Book review: The Passionate Programmer

It’s all about passion. The second edition of the book saw its title changed (it was called My Job Went To India) to something less depressing and more adequate to what we all should do: be passionate about our work and be happy to do it (it also applies to other job than developers!).

Content and opinions

The book consists of a lot of pieces of advice (the brand of Pragmatic Bookshelf, the publisher), not too many so as not to be bored at the end.

It starts with the field (i.e. language and technology) you may focus on. Either you want to be at the edge, or rely on a mature technology. It depends, but there are some specifics you should know if you want to bloom.
The second aspect/part is dedicated to your network: how do you get information and how do you give it? Who should you be working with? All these aspects help you be the best at what you do.
When you actually work, there are some advice to make you really essential to your company: speak your mind, read the leader’s one, make your job profitabe to your company, …
The fourth part is about marketing. It is perhaps surprising, but you have to sell yourself. You may be the best in your field, have an excellent network and are essential to your company, if it doesn’t know it, you’re screwed. Sell yourself, this will be also great if you want/have to switch jobs.
Your carrier path is not clear with all the technology changes, with the current economical situation. You have to ready yourself to this, which is what the last part is all about: prospects and your future.

Each time the chapter is clear and goes straight to the point. The content is also explained with music metaphors, as the author is also a musician. Other well-known people give their opinion on some chapters of the book, each time shedding a new light on our own situation.

Conclusion

Pragmatic advice starts with obvious advice. If the content seems rather obvious (especially if you want to be better at your job, you may have applied a lot of the pieces of advice of the book), it’s always good to have it reminded, as we tend to not see the forest of the trees.

The main idea is to be at the edge. Learn from others, listen to the trends and the people who make them, and act accordingly.

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