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Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596518387
ISBN-10: 0596518382
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dave Hoover is the Chief Craftsman at Obtiva where he helps lead Obtiva's Software Studio and apprenticeship program. Dave has been developing software since 2000, when he left a career in child and family therapy. In 2002, Dave read Pete McBreen's "Software Craftsmanship", which re-framed Dave's understanding of software development and how people become great software developers. Dave has become increasingly passionate about learning and has dedicated several years of his career to thinking, writing, and speaking about apprenticeship. Over the last couple years, on most days, you'd find Dave coding Ruby and Rails as the lead developer for Mad Mimi, one of his clients at Obtiva. Dave also enjoys all sorts of endurance sports.

Adewale Oshineye is an engineer at a little-known search engine named Google. This is a consequence of many deeply geeky evenings spent programming 8-bit computers when he was a child. When he grew up Adewale somehow fell into IT consultancy. His career at consultancies such as Thoughtworks gave him the chance to work on projects ranging from point-of-sale systems for electrical retailers to trading systems for investment banks. It also gave him a chance to learn from some of the most interesting software craftspeople in Western Europe. In those rare moments when he's not in front of a computer he can be found behind a digital camera somewhere in London.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (October 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596518382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596518387
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Being successful in IT means forever being committed to continual learning. But are there better ways to approach that learning? Are there times you get stuck when trying to move beyond what you already know? Do you find yourself somewhat fearful of moving outside your current level of expertise because you'll end up feeling stupid? Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineye have written what I consider to be an *excellent* book on learning patterns titled Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman . Though you may think the "aspiring software craftsman" limits this to people starting out, you'd be wrong. There is so much wisdom here that I'll likely be referring back to it for years to come.

Contents:
Software Craftsmanship Manifesto
Introduction
Emptying The Cup
Walking The Long Road
Accurate Self-Assessment
Perpetual Learning
Construct Your Curriculum
Conclusion
Pattern List
A Call For Apprenticeship
A Retrospective On The First Year Of Obtiva's Apprenticeship Program
Online Resources
Bibliography
Index

The authors start by defining exactly what "software craftsmanship" entails. Among many of their thoughts, they define it as a community of practice that encompasses values such as a growth mindset, the need to adapt and change, being pragmatic instead of dogmatic, and the belief that we should share what we know instead of hoarding that knowledge. These values along with the others they talk about point strongly back to the individual's responsibility to control their own path and direction, and that's where the learning patterns come in.
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Format: Paperback
"Apprenticeship patterns" was not on my Reading List, but dropped in my stack of books my accident. I decided to read the first couple of pages to see if its any good, and ended up finishing the whole book in a short time. I enjoyed reading it, it gave words to practices I've been following.

Apprenticeship patterns are patterns on how to improve your development skills over your career and gradually become a software craftsman. In consists of a bunch of chapters containing patterns. I couldn't find too much logic in grouping the patterns in this way, so myself ignored the chapter titles and just read the patterns.

The patterns have been mined and cataloged over the past 4 years. A lot of them originated from Dave's career move to software development and therefore many patterns are clarified with personal stories from Dave. They start with trivial patterns as Your First Language which gives you a start as a developer and dives into the harder ones asking you to Expose Your Ignorance and Be The Worst so that you can still learn.

My favorite pattern in the book was The Long Road which is an interesting analogy to learning forever. As eternal learners we need to learn to walk the Long (and never ending Road), as apprenticeship learning to walk the Long Road is key to continuously sharpening your skills. At least, I'll continue my journey on the Long Road.

The book is small and its a quick read. Its easy to read it in parts as it consists of patterns of each one-two pages. I was considering a 5 star rating as it is one of these books I finished in a short time because it kept me reading. Though decided to go to 4 as the book does what it does, but (as some other reviewers point out) there are also a bunch of other good software development career books.
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Format: Paperback
It's quite enjoyable to read through this book, especially for someone who got stuck at one point or another in their career and wanted a way out into a job that better fits their need. The book has excellent suggestions on networking with experts in the community, learning outside the box of one's job, and contributing back to the software community. The stories and examples are fun to read too. By the way, skimming through the book at first helps peak interest quite a bit before doing a cover to cover read.
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Format: Paperback
Short, concise, well-written, highly useful. Other books such as Chad Fowler's The Passionate Programmer cover similar things, but this book sits absolutely well in that company.

This book is a series of very short articles ("patterns") around specific things you can do to guide and improve your career as a software craftsman. The articles all follow the same template: discuss the context of an environment/situation you're in, lay out a problem you need to solve, then offer up a solution for you to apply to that problem. Many of the articles are interwoven, linking common ideas or useful concepts.

This book echoes a number of things in Passionate Programmer like the concepts of being the worst in your group (work with folks that are a LOT better than you so you'll learn more), but it's a very worthwhile read on its own.

Apprenticeship Patterns is particularly nicely done in that the authors don't push a specific path they expect you to follow. They lay out a number of options and encourage you to find the path that works best for you.

I also GREATLY appreciated the authors being pragmatic over dogmatic in their approach to software craftsmanship. Certain zealots in the craftsmanship movement have completely lost site of the primary purpose of our trade: delivering value to customers. In their section "Craft over Art" he authors specifically and emphatically point out that we need to deliver "value to customers over advancing your own self-interests." They don't promote getting sloppy with one's work, but emphasize doing your work well while keeping the folks in mind who are writing the checks.

All in all, this is a solid read.
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