Soft Skills Engineering

Soft Skills Engineering

softskills.audio
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.


171: Unwilling mentorship and tortoise vs hare DevOps
Aug 19 • 31 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Hey guys, love the show. I’m starting to realize that our QA engineer lacks some skills required to do their job effectively. It’s now starting to affect my work and I can only see it getting…
170: Code rage and code review etiquette
Aug 12 • 36 min
Vote for Soft Skills Engineering on the Hackernoon Noonies awards for best Dev Podcast! In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How do I stop getting angry at other peoples’ code? Often when solving a complicated problem or implementing…
169: Conspiracy theories and flexible schedules
Aug 5 • 31 min
Vote for Soft Skills Engineering on the Hackernoon Noonies awards for best Dev Podcast! In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: One of my co-workers at the software company I currently work on has an ‘uncommon’ set of beliefs that…
168: Self-snooping and work from home jeopardy
Jul 29 • 31 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Hey there. I don’t program I administrate in IT but you’re my favorite podcast, awesome job, never stop. I ran into a crazy situation that is WAY above my soft skills ability to deal with so I am…
167: Foosball culture and giving feedback to geniuses
Jul 22 • 35 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: We’ve all been on that tour of that local startup that is showing you around their office pointing out all of the amenities. “Over there? That’s our foosball table!” You notice no one is playing it…
166: Not the intern and fighting at work
Jul 15 • 34 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I’m so glad I discovered your podcast last week! You guys are hilarious (I laugh to myself in the car) and you talk about issues that I have thought about since coming into the “adult world”. I’m a…
165: I don’t play videogames and quarter-career burnout
Jul 8 • 28 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I recently joined a startup. After joining I realized most of the engineers are gamers. They play games during the lunch hour, and if we end up having lunch together, everyone is talking about the…
164: Fear of firing and disengaged teammates
Jul 1 • 31 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Hello, First of all, I love the show, thank you so much for the amazing work! I always think I’m going to be fired. I’m an extremely anxious person so I feel the need for constant feedback and for…
163: Sounding a warning and negative Glassdoor reviews
Jun 24 • 34 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I recently joined a new team to help rewrite a batch job whose source code has long been lost. After taking some time to learn the tech stack and the business problem, I realized that the current…
162 (rerun of episode 113): Quitting Your First Job and Too Many Responsibilities
Jun 17 • 32 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How do I quit my first job if I’m working with a manager I love? I started my first full-time job about two years ago and I’m starting to think about looking for a new job, both because I am ready…
161: Trapped as a QA engineer and trapped as a generalist
Jun 10 • 31 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Hey guys, I’ve graduated with a CS degree 8 years ago, but due to circumstances I accepted a QA job because I wasn’t getting any other offers. Well 8 years later, I’m still stuck in QA and would…
160: Non-manager 1:1s and throwing away dev learning
Jun 3 • 25 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Is it weird to have 1-1s but not with my ‘manager’? Management is planning to start holding ‘1-1s’ every 6-8 weeks for the development team. The purpose of these 1-1s: ~ ‘So you can talk about…
159: Rejecting candidates and corporate image obsession
May 27 • 27 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I’m a hiring manager and sometimes have to say no to candidates who interview with us. How do I reject them kindly? In my current company, they only care about reputation of the company. They don’t…
158: I accepted a counter-offer and stayed and dealing with engineers who exaggerate their contributions
May 20 • 27 min
This episode is sponsored by the O’Reilly Velocity conference. Register today and use discount code SKILLS for a 20% discount: http://velocityconf.com/skills. In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I was unhappy at my job despite having…
157: How to deal with a consistent low performer and my architect wants me to switch from Ruby to Java
May 13 • 33 min
This episode is sponsored by the O’Reilly Velocity conference. Register today and use discount code SKILLS for a 20% discount: http://velocityconf.com/skills. In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I became a manager a year go. I took…
156: How to move from web development into other software engineering roles and dealing with slow code review processes
May 6 • 35 min
This episode is sponsored by the O’Reilly Velocity conference. Register today and use discount code SKILLS for a 20% discount: http://velocityconf.com/skills. In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Hey! I love your podcast, you have…
155: What do you think about employee monitoring software and how do I get un-demotivated after losing interest in software dev?
Apr 29 • 26 min
This episode is sponsored by the O’Reilly Velocity conference. Register today and use discount code SKILLS for a 20% discount: http://velocityconf.com/skills. In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Hello! Thank you for the show! What do…
154: Why am I terrible at picking candidates and how soon can I quit my job?
Apr 22 • 30 min
This episode is sponsored by the O’Reilly Velocity conference. Register today and use discount code SKILLS for a 20% discount: http://velocityconf.com/skills. In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I keep getting asked to interview new…
153: Informal Leadership and Dealing With Burnout (rerun of episode 71)
Apr 15 • 41 min
This episode is a rerun of episode 71 from August 2017. In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I’m sometimes an informal lead on project teams. How do I help the team get stuff done as a peer? How do I deal with burnout after an…
152: How to pair program as an introvert and being mistreated as a contractor?
Apr 8 • 34 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Hi guys! Big fan of the show. Here’s a question: What to do if I hate working in pairs? I’m in a tricky situation. I work on a great project in a team of great people We try to implement all the…
151: Where are all the old developers and Do I not ask enough questions?
