The Complete Software Developer's Career Guide: How to Learn Programming Languages Quickly, Ace Your Programming Interview, and Land Your Software Developer Dream Job Paperback – July 13, 2017
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Are you just starting? - Then this is for you! It will save you countless hours of frustration and thousands of dollars. John explains well different effective methods of becoming a software developer, such as: going to college, attending coding boot camps or teaching yourself. As a self-taught programmer, I have extremely enjoyed the section about self-teaching. John also will teach you an important strategy of learning, that allows you to learn most of the things you will need as a professional developer only at a one fifth of the effort.
Are you looking for THAT first job in the software industry? - Then this is for you! John will teach you different ways of entering into the software industry, such as starting with an internship, getting a full-time job without experience, switching from other career and getting your foot in the door via different means. John will tell you how to build your resume, go through the interview process and how to negotiate your salary. As well, you will learn how to quit the job properly when you need it.
Already working in the industry and want to improve? - Then this is for you! John will tell you in detail about all the concepts in software engineering, starting from most important programming languages, different platforms and technologies, methodologies and techniques, and ending with how to sell your ideas, how to dress and how to be a leader.
Looking for ways to go beyond Software Engineering role? - Then this is for you! John shows different ways, how you, as a software engineer, can transcend being just an employee in some business. On how to build your name and become known to the software industry and even world. On how to meet new people and keep your skills up to date. On how to be in a leadership position, or even build your own business. On how to create a blog or go around the world and speak at the conferences.
And last but not least, John will give you a lot of resources and references to books that you can use to go even beyond all of that.
-- The writing style is horrible. It's basically written in bullet points, with a bunch of white space, and bolding. Take out all the unnecessary white space and this book is easily half it's current size. Throw in decent writing style and you'd get to a third its size.
-- Much of the stuff in here is incredibly basic. I presume if you've never left your parents' basement all this may be new stuff to you, but most of it is just "common sense", which again may not be as common as I think.
-- Much of the book seems like nothing more than advertising. Heck, there is an Amazon link to the book in the book. You've already bought it, why do you need a link to it?
-- The chapter on boot camps is non-sense and reads like an advertisement for boot camps. Before you sign-up for a boot camp, please, please, please talk to someone that attended one. Multiple people. And be highly skeptical of the glowing reviews that claim attending a boot camp was just shy of reaching nirvana. Boot camps vary greatly in quality and despite all the glowing reviews you'll see online, there are a lot of negative experiences that never get posted because of pressure from the boot camps themselves. Some boot camps even threaten legal action if you speak of them negatively anywhere on the Internet. Also, many boot camps these days instruct you not to put the boot camp on your resume because of the negative perception/experience employers have had with boot camps. Even "top" boot camps are doing this. I'll leave out names, but it should be evident which are the top boot camps if you're looking into attending one. I'm not saying there aren't good boot camps, but just cautioning you to do a LOT of research and investigative work before dropping $10k+ on what is essentially an intro to web development course.
-- Regarding hiring a resume writer, again, buyer beware. I just did such a thing through CareerCup, the site related to Hacking the Coding Interview, and for not a little money my new resume got a little wordsmithing and moved one section around on the page. Essentially no material change. So either I'm an awesome resume writer or I just had a really bad experience. Again, perhaps if you really have no idea how to even approach writing a resume, a resume writer might be a good investment. But I've compared my resume, that I wrote on my own by doing nothing more than following images of resume samples from an interwebs search, against samples pro writers are showing on their sites as samples of their work, and there is no material difference. So at least to start, save yourself the $500 mentioned in the book and find a good looking sample on the web and use that as a template.
-- I could go on...
I would say the only real benefit to this book is that is gives a high level summary of the major topics of finding a job and what you need to know to be a decent dev. But you can do this easily through reading blogs and such and copying/pasting into the word processor or note taker of your choice. That's the only reason I gave it 2 stars, for the summary.
Top international reviews
I'll admit I've been a follower of John's work for 2 and a half years now after having read the fantastic book Soft Skills: A Developer's Life Manual. Ever since then I would argue having implemented some of his advice my career has gone from strength to strength. The greatest strengths in his writing is that it pumps you up and gets you motivated.
While I don't agree with everything John has said in the book I would say I agree with 98% of it. I have over 10 years experience working in the software industry and echo a lot of his thoughts in many different areas including his discussion around bootcamps and whether University education these days is really the right option. There's also a fantastic section on how to learn anything quickly. Given John has developed 55 different Pluralsight courses in a short space of time I'm fairly confident he knows what he's doing...
Some may argue that the advice given in this book crosses over with a lot of John's online material at SimpleProgrammer.com, however, if you want it all organised in an easily digestible format this is the book to purchase. It's absolutely worth it's weight in gold.
Following John's advice I've built numerous blogs, spoken at conferences (through invites), been invited to webinars and been approached to produce online content. I've also received a promotion, increased salary by more than 25% during this time. Whilst I can't put everything down to John, because ultimately the buck stops with you, I can attribute his books for kick-starting my career into overdrive.
