BOOKS: The Passionate Programmer and the Nomadic Developer
Gosh, when I write/say the titles of these two books together in one line it looks like the title of some kind of computer-geek romance novella. (maybe it will sell more books that way :-)
Anyway, I'm mentioning these two books together because they both relate to subject of managing your career if you are a professional software developer, and they are both complementary to one another.
The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development, by Chad Fowler, is really the revised edition of an earlier work by him under a different book title. It's from the Pragmatic Programmers, so that by itself practically guarantees its pretty darn good. The blurb for the book is pretty darn accurate too: "This book is about creating a remarkable career in software development. In most cases, remarkable careers don’t come by chance. They require thought, intention, action, and a willingness to change course when you’ve made mistakes. Most of us have been stumbling around letting our careers take us where they may. It’s time to take control. This revised and updated second edition lays out a strategy for planning and creating a radically successful life in software development." Several excerpts are available from publisher's homepage for the book.
The Nomadic Developer: Surviving and Thriving in the World of Technology Consulting, by Aaron Erickson, is a must read for anyone considering becoming a software development consultant (or by anyone who recently became one). Chapter 6 - Surviving, is available as an online excerpt.
The "blurb" for this book is a bit long so I'll include only part of it here: "There are real advantages to being a consultant. You make contacts with a lot of different people; you get exposure to many industries; and most important, unlike a software developer in the IT department for a brick-and-mortar company, as a technology consultant, you are the profit center…so long as you are billing. Consulting can be hugely rewarding–but it’s easy to fail if you are unprepared. To succeed, you need a mentor who knows the lay of the land. Aaron Erickson is your mentor, and this is your guidebook. Erickson has done it all–from Practice Leadership to the lowest level project work. In The Nomadic Developer, he brings together his hardwon insights on becoming successful and achieving success through tough times and relentless change. You’ll find 100% practical advice and real experiences–his own and annotations from those in the trenches. In addition, renowned consultants–such as David Chappell, Bruce Eckel, Deborah Kurata, and Ted Neward–share some of their hard-earned lessons."
I don't need to tell anyone that we are in tough economic times with cuts and force reductions abounding and new jobs being scarce. Seems to me that getting both of these books together makes just plain good sense for anyone in our line of work these days.