Apr 1 • 25 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I have a lot of software developer colleagues who are 20 - 35 years old but none 50+. At what age does a software engineer’s career end? Hi Dave and Jamison, thanks for the great podcast. I…
150: How to fight imposter syndrome as a technical lead and Getting in to meetups
Mar 25 • 28 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I worked for four years doing web development for a company while I got my degree, and loved it. I eventually became the lead developer because I had been on the team the longest. I thought it was…
149: How to get my engineering career back on track and how to thrive in a heavy process environment
Mar 18 • 43 min
Joining us this episode is special guest Nedda Amini! In this episode, Nedda, Dave, and Jamison answer these questions: My engineering career started out pretty promising. But along the way, I took a couple of unfortunate decisions and jobs, that instead…
148: In the orbit of a Rock Star Programmer and Should I share my salary with my coworkers?
Mar 11 • 26 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I’ve been an engineer for about 5 years and in the last two jobs, rock-star programmers have made my life very difficult. I define rock star programmers as ones with ability to produce lots of code…
147: How to grow in a flat organization and how to get references when job hunting in stealth mode?
Mar 4 • 3 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I work in a flat organization. There aren’t really any titles, and very few managers. There is no common “climbing the ladder” here. What are options for career growth that will help me feel…
146: What to do with sick co-workers who come into the office and dealing with weird performance review feedback
Feb 25 • 23 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Hi guys! I was faced with quite a dilemma recently. A few days ago one of my co-workers said he was sick and worked from home. But the next day he came to office, constantly sneezing and looking…
145: What to do with a bad manager who is loved by upper management and should I include detecting major security vulnerabilities on my resume?
Feb 18 • 24 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How do I deal with the manager on my team who is both not very technical and positions himself as the “boss” spending almost no time with the team (except dragging everyone into more and more…
144: Job hunting while employed and how to start my first technical lead role
Feb 11 • 33 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions along with special guest Jonathan Cutrell:: I’ve been job hunting while employed (gasp), and I have a number of opportunities that have advanced to the in-person interview. Most of the requests I’ve…
143: Dealing with meeting interrupters and setting work limits
Feb 4 • 25 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I have noticed one of my coworkers, a fellow senior software engineer, often interrupts people during their meetings with his comments and thoughts. While I’m not against voicing opinions during a…
142: Can I get hired above my level even though I look inexperienced on paper and should I be brutally honest in peer performance reviews
Jan 28 • 30 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: On Episode 66 you attempted to answer my question: ‘How bad can a Junior Front End Developer be?’ Well, I’m now 4 months into my new job as a Junior Front End Developer and it turns out, they can…
141: A Rampant Rewriter and Dealing with an Overexplainer (rerun of episode 73)
Jan 21 • 33 min
This is a re-broadcast of episode 73 from August 2017. We’ll be back next week with a new episode! In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: A developer on my team has been rewriting my code under the guise of “code cleanup” without saying…
140: Should I apologize for my bugs after I quit and should I become a project manager
Jan 14 • 29 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Shan writes: “Awesome podcast! I’ve used your advice to better communicate with my employers which has been super helpful. I recently was working as an intern at a company where I did quite a bit…
139: How to deal with badmouthing and how to survive in a loud open office
Jan 7 • 29 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: My boss is fairly new to management and has recently made some decisions which had a negative impact on my squad. While this was annoying, it didn’t cause any major problems - we worked around the…
138: Should I ask for a raise before my annual review and how to keep up with young, single, overtime-working co-workers
Dec 31, 2018 • 25 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Hi Dave and Jamison, love the show and your advice, there’s no podcast quite like yours out there in the audiosphere. I’m a long time listener, first time question asker. “I’ve been doing a really…
137: How to get answers to technical questions and Should managers also be technical
Dec 24, 2018 • 27 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: What’s the best approach to connecting with people who know about specific technologies that could help me if I have a question? And what’s the best way to cast a net via co-workers, friends, &…
136: My family thinks I’m over paid and Is a 10% raise good
Dec 17, 2018 • 24 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I am a software developer and as such, i get paid nicely. My family doesn’t think I work hard enough or deserve the money. Any advice? I am a software developer that was promoted earlier this year.…
135: Publicly Correcting Speakers and Forced Into a Dev Role as a Product Manager
Dec 10, 2018 • 27 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I went to an internal company developer meetup recently. The speaker was really new at the topic they were presenting and shared some incorrect information. I didn’t want to correct the speaker in…
134: Boredom vs Money and Agile vs Long-Term Schedules
Dec 3, 2018 • 36 min
This episode is sponsored by Pluralsight. Pluralsight is hiring data scientists, machine learning engineers, and software engineers. Check out the jobs at https://pluralsight.com/softskills In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I’m…
133: Herding Linter Cats and Surviving Until Severance Time
Nov 19, 2018 • 29 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How can I make my team be more proactive and go out of their comfort zone more? I recently started a new job as the team lead for a team of four developers. Each developer has their own pet things…
132: Should I tell my boss I’m planning to quit and keeping tech talks going
Nov 12, 2018 • 25 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Recently I was approached by a manager and informed that I needed to decide if I wanted to stay at the company or not. I initially said I would like to stay, and was told there was some negative…
131: Coworkers with stinky feet and Was my salary expectation too high
Nov 5, 2018 • 24 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I have a question - I sit in a desk with 3 other people. One of those people does a great job of personal hygiene…the other two not so much. I have dropped a couple of hints about it (I mentioned…
130 (rerun of episode 87): Stand up and fight! and Metrics
Oct 29, 2018 • 47 min
