

Latest release on Oct 19, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 9 days ago

Rank #1: Episode 3: What to look for in a dev team

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In episode 3, Jamison and Dave answer two questions:

  1. What should I look for in a dev team?

  2. I don’t get enough done at work. I work on a small team that has aggressive plans for developing its product, but I don’t feel like I get enough work done or move fast enough for the company.

Mar 21 2016

25mins

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Rank #2: Episode 4: Should I build my personal brand?

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In episode 4, Jamison and Dave answer this question:

I have heard a lot about “marketing myself” and my “personal brand”. For example, some people say I should be writing a blog post every week or creating lots of YouTube content. They talk about being a “thought leader”. I love building stuff as an engineer, and obviously I want to have a great job, so how important is this stuff?

Mar 31 2016

25mins

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Rank #3: Episode 67: Graduate School and Asking Good Questions

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Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. Should I get a Masters in Computer Science?
  2. How do I ask good questions?

Jul 07 2017

44mins

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Rank #4: Episode 71: Informal Leadership and Dealing With Burnout

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Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. I’m sometimes an informal lead on project teams. How do I help the team get stuff done as a peer?
  2. How do I deal with burnout after an extended period of crunch time?

Jamison mentions the blog post by Jamis Buck called To Smile Again where he talks about his experiences with burnout.

Aug 14 2017

41mins

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Rank #5: Episode 74: Switching Languages Without A Pay Cut and A Missed Negotiation

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Jamison and Dave will be at the UtahJS Conference on September 18th. See conf.utahjs.com for more info and to buy tickets. Come say hi!

This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. Do I need to take a pay cut when switching languages?
  2. I was promoted at work but didn’t get a raise or a title change. What do I do?

Sep 11 2017

36mins

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Rank #6: Episode 28: How Long Should I Stay At My Job and How Do I Help Junior Developers Improve

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In episode 28, Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

How long should I stay before I quit my job?

  • Two to three years seems fairly normal.
  • Dave sees people with less than 12 months regularly.
  • Staying at a job means you experience things you wouldn’t if you hopped around a lot.
  • It is much easier to see the hype cycle play out if you stick around.
  • You get to see the outcome of your own decisions.
  • Quitting usually == raise.
  • Chronic job hopping might result in a reputation of not sticking with things.
  • Dave thinks you should quit your first job after 18 months because of the Monty Hall problem

How do you encourage junior developers to improve?

  • We assume that these junior developers really want to improve.
  • Make it clear that people get stuck and struggle, and that is normal.
  • Make it clear that you don’t want them to get too stuck.
  • Make it OK to ask questions.
  • People generally live up or down to your expectations, so help them feel trusted and that you expect they will be great.
  • Make the outcome of their work clear.

Sep 26 2016

34mins

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Rank #7: Episode 5: Developer Compensation

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In episode 5, Jamison and Dave answer this question:

What are common ways developers are compensated? Do developers usually get a bonus? Stock options?

Apr 04 2016

25mins

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Rank #8: Episode 118: Asking For Help and Speaking Up

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. What is the right balance between asking for help and figuring things out on my own? How do I know when it’s time to ask questions or when it’s time to spend more time drilling down into the code?

  2. Been at my first job for a couple of years now, and I am very quiet in the workplace and still find it hard to open up, be assertive, and speak up in meetings.

    When I try to go out of my comfort zone (arguing about technical decisions, setting up and driving meetings), I don’t think my manager appreciates my efforts. I am told that I need to voice my opinions more and have more of a two-way conversation. I feel I’m not given concrete chances to improve, and it’s very demotivating. How should I deal in situations like this?

Job pitch time! Are you interested in working at Walmart Labs? Email Jamison at jamison.dance@walmartlabas.com!

Jul 30 2018

27mins

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Rank #9: Episode 186: First job negotiation and am I a senior engineer?

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hi!
    I am 29 years old and a couple of years ago I decided to turn my career around by going from teaching history to frontend development.
    After 2 years of education I am now doing my first internship in small but established company. I have the feeling I will soon be offered a full-time position.

    How can I ask for the best job offer (salary-wise) accordingly to my age but few experiences? I don’t want to be perceived as ungrateful, nor be exploited and get underpaid.

  2. How do you know that you are a senior engineer? Not just the title you are given, but when do you really feel like one? Some people relate this to experience, but you can be coding or doing crappy stuff for 10 years so for me this is not the answer.

