Sunday, April 22, 2012

read: Being Geek: The Software Developer's Career Handbook (4 stars)

Being Geek: The Software Developer's Career HandbookBeing Geek: The Software Developer's Career Handbook by Michael Lopp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michael Lopp is the person behind the blog 'Rands in Repose', which explains the blog-like feel of this book. It may be presented as if it's a coherent guide to a career in the software industry. But it's clearly just an edited collection of articles on topics related to career, career management, and a management career. This is not really a weakness, but it's not always a strength, either. The book sometimes lacks flow.

A bigger weakness is that few of the articles really lead to any conclusion. Most will get you thinking about your own career or situation. This is good. Some also make solid suggestions for how be successful. This is better. But not all do. And even those that do are most relevent within the specific context of California's Silicon Valley during the first decade or so of the 21st century. In an industry that's always changing, career management is just as volatile.
The strength of the book comes in the voice of the author, Michael Lopp or Rands. He strikes a friendly, beleaguered tone that helps the reader identify with the situations and with the nuggets of advice being offered. Even though the advice is often more implied than spoonfed, I think most software developers will find something in here to help them in their working life, whether they are an individual contributor or a manager (or on their way to being a manager). Just read with a your own good judgement intact and use the articles as jumping off points for personal reflection.
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