This is a rerun of episode 87 from December 14, 2017. In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: ‘I’ve been working on a project for the past year with two other senior developers. One of them is the lead, and the other, is my peer. We all…
129: Office romance and What to say during one-on-ones
Oct 22, 2018 • 24 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I recently started working at a small dev shop. Somewhere along the way I may or may not have started seeing a coworker outside of work. It’s really been great but there are no clear examples of…
128: Finish The Degree In Poverty? and Hiring Insecurity
Oct 15, 2018 • 18 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I’m working for minimum wage as a full Systems Administrator at a State University while I’m taking classes. I really like working here, but I need to make at LEAST 40K /year to justify this level…
127: Leaving a Job I Love and My Role Is Being Eroded
Oct 8, 2018 • 21 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Hey guys, I love the show! Thanks so much for keeping episodes coming every week. Some background: I work for a small, established company based in a small city with a growing tech scene. We have…
126: I’m underpaid and Game Industry Bonuses
Oct 1, 2018 • 25 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: One of my friends recently was hired at a salary 20k more than my own, even though we are at the same level. This caused me to re-think whether or not my company is paying me fairly and planted…
125: Brainstorming sessions and Slack Ettiquette
Sep 24, 2018 • 35 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Hey guys! Do you have any tips for making ““brain storming sessions”” more bearable? In my experience, I’ve found that it’s very hard to keep this type of meeting productive. I don’t think this is…
124: Pair Programming Pain and Side Hustle CEO
Sep 17, 2018 • 32 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I joined a new team that has a different way of working, which has exposed a lot of my shortcomings. On my previous team, collaboration was limited to discussions around architecture and strategy;…
123: Salary Promise Fail and Slacker Coworkers
Sep 10, 2018 • 29 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: 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…
122: Too Much Process and Negotiating Salaries with Multiple Companies
Sep 3, 2018 • 31 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Is it just me or does systems like Jira and TFS get managers to go crazy on processes? We have TFS and management has created a convoluted mess of processes that takes forever to learn and gets…
121: Working Remotely Without Hating It and Managing Rotating Engineers
Aug 27, 2018 • 32 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I used to work totally remote, but found myself absolutely hating it. The lack of office culture and human interaction. The problem is that in my area there are few local development jobs that…
120: Layoff Decisions and Overworking Peers
Aug 20, 2018 • 32 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: 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,…
119 (rerun of episode 77): My boss wants me to speak at conferences and how to get better than a 2% raise
Aug 13, 2018 • 19 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I started my first job as a developer 2 months ago. My boss wants me to give talks at meetups and then later, conferences. I have no idea what I can talk about as I am still very much learning. How…
118: Asking For Help and Speaking Up
Jul 30, 2018 • 27 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: 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?…
117: Defense Industry Stigma and Responding to Negative Feedback
Jul 23, 2018 • 25 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Will working as a defense contractor hurt my future employability in private industry? I work as a full stack engineer for a small defense contractor with a security clearance. My company is…
116: Weekend Warrioring and Reaching the End of the Career Ladder
Jul 17, 2018 • 30 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I work at a growing start up, and while I was hired as a web dev, I have started working on unrelated but cutting-edge tech for the company during off hours. My boss has encouraged me to do this…
115: Sharing Your Salary When You Leave and Hiring Decisions Overruled
Jul 10, 2018 • 21 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Let say you accepted an offer from another company and you turned in your 2 weeks notice. If your current employer ask you how much you will be making at your new place, should you tell them?…
114: Story Point Commitments and Measuring Productivity (Episode 79 Rerun)
Jul 2, 2018 • 39 min
In this re-run of episode 79, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: It seems like my teams always miss their story point commitments. Is this normal? How do you change it? How do you actually measure developer productivity? The article comparing…
113: Quitting Your First Job and Too Many Responsibilities
Jun 25, 2018 • 32 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How do I quit my first job if I’m working with a manager I love? I started my first full-time job about two years ago and I’m starting to think about looking for a new job, both because I am ready…
112: Disinterested Interviewing and Layoff Fallout
Jun 18, 2018 • 26 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Is it common for developers to take an interview without real interest in a job? Is it common for a company to reject a candidate because they think candidate is not interested in a job? Recently I…
111: Dogma Rehab and Getting a Co-worker Fired
Jun 12, 2018 • 34 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Hello Jamison and Dave. 💕 your show! 👏 I have been a C# dev for 7 years. Last year, I learn Erlang. I fell in love with functional programming. After that I learned Elm and oh boy… I had never…
110: Team Spirit and Half-hearted Recruiting
Jun 4, 2018 • 27 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How do I help foster team spirit in a newly created team? I work for small startup (fewer than 10 people). My boss wants to hire another developer and asked me to look around for people. I don’t…
109: Critical Junior Dev and Introducing New Tools
May 29, 2018 • 25 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I run a small dev team. One junior developer constantly openly challenges things that don’t meet this their preference. As a manager I don’t want to stifle innovation, but need to find a balance on…
(Rerun) Episode 35: Attracting Talent and Quitting Responsibly
May 20, 2018 • 40 min
We’ve got another re-run this week, as Jamison and Dave both recover from being sick. We’ll be back with a new episode next week. In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How can I attract talent? How do I quit without burning bridges?…
108: An Insecure Teammate and Disclosing Past Ratings
May 13, 2018 • 24 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: What do I do about an insecure teammate whose insecurity causes them to lash out at others? I’d like to change teams within my company, but I’ve had some negative performance reviews in the past.…
(Rerun) Episode 40: Office Visibility and New Tech
May 6, 2018 • 33 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How can I encourage my team to be more visible in the office? How do I learn new technologies without going through a noob phase?
