First month of 2019 has already passed and now it’s already 3rd day of Febuary 2019. First of all, I have to say I am kind of proud of myself for achieving one of my 2019 resolution which is to finish one book every month. It is a almost a 800 pages book and I spent most of my commute time and leisure break time to finish the whole book. Like I said earlier in the post, my another aim was to keep writing, and here it is, my second post of the year, which will be my thoughts and review of this book “Complete Software Developer Career Guide” written by John Somnez.
(I still find myself hesitate and stuck at time of writing - I care a lot of the words that I use and the sentence structure and such, maybe I shouldn't worry too much and write more freely. This ain’t technical blog or professional book, the idea of writing post in consistent manner is not just to publish what is written, but rather more on practicing and improving my writing and organizationg skills, condensing thoughts and expressing it well. So I probably might want to loose up a bit here…)
Anyway, back to the review itself. This book is a concise version of the software developer’s career guide (… forgive me for literally just phrasing the book title here…). One thing I like about this book is that John (the author) wrote it as though he is telling you right in front of you - you can feel his presence and sort of hearing his voice through the words. You will probably have more conceptual image of him if you watch his Youtube videos as well. Lots of things that he wrote in the book are actually my career point of view, knowing that the path that I am going through is not much different than other successful people makes me relieve and feel good about my self-growth. The beginning of this book is kind of long and dull, not exactly boring though. Basically he is just trying to convince you to keep on reading so that you will get to the best part (all aspect of software development) and later on be motivated enough to begin or carry on the developer's path. There are a lot of links to other books that he recommended and those recommended books are very popular that every developer should read them at least once. Noticing that reading once is merely enough, some good books worth reading multiple times as what he suggested.
The other point that he kept mentioning is to have a plan and stick with it. Regardless of how small or subtle it is, if you keep working on it, you will still be beneficial from it as long as your plan is not something bad, like stealing money or something like that. Alsom this book emphasizes on learn by doing. If you just learn without processing what you learn, chances are whatever you read or learn is just going to be a waste anytime soon. In contrast, if you gets your hand dirty and do it on your own, the next time you ever face the same or similar problems, you will be able to get down to it and resolve it quickly. Another thing is to learn how to learn quickly and effectively and if we drills down to it, that goes with a plan. As you can see, a plan is all you ever need. When we fail to plan, we plan to fail. It's such a cliche, just trust the process, trust yourself in this.
For me, even though I know my plan is to keep reading and writing, but I don't have a solid plan yet. Let's say that my goal is to be successful in my career. How can I get started? What book to read first? What kind of post should I write and focus on? Should I enroll in online course or just learn from Youtube? What is timeline to reach certain goal? There are many doubts in my mind right now, but let's not to worry too much and take one step at a time. For example, one of my plans is to finish one technical book every month. If you are unsure and confused as I am earlier, just find a book and start reading. For starter, I recommend this book and that it will get yourself started and you will be exploring a brand new world (if you are just like me who don't quite understand the whole software development aspect). As long as you are willing to give in your best effort, you will be gradually advancing towards success. Trust me, this book will be a good start, at least this is what I tried and found it so.
Some of the things that mentioned in the book are not easy to accomplish though. For example, he mentioned how beneficial it is to build your professional network, go to social events and make new connections because you wouldn't know who might be a good hand for you to get you something and achieve goals ultimately. I consider myself as a socially awkward guy, though I am not really that socially awkward, it is just that I am not a big fan of meeting new people just for the sake of building network connection. I just don't feel comfortable to push myself doing something that I might not enjoy. Also, side project might seem impractical for someone who has a job. Lack of time is one of the reasons, I would rather spend my time on reading, writing and other stuff. I have done side projects before and I know that it is pretty time consuming and yet the project would not generate extra income either. Though we would learn faster by doing, but I feel like the time spent can be used for other better things (depending on what you think is better for you in terms of personal growth).
There are some very good advices from John regarding to career advancement too. The art of communication like how to deal with your boss and colleague. It got me into some serious thinking as well. Anyone is replaceable no matter how much you think you are valuable to the company. It’s just a matter of time for you to be replaced by someone else, and don’t you worry about your absence will cripple the team progress because it mostly won’t. Your work effort is just business. You got paid for what you contribute to the company, nothing more and nothing less. Another thing that he emphasized on is to focus on career growth and have own judgement to make wise decisions. Do not tie yourself to a company though. If you really are a valuable asset to the company, you will be valuable in another company too. As a result, all you ever need to focus on is to make sure you are constantly improving your skills and abilities, pouring all in while at work and do your best.
Alright, let’s get to the technical part of the book. What programming language to learn? Why is PHP the best programming language (lol)? Should you learn web development? What is API? What do backend developers do? What about full-stack developer? Is video game development a good choice? Agile development vs traditional waterfall? Scrum vs Kanban? Black-box testing, white-box testing, acceptance testing, automated testing, regression testing, functional testing and etc.? Heard of test driven development and unit testing? Git vs CVS? Any idea on continuous integration? How to debug code? How to maintain code? … There are answers (or opinions) in the book already, it is good to know what are the common aspects that one developer will get involved in. Though it doesn’t provide you a thorough explanation on everything that is mentioned in the book, but it will definitely give you a general idea of what a software development is. Of course like I said, reading book is just for starter only. You still need to practice more and get involved more. Another aspect of being in software development industry is to be a generalist and specialist at the same time. What it means is that not only you need to know most of the things that I listed above, you also need to a pro in certain field or area. You might a Java professional, but you also need to explore other software development related areas as well. Eventually, you might want to become a full-stack developer will a focus on your primary skillsets. As what I will put it, it might make it easier for you to connect all the dots and link them altogether and form a broader map of knowledge, as what John has it referred as: T knowledge.
Well, I am not going over all the aspects in this book. If you like to know more, go read it. If you sign up for Kindle Unlimited, it is free to read too! I am not related to John Somnez at all, I am just finding what he said makes a lot of sense to me. Don’t take my words for it, go read it yourself and see if that’s true.
That's all for now. Thanks for reading!
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