Dec 02 2019

33mins

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Rank #10: Episode 123: Salary Promise Fail and Slacker Coworkers

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Great podcast! Love what you guys are doing and very happy that you are doing this for such a long time! Here’s the question.

    I started to work in a Startup a year ago. When we were negotiating the salary we agreed on amount X, and CTO promised that after a year it will be increased. He did say the exact sum. So, the year has passed, I followed up CTO about the salary raise, and he delegated the task to the manager, who decided not to give me a raise. When I asked ‘why?’ he said that I am good at negotiating my salary and I’m getting what the market is offering. I don’t feel bad about not getting more money, but the fact that the CTO break his word concerns me. I don’t think I can trust this company when they are promising anything and I started to care less about what I’m doing here. Am I delusional that a programmers salary has to increase even by 2% on a yearly basis and how to find a way to trust company in the future? Or just drop this and take the default SSE case - look for another job?

    Thank you for your answer.

  2. Hi Dave and Jamison, Absolutely love the show.

    I share an office with a peer who works on my team. We are both early in our career and are lucky to work under a very hands off manager. However, I feel my peer is taking advantage of the situation and is slacking off. He is rarely in his office and often states that he is ““working”” from home. When he graces us with his appearance in the office, he asks the most basic questions. Granted, those questions are internal and specific (not easily Google-able), but still, I feel he should have known the answers after a year on the job.

    He intentionally exploits our monolith’s slow builds by running full builds all the time and complain that it is slow. Then plays video games in the office until the build is complete (about 4 hours). Then makes a minor change in his feature code and kicks off a full build again, even though he could build incrementally (about 2-3 minutes).

    What do you recommend me to do? Should I spend time and energy to answer his lifeless questions? Should I confront him?

Sep 10 2018

29mins

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Rank #11: Episode 153: Informal Leadership and Dealing With Burnout (rerun of episode 71)

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This episode is a rerun of episode 71 from August 2017.

In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I’m sometimes an informal lead on project teams. How do I help the team get stuff done as a peer?
  2. How do I deal with burnout after an extended period of crunch time?

Jamison mentions the blog post by Jamis Buck called To Smile Again where he talks about his experiences with burnout.

Apr 15 2019

41mins

Play

Rank #12: Episode 64: Negative Peer Reviews and On Call

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Jamison and Dave talk about these questions:

  1. How direct should I be in a peer review of a coworker who I really dislike?
  2. How do I convince developers to go on call?

Jun 15 2017

37mins

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Rank #13: Episode 77: Boss Wants Me To Speak and The 2% Raise

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This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. My boss wants me to speak at conferences, but I’m very new to software. What should I do?
  2. How do I get more than a 2% raise? That is the company average.

We talked about conferences a bit more way back in episode 6.

We also talked more about playing the salary game in episode 23, which is a technique for sharing salary information with your co-workers.

Oct 04 2017

35mins

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Rank #14: Episode 120: Layoff Decisions and Overworking Peers

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. How do managers make firing decision during company wide cuts? Recently our company went through spending cuts and x percentage of people were laid off as part of this exercise. On one fateful day, our manager informed us that he let go John Doe as he had to fire someone. Overall John Doe was a decent senior developer and was with the company for 10 plus years. My gut feeling is that he was let go because he simply didn’t (or couldn’t) move to management and was too old for a developer position. Does ageism play a role when a firing decision has to be made based on non-performance reasons?

  2. I’m in my early 30s, I have a spouse and a small child, and work remotely as a software engineer. One of my peers, let’s call him James, is about 10 years younger than me, works on-site, and is single. He’s a good developer and really friendly. The problem I have with him is that this job is his life. It isn’t uncommon for James to work 14 hour days (including weekends sometimes), submitting code for review at midnight, then back in to work bright and early the next day. This is not at all encouraged at my company. Most everyone comes in at 9 and leaves at 6. I feel a little bad for James because I get the sense that he’s lonely, and doesn’t have much going for him outside of work.

    However, it’s frustrating working with a peer who puts in way more time at work when my home life literally makes that level of dedication impossible. James receives a lot of praise for the hard problems he works on after-hours. I know my performance is fine and I don’t need the praise per se, but it’s frustrating to feel that I’m going to be compared to him informally by my co-workers in terms of what we get done, and formally, as promotion opportunities come up. I honestly wish someone in management would ask him not to work after-hours, but that’s probably not going to happen. Thoughts on how to handle this?