107: Silence After Interviews and Newsletter Politics
Apr 30, 2018 • 28 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: 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…
106: Working From Home Without Rotting and Meetup Etiquette
Apr 22, 2018 • 27 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Since working remotely I’ve noticed a trend to do things like not leaving the house, growing my beard out to above average length, or not wearing (real) pants. What should I do to keep from losing any/all…
105: Interviewing for Management and Annoying Noises
Apr 12, 2018 • 32 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I’ve been a software engineer for 13 years and would like to apply for a management role. I’ve never managed before. How do I apply for a job as a manager without managerial experience? How do I deal with annoying…
104: Interviews With VPs and Hiring a Tester
Apr 6, 2018 • 28 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I went through the interview process, and as last step I had an interview with the VP of engineering. At the end of interview he asked if I had any questions for him. I didn’t know what to ask. What do you ask? I’m…
103: Team Dynamics and Bad Code
Mar 31, 2018 • 30 min
A listener named Dan talks about ThanksBot, an internal tool at Facebook to support gratitude. Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I became an engineer because I loved my programming assignments and CS degree. However, at work I’m struggling to…
102: Correcting English and Tyranny of the Urgent
Mar 24, 2018 • 36 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: A teammate is a great developer but English isn’t their first language. Sometimes this results in bad grammar or spelling mistakes in code comments, variables, and method names. Often I correct it in code review,…
101: Style In Code Reviews and How To Thank My Manager
Mar 17, 2018 • 30 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: A fellow developer submitted a pull request for me to review. The logic was totally fine, but the spacing drove me nuts. We use a linter to enforce some coding style but because this wasn’t a rule in the linter, I…
99: Developer Health and Whiteboard Interviews
Mar 9, 2018 • 32 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Do you have any recommendations for maintaining physical health in a software developer role? For example, strategies to maintain good posture, reduce eye strain, etc. Is the practice of asking interviewing…
98 (Rerun of Episode 57): Disliking Management and Difficult Co-workers
Mar 2, 2018 • 35 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I’ve been pushed in to doing management tasks I really don’t enjoy. What do I do? How do I handle a co-worker who I really struggle to get along with?
97: A Quiet Intern and Hearts and Guts
Feb 22, 2018 • 29 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: We have a great intern, who is smart and has good ideas but is also very quiet. She’s got a great deal of potential, and I want to tell her that being more vocal and assertive can help her greatly, both…
96: Teaching Burden and Unknown Unknowns
Feb 17, 2018 • 27 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: I know that teaching others is important when working on a team so that the team can grow and get better. But what happens when one member of the team, despite being the friendliest person in the world,…
95: Paying For Help and Scared of Recruiters
Feb 8, 2018 • 30 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: When should asking a developer pal for help go from something that is free because you’re pals to something you should compensate them for in some way? I’ve never worked with recruiters before. I’ve…
94: Dodging Recommendations and Full Sleeve Tattoos
Feb 3, 2018 • 34 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: As a “less than ideal” engineer was leaving our team, he asked if he could use me as a job reference. How should I tell them no? What are your thoughts on having full sleeve tattoos (ie, tattoos that…
93: Negotiating Annual Raises and Part-Time Work
Jan 27, 2018 • 28 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: My job doesn’t seem to leave room to negotiate salary or raises for our year-end review. Is this normal? How do I negotiate in this process? Can working part-time, when it’s possible to work full time, to…
92: Career Death by Friction and New Job Woes
Jan 19, 2018 • 39 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: A previous job involved a coworker who, over time, became very difficult to get along with. I did my best to talk it through with him, but he would only ever say I needed to “fix my attitude”. I tried to…
91: Job Requirements and Teams of Misfits
Jan 11, 2018 • 27 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: How often do candidates get hired who don’t match the requirements listed in a job posting? Is it a waste for me to apply to all jobs I come across even though I only have about 1/3 of what they want?…
90: Upper Management Dislikes Me and Undeserved Job Offers
Jan 5, 2018 • 29 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: Upper management has a negative impression of me because of an early manager. How do I manage and improve my reputation with mid and upper level management, who I interact with very rarely? I have a job…
89: Departed Engineers and Employment Contracts
Dec 28, 2017 • 30 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: How do I deal with co-workers who constantly cite the decisions of engineers who don’t work here anymore? My employment makes it sound like the company owns my past work and side-projects. Is this true?…
88: How To Dress For Interviews and Learning To Interview
Dec 22, 2017 • 38 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: How do you dress for interviews? Full on informal beach bum? Smart casual? Formal suit tie? I’m a new developer and have been asked to interview incoming developers. How do I learn how to interview? This…
87: Pushover Coworkers and Productivity Metrics
Dec 14, 2017 • 47 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: My peers give up and say “have it your way” whenever we have technical discussions. How do I get them to be more vocal about their opinions? I like the idea of measuring things, but metrics seem easy to…
86: Sharing Salaries and Offensive Words
Dec 7, 2017 • 34 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: Could you (Jamison and Dave) share some salary information publicly? It would help to know how much others make. My boss uses an offensive word in technical discussions. How do I ask him to stop?