If you're stuck in a dead-end job, want to transfer over to a promising career as a software developer or simply want to give your current career a bit of an adrenaline kick then buy this book.
John makes no bones about the fact that building a successful career is hard work and requires dedication and drive. Instead he provides advice and techniques for maximising the returns on your effort investment. No punches are pulled in this book, and that's a good thing, John tells it like it is from his own experience.
The book is broken down in the sections targeted at different periods in a Developers career, from starting out to being an experienced professional. But don't think that, if like me, you have 15+ years experience you will only benefit from the latter sections. We can all benefit from reviewing our foundation technical knowledge - and our soft skills are no different. Even if the earlier sections show you that you are on the right track this is valuable information.
I've previously read John's "Soft Skills" book and while there was some cross-over with this one I am happy to have them both on my bookshelf - this book taking some aspects to a higher level.
Even if you are a complete novice and are interested in software development, or you are an already experienced professional, John's book will point out the concrete things you need to be aware of if you'd like to advance your career. You will have a battle plan to achieve whatever it is you desire career wise. Also important to note is that you'll develop the mindset you need to be successful. Much of the advice can be applied to other areas of your life. In the end, it is up to you to follow through the action points.
There is of course some overlap with what you'd learn from John's YouTube videos and blog, but the book does a great job in centralising and structuring all of this information.
I believe software will become an even more competitive domain and this book will help you stay "ahead of the game" so to say.
Lastly, what I like about John's style of teaching is that he's using the power of personal example. Everything he recommends has been personally tested by himself. As he likes to say, by following his advice, it's almost impossible not to succeed.
Watched few of John's videos on Youtube and would say that he is a person who should be everyones mentor. The tips and the way of thinking are just incredible.
Love the idea that he shares all of this information and tries to give us the tricks to make it easier for us.
Don't think about it. Just buy the book!
Whilst many other books out there that are essentially motivational books discuss similar concepts and get you just as riled up, it's refreshing to read one that is so intimately tied to the mythical world of Software Development.
The book is easy to read (he found 'his voice' after all), and despite being lengthy in content it doesn't actually take long as there's nothing particularly complicated to parse.
And that's the thing, at first I wondered why there wasn't more technical content, or at least more in depth content on gaps in most developers knowledge, but then I remembered the actual title of the book and it made perfect sense. Whilst a lot of time is spent focusing on the (very) high-level overview of the technical aspects, these sections are more for the complete novice than someone who is already a developer.
The book aims to give you a blueprint, a rough guide to how you could shape your career more effectively.
The reason John defers the in-depth details to authors of other books (all of which are great recommendations by the way) is because he is playing the role of a mentor.
Instead of hoarding the knowledge and what, to a lot of developers, appear to be 'secrets', he is lifting the lid and guiding you down a path that will ultimately, should you 'Take Action', lead you to becoming a better version of yourself, at least in your career.
Now of course I don't agree with everything that was said in the books, and I feel more could be said about the cutting-edge world of development, but I give this book 4 stars because there is nothing else like it (to my knowledge), and it really is a (mostly) Complete Software Developer's Career Guide.
I am a teacher and lecturer and can program in many languages, but have never worked as a software developer or produced any software commercially other than website development. Ironically, I teach students who go on to become software developers.
One of the reasons I haven't worked as a software developer is because I wouldn't know where to start other than at the bottom of the ladder - given that I already know how to program and have lots of theoretical experience, I needed advice on all the other stuff that needs to be known. This book appears to cover everything and I can see myself referring back to this book for reference after I have finished it.
A pleasant surprise was the inclusion of a full resource kit to carry out self skill checks, career planning, cheatsheets and much more. This has given me belief that I could actually be a software developer in the near future.
If you are not quite sure still, look at a sample to see how useful and how easy reading it is. Definitely recommend.
There is relevant content in the book for people who are brand new to software development and people like myself who are Developers looking to push themselves to new heights in their careers. The topics I found most interesting and relevant were the ones on office politics (chapters 41-47) and the whole of section 5 which is aimed at advancing your career through various means.
This book has well defined and structured chapters that’s obviously aimed at users so they can quickly dig into each topic separately rather than read this cover to cover.
The audio version is great too!
If you follow John's work, some chapters of this book will look familiar to you. However there is something to learn regardless of your level of skills and experience as the topics covered are so thorough and wide.
This is a heavy book (the digital edition has made my Kindle heavier) so it is not the type of book you want to read cover to cover in one day. This is a guide you want to come back to every now and then to reinforce the great ideas.
He is a little "OTT" for my reserved British taste! but his no bull advice has an underlying truth and honesty about it. Make no mistake: the message is effort == reward and be prepared to fail your way to success.
If you act on only half of the advice in these pages, you'll be better off and better prepared to steer your future in a direction that makes you happy.
BTW: I also recommend his podcast - inspiring and amusing at the same time.
It’s not only for younglings, old sea dogs can learn a thing or two as well. It get’s you out of your bubble and opens your eyes to other possibilities.
In my opinion, this book will surpass Soft Skills, it lives up to its title, it’s a complete software developer’s career guide. Definitely, a must read.