Aug 20 2018

32mins

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Rank #15: Episode 185: Fragile coworkers and soft demotion

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hello! I am the only principal architect in my department. In addition to technical and delivery obligations, I am also responsible for mentoring of engineers. Recently, I reviewed some
    very lackluster customer facing presentation materials drafted by a junior engineer (for which I provided templates and talking points) and informed them this would need to be worked again from scratch. I received verbal confirmation that the effort was indeed lacking, and that they would take a different approach. Imagine my surprise when I was pulled into an HR meeting by my manager, telling me a formal complaint was filed for my being ‘belligerent’. Also mentioned to me was that this engineer would be leaving the company because they couldn’t possibly continue to work with me. Now might be a good time to mention we are a completely remote team and this is the first negative feedback this engineer received from me (due to having only been on the team for 2 weeks at that time). This individual has moved into a different group which I work with often, but now I’m concerned about having someone on the team who cannot handle direct (but professional) criticism. How do I handle this professional relationship going forward? P.S. this engineer is nearly 40 and we are consultants in 100% customer facing roles.

  2. Hi Soft Skills Advisors, I think I may have been ““soft demoted”” at the start-up I work at. I used to be part of the senior management of the company as the most senior technical member of the staff. However, due to a series of unfortunate mistakes on my part (both technical and managerial), I seem to be no longer trusted or included in any discussions or decisions. I feel like I’m demoted from my position in everything but official title. And yet, everyone in the senior management reassures me that they still very much value all my contributions.

    Is it time to take the time-honored soft skills advice and “quit my job”, or am I just being unnecessarily emotional and paranoid here and it will just take some time to rebuild trust?

    (I’m paid a good salary and still have my stock options, etc.)

Nov 25 2019

32mins

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Rank #16: Episode 30: Reaching Consensus and Code Editing Etiquette

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. How should you reach consensus on a team? Should you always have consensus?
  2. What is the etiquette around editing code in a shared repository?

Oct 08 2016

40mins

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Rank #17: Episode 73: A Rampant Rewriter and Overexplainers

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Jamison and Dave will be at the UtahJS Conference on September 18th. See conf.utahjs.com for more info and to buy tickets. Come say hi!

This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions:

  1. A developer on my team has been rewriting my code under the guise of “code cleanup” without saying anything to me. Is this normal? What should I do?
  2. How do you deal with co-workers who over-explain unimportant issues?

Aug 31 2017

39mins

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Rank #18: Episode 107: Silence After Interviews and Newsletter Politics

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Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I recently interviewed for a role I was very interested in. I didn’t get the job,and despite several attempts, didn’t receive any feedback on what I could have done differently. I still really want to work there at some point in the future, but have I taken it too far? Have I accidentally burned all of the bridges before I set foot on them?
  2. I am a lowly SSE that recently started a tech newsletter at my company. One of the senior VPs (let’s call them “E”) sent out an email to the org asking people to reply to a newsletter survey so that their team can be featured. A senior manager (“K”), was upset his team wasn’t featured but I informed him that he didn’t reply to the original survey.
    I explained to “K” that he can still send me information for the next issue. “K” then replied back with something very condescending and has now made the newsletter a political device. How should I proceed from here?

Apr 30 2018

28mins

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Rank #19: Episode 31: Going In To Management and Knowing If A Job Is Worth Applying To

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Should I go in to management?
  2. How do you know if a job is worth applying to?

Oct 17 2016

33mins

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Rank #20: Episode 182: Lunch and switching to product management

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. My team often goes out to lunch; I almost always bring a lunch from home. They invite me to come with them, but it feels weird, since I won’t be purchasing a meal from the restaurant. Should I swallow (pun intended) my pride and go with them anyway, or decline their offer? I would bring lunch less frequently, but it’s difficult to predict what days they are going out together.

  2. I’ve been a software engineer for 7 years and it recently occurred to me that product management would be an interesting and fulfilling field that I’d like to give a shot. Is this something I should discuss with my engineering manager or director, or other product managers at my company?

    While I think it’s possible these people might be able to help me, my anxious mind can think of many ways that advertising I want help transitioning out of my current role could go badly. I also happen to be fully remote, so I don’t have many opportunities to bring these things up in more casual settings. I doubt I’d be able to get hired as a PM at another company without prior experience, so getting help from co-workers or management at my current company seems pretty important. Do either of you know anyone who’s made this jump? Any tips on getting help without pushing too hard or creating problems for myself?

Nov 04 2019

29mins

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