85: Annoying Know-it-alls and Company Headshots
Nov 30, 2017 • 24 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: One of my co-workers is a know-it-all, which is pretty annoying. How do I work with them? A former employer still has my photo on their team website eight years after I left. How do I get them to take it…
84: Shy Developers and Outsourced Architecture
Nov 23, 2017 • 26 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: I work with a very shy and anxious remote developer. How do I work effectively with them? Our manager is outsourcing the core architecture of our next products to an offshore team. How do I tell him I…
83: Gaps In The Resume and Moving To Business
Nov 16, 2017 • 26 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: I think I’ve saved enough money to get out of the rat race. If something goes wrong and I need to get a job again, how do I explain a long gap in my resume? I like writing code but I’m interested in…
82: Blow Ups and Job Security
Nov 9, 2017 • 36 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: How do I smooth things over after a blow-up between team members? A team mate admits he writes bad code on purpose for job security. What do I do?
81: Unwilling To Grow and Forced Out During Two Weeks Notice
Nov 2, 2017 • 25 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: A developer on a team I lead doesn’t seem interested in growing. How do I help them engage more? I gave two weeks notice, but was told part of the way through to not come in any more. I still had work…
80: New Team Leads and Constant Follow Up
Oct 29, 2017 • 31 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: How do I keep up with new tech as a team lead? I manage a team. A manager from a different team wants me to run everything I do in my team by him. What do I do? Jamison mentions this by Charity Majors on…
79: Story Point Misses and Measuring Productivity
Oct 19, 2017 • 38 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: It seems like my teams always miss their story point commitments. Is this normal? How do you change it? How do you actually measure developer productivity? The article comparing research on productivity…
78: Endless Rewrites and Fake Deadlines
Oct 13, 2017 • 27 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: We’ve re-written the project I’m on 10 times without launching. What should I do? I worked hard to hit a deadline, only to find out the deadline was moved. How do I avoid this in the future? We talked a…
77: Boss Wants Me To Speak and The 2% Raise
Oct 4, 2017 • 35 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: My boss wants me to speak at conferences, but I’m very new to software. What should I do? How do I get more than a 2% raise? That is the company average. We talked about conferences a bit more way back in…
76: Writing Goals and Firing Jokes
Sep 25, 2017 • 30 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: My organization requires me to set goals for myself. What advice do you have for writing good technical and non-technical goals? My managers openly joke about firing people all the time. What should I do?
75: Self-Promotion For Wallflowers and Moving in a Year
Sep 19, 2017 • 34 min
This week Jamison and Dave answer these questions: What are some good ways for people who aren’t good at self-promotion to promote themselves? I’m moving to Europe in a year. How much notice should I give my company that I’m leaving? Way back in episode…
74: Switching Languages Without A Pay Cut and A Missed Negotiation
Sep 11, 2017 • 36 min
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: Do I need to take a pay cut when switching languages? I was promoted…
73: A Rampant Rewriter and Overexplainers
Aug 31, 2017 • 39 min
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: A developer on my team has been rewriting my code under the guise of…
72: The Micromanaging CEO and The Only Developer
Aug 17, 2017 • 29 min
Jamison and Dave answer these questions: My CEO is micromanaging the developers. What do I do? I’m about to take a job as the only developer at a company. How do I handle working without technical coworkers?
71: Informal Leadership and Dealing With Burnout
Aug 14, 2017 • 41 min
Jamison and Dave answer these questions: I’m sometimes an informal lead on project teams. How do I help the team get stuff done as a peer? How do I deal with burnout after an extended period of crunch time? Jamison mentions the blog post by Jamis Buck…
70: Appraisal-Driven Development and Meeting Creep
Jul 28, 2017 • 32 min
Jamison and Dave answer these questions: I’m a new team lead with a team member who is very appraisal-driven. How do I deal with them? Have you ever experienced meeting-creep? What do you do about it? Jamison mentions the 37 signals blog post on the…
69: A Know-It-All Lead and Selling Your Boss on Remote Work
Jul 21, 2017 • 38 min
Jamison and Dave answer these questions: My supervisor is a know-it-all who needs to be the smartest person in the room. How do I deal with it? I want to move to another city and work remotely. How do I convince my boss to let me?
68: Paying Your Dues and Non-technical Hobbies
Jul 13, 2017 • 43 min
Jamison and Dave answer these questions: It’s been a year and I still haven’t touched the codebase. What should I do? All my hobbies revolve around computers. How do I develop other interests? Jamison mentioned Dan Luu’s article on how bad teams are…
67: Graduate School and Asking Good Questions
Jul 7, 2017 • 44 min
Jamison and Dave answer these questions: Should I get a Masters in Computer Science? How do I ask good questions?
66: Nepotism and Minimum Junior Requirements
Jun 29, 2017 • 22 min
Jamison and Dave talk about these questions: My cousin is a manager at my employer. How do I avoid nepotism? I’d like to become a developer. What are the minimum requirements for a junior developer? When will I be “good enough” to get a job as a junior…
65: Left In The Dust and Imposter Syndrome
Jun 22, 2017 • 39 min
Jamison and Dave talk about these questions: I have a great, comfortable job that doesn’t push me very hard. How do I deal with worrying about being left in the dust? How do I deal with imposter syndrome?
64: Negative Peer Reviews and On Call
Jun 15, 2017 • 37 min
Jamison and Dave talk about these questions: How direct should I be in a peer review of a coworker who I really dislike? How do I convince developers to go on call?
63: (Rerun) Management Snobs and Two Bosses
Jun 8, 2017 • 24 min
Jamison and Dave were out this week, so here is a DEEP CUT from the archives. This originally aired as episode 41. How do I deal with someone who says their job (management) is so much harder than my job (engineering)? How do I deal with a two-boss…
62: Many Meetings and Surviving an Acquisition
May 31, 2017 • 29 min
Jamison and Dave answer these two questions: I’m in too many meetings. How do I guard my own productivity? How do I make sure I’m not sidelined when my company acquires another company?
61: Product Managers and Notifications
May 25, 2017 • 34 min
We answer these two questions: What should developers know about product management? I have TOO MANY notifications interrupting me all the time. What do I do?
60: Office Arrangements and Disarming A Code Owner
May 17, 2017 • 35 min
We answer these two questions: What is the best seating arrangements for software developers? How do I disarm my CTO who is emotionally attached to his code?
59: Buying Training and Unrelated Experience
May 11, 2017 • 30 min
Thanks to all the people who pointed us to the Single Level of Abstraction Principle which we obliquely referred to in episode 57. We answer these two questions: How can I convince management to pay for developer training? Should I mention unrelated…
58: Dropping Out and Interview Prep (Rerun)
May 2, 2017 • 41 min
Dave and Jamison were out this week, so we have a re-run of a DEEP CUT for you. This originally aired as episode 18. We answer these two questions: I have a part-time job as a developer while I’m still in school. Should I drop out and just work full time?…
57: Disliking Management and Difficult Co-workers
Apr 25, 2017 • 34 min
I’ve been pushed in to doing management tasks I really don’t enjoy. What do I do? How do I handle a co-worker who I really struggle to get along with? Dave and Jamison answer these questions:
56: Keeping Meetings On Track and Designer-centric Culture
Apr 18, 2017 • 30 min
How do I keep meetings on track? I work in an agency with a designer-centric culture. How do I make myself heard? Dave and Jamison answer these questions:
55: Ng-Conf Live Episode
Apr 11, 2017 • 34 min
It’s a special ng-conf live episode! Dave and Jamison answer these questions in front of a live audience: When you go freelancing, do your coding skills atrophy? What is something you wish you knew about freelancing before you started? I met all my…
54: Sneaky Contractors and Job Titles
Apr 4, 2017 • 41 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Our codebase is really bad, and management hired a contractor behind our backs to rewrite it. What should I do? How important are job titles when looking for a new job? Here is the Khan Academy Engineering Ladder…
53: Bait and Switch and Informing Your Manager
Mar 29, 2017 • 29 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I was hired for one thing, but ended up doing something very different that I don’t enjoy. What do I do? How do I tell my manager that I’m moving into management on another team?
52: Slowness Guilt and I Have No Side Projects
Mar 21, 2017 • 26 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I feel guilty about how slow I’m working. What should I do? I’d like to find a job, but I don’t have any completed side projects or an interesting GitHub profile. How can I explain this?
51: Junior Scrum Master In Trouble And Jamison Has No Degree
Mar 15, 2017 • 31 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I’m a junior developer on a team of seniors, and I’m also the Scrum Master. Our team has lots of problems. What do I do? Jamison openly talks about not finishing his degree. How did he put it on his resume or…
50: I Didn’t Quit and Manager of Zero People
Mar 7, 2017 • 25 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: I didn’t quit my job. Did I mess up? I was hired to manage a team, but it is actually just me. What do I do?
49: Candidate Plagiarism and a Tightwad Employer
Feb 28, 2017 • 27 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: What do I do if I suspect my co-worker plagiarized my homework assignment in their own interview? My employer is making me provide my own laptop. Is this normal? We mention The Joel Test. Also remember to tweet…
48: Quitting a Death March & Am I Underpaid
Feb 21, 2017 • 32 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: When and how do you quit a company that is on a death march? How do I find out if I’m underpaid?
47: Speaking Up In A New Job and Personal Issues
Feb 14, 2017 • 30 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How soon into a new job is it appropriate to raise concerns? What do you do when issues in your personal life affect your work? Thank you to Algolia for sponsoring this episode. Check out their job posting at…
46: My New Crappy Job and Youth vs the Status Quo
Feb 7, 2017 • 40 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How do I deal with my new job that turns out to be crappy? How do I know how hard to push back against more experienced engineers when suggesting a new idea? Thank you to Algolia for sponsoring this episode. Check…
45: RAPID FIRE and Micromanagers
Jan 28, 2017 • 24 min
It’s our first RAPID FIRE episode, where we answer a bunch of questions rapid-ish-ly. Why do I get passed up for developer jobs? Should I take this high-paying job even though it’s a scary change? Should I quit my first job after five years? We also…
44: Discussing Firing and Writing Job Postings
Jan 25, 2017 • 34 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: When I let someone go, should I tell them the reason why? How do I write a good job description? We mention Julia Evans’ blog post A litmus test for job descriptions in the second question.
43: Internship Costs and CS Interview Questions
Jan 16, 2017 • 40 min
Dave and Jamison answer these questions: What do internships cost companies? How do you feel about asking hard technical computer science questions in interviews? The second question was prompted by this tweet: In 20 years of engineering I've never said,…
42: Bootcamp Job Hopping and Cultural Reliability
Jan 2, 2017 • 30 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Should I switch jobs to my fourth job within two years of graduating from a bootcamp? What non-technical practices and cultural attributes improve software reliability?
41: Management Snobs and Two Bosses
Dec 28, 2016 • 24 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How do I deal with someone who says their job (management) is so much harder than my job (engineering)? How do I deal with a two-boss situation where I am one of the bosses?
40: Office Visibility and New Tech
Dec 21, 2016 • 33 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How can I encourage my team to be more visible in the office? How do I learn new technologies without going through a noob phase?
39: Brilliant Jerks and One on Ones
Dec 12, 2016 • 30 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How do I deal with engineers who are skilled technically but rude and demeaning? What should I talk about in one on ones with my manager or reports? We also cite Questions for our first 1:1, a blog…
38: Going Over Heads and Firing Just After Hiring
Dec 5, 2016 • 34 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: When is it appropriate to go over someone’s head? Should I fire the new engineer that we just hired (and who relocated to take the job)?
37: VC Funding and Internal Presentations
Nov 29, 2016 • 31 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How does venture capital work, and how does it affect me? How do I give great presentations at work?
36: Unlimited Vacation and Enforcing Best Practices
Nov 22, 2016 • 27 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: What do you think of unlimited vacation policies? How do I enforce coding best practices? Show notes, because Jamison is feeling ambitious: The Netflix culture slides we mentioned pylint, the…
35: Attracting Talent and Quitting Responsibly
Nov 15, 2016 • 40 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How can I attract talent? How do I quit without burning bridges?
34: Do Certifications Help and How Can I Avoid Avoidance?
Nov 7, 2016 • 29 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Do certifications help me? How can I solve an avoidance problem?
33: Damaging Your Credibility and Meeting Potential Employers In School
Oct 31, 2016 • 33 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How can a developer damage their credibility online? How can I meet potential employers while I’m still in school?
32: Why Would You Do Contracting?
Oct 26, 2016 • 16 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer this question: Why would a developer leave a full time job to do consulting or contracting? It just so happens that Jamison did this a few months ago, and he shares his experience in making the transition.
31: Going In To Management and Knowing If A Job Is Worth Applying To
Oct 17, 2016 • 33 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: Should I go in to management? How do you know if a job is worth applying to?
30: Reaching Consensus and Code Editing Etiquette
Oct 8, 2016 • 40 min
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions: How should you reach consensus on a team? Should you always have consensus? What is the etiquette around editing code in a shared repository?
29: What Should I Do When Starting A New Job?
Oct 7, 2016 • 21 min
Literally the only episode that the advice “quit your job and get a better one” doesn’t apply. Dave and Jamison answer the question: What should I do when starting a new job?
28: How Long Should I Stay At My Job and How Do I Help Junior Developers Improve
Sep 26, 2016 • 34 min
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…
27: Writing Great Resumes and Pushing Back on Non-Engineering Tasks
Sep 19, 2016 • 42 min
In episode 27, Jamison and Dave answer these questions: How do I write a great resume? Do you really need a resume these days? How important is formatting and good design? What content should be on your resume? Should I push back on non-engineering tasks…
26: Communicate Your Efforts and I Told You So
Sep 12, 2016 • 41 min
In episode 26, Jamison and Dave answer these question: How do you make sure people know about your good work? See Matt Zabriskie’s great post for background on this. We also mentioned Do Things, Write About It. How do you get your point across effectively…
25: Understanding the Business and Managing Without Being a Developer
Sep 5, 2016 • 38 min
In episode 25, Jamison and Dave answer these question: How do I understand the business side better? Analysis of tabs vs spaces How does your business make money? Just ask your CEO/manager Kill the myth of the pointy-haired boss Smaller companies expose…
24: Should I be a generalist or specialist developer?
Aug 29, 2016 • 37 min
In episode 24, Jamison and Dave answer this question: As a software developer, should I be a generalist or a specialist? This was inspired by a Twitter conversation here: https://twitter.com/iam_preethi/status/766758679743954944
23: Joining a startup as a CTO and asking for a raise
Aug 22, 2016 • 37 min
In episode 23, Jamison and Dave answer these questions: You are asked to be a CTO of a start-up. What questions would you ask in order to decide whether to join, and what things would you give most attention to, if you do join? I REALLY want and deserve a…
22: Health insurance and contributing to open source projects
Aug 15, 2016 • 40 min
In episode 21, Jamison and Dave answer these questions: What’s up with all this health insurance jargon? How do I get started contributing to open source?
21: Giving work to interns and dealing with “dead weight” developers
Aug 8, 2016 • 33 min
In episode 21, Jamison and Dave answer these questions: What kind of work should interns be given? How do you handle developers who are dead weight?
20: Stories from people who got fired and doing effective code reviews
Aug 1, 2016 • 30 min
In episode 20, Jamison and Dave share some stories from people who have been fired. We also answer this question: How do I make code reviews more effective? It feels like reviewers fit into 2 categories: either they are too quick and superficial, or they…
19: Firing someone for a coding mistake and getting demoted
Jul 25, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 19, Jamison and Dave answer these questions: Would you ever fire someone over a coding mistake? For example, should you empathize with ignorance and explain how SQL injection works or is the mistake so basic as to be intolerable. Would you…
18: Dropping out of college and preparing for interviews
Jul 18, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 18, Jamison and Dave answer these questions: I’m a computer science major who still has a couple years of school left. I also have a part time job doing web development. I love what I’m learning and doing at work to the point that I question if…
17: Side project ideas and getting fired
Jul 4, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 17, Jamison and Dave answer these questions: From listener Greg Harrison: I want to build a side-project, but my lack of coming up with a good idea saps my motivation. Do you guys have any tips? Have you ever been fired? What happened? How do…
16: Dealing with recruiters and learning new things without frustration
Jun 27, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 16, Jamison and Dave answer these questions: From listener David Renne: What’s the best way to talk to random LinkedIn recruiters, recruiter calls and emails? I prefer the reverse lookup apps to determine if an unrecognized phone number looks…
15: Working with non-technical people and keeping up with the latest technology (with Brad Green)
Jun 20, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 15, Jamison and Dave join Brad Green, engineering director at Google and Angular team manager, to answer these questions: How do I deal with non-technical people at work? I often get questions that put me into a position where I have to explain…
14: Web developer prejudice and legacy code
Jun 7, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 14, Jamison and Dave answer these questions: Since I am primarily a web developer, I often find there is a bit of developer prejudice, against web developers from software engineers of other categories. Often I find they think I am not capable…
13: Dealing with a ‘yes’ boss and the difference between contract and permanent positions
May 30, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 13, Jamison and Dave answer these questions: What should you do about a boss, or in my case ‘solution architect’, who won’t push back to the client and just keeps sacrificing quality of the product to push more features out? What’s the…
12: Making friends at work and how to be good at being managed
May 23, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 12, Jamison, Dave, and special guest Ann Harter answer these questions: How do I make friends at work? Should I? I hear a lot about being a good manager but not much about being managed. How do I do that?
11: Negotiating offers and dealing with an oblivious boss
May 16, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 11, Jamison and Dave answer these questions: I’m looking for a new job. How do I negotiate to get a better offer? How do you deal constructively with a boss who is well-intentioned, reasonably nice and intelligent, but incompetent, oblivious,…
10: Mentors and Stock Options
May 9, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 10, Jamison and Dave answer these questions: How about an episode about mentoring? Why is it important, how do we do it, and how do we find the right mentor for us? How do stock options work? How can I tell whether an offer with stock options…
9: Deadlines and Titles
May 2, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 9, Jamison, Dave, and special guest Layne Mosely answer these questions: As a software developer, is it better to put an aggressive deadline on myself? Or should I let it be open ended? What are the effects of these two approaches on me and my…
8: Work life balance and on-boarding new engineers
Apr 25, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 8, Jamison and Dave answer these questions: How do you achieve work life balance? Do you have any strategies that work for you? Any bad examples from your own lives? How do you on-board new engineers?
7: Finding meaning and quitting your job
Apr 18, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 7, Jamison and Dave answer these questions: How do I quit my job? What’s the process? How do I avoid burning bridges? What will my employer expect from me? How do benefits work? I’m worried my job is not meaningful? Am I just cranking out code…
6: Speaking at Conferences
Apr 11, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 6, Jamison and Dave answer this question: I’d like to do some public speaking. How do I get accepted to speak at conferences? How do I give good talks once I’m there?
5: Developer Compensation
Apr 4, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 5, Jamison and Dave answer this question: What are common ways developers are compensated? Do developers usually get a bonus? Stock options?
4: Should I build my personal brand?
Mar 31, 2016 • 25 min
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…
3: What to look for in a dev team
Mar 21, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 3, Jamison and Dave answer two questions: What should I look for in a dev team? 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…
2: Influencing your team and dealing with anger
Mar 14, 2016 • 25 min
In episode 2, Jamison and Dave answer two questions: I work on a team, and I am not the team lead. I have lots of ideas for how to do things better. How can I influence my team without being the team lead, or without stepping on his or her shoes? How do…
1: Startup Opportunities and Switching Jobs
Mar 7, 2016 • 25 min
Welcome to Soft Skills Engineering, where we answer your questions about non-technical topics in software engineering. Come get some wisdom, or at least some wise cracks. In episode 1, Dave and Jamison answer two questions: I’m a developer who gets…