Sunday, 26 September 2010

Chad Fowler - The Passionate Programmer

Software development to me is a career that offers an excellent opportunity to be passionate about what you do. On the flip side it's also easy to slip into a mundane routine buried beneath layers of bureaucracy in which case your passion fades and instead to the outstanding career you dreamed of you become an average programmer drifting from day to day ticking boxes to climb a corporate ladder in the belief that titles and promotion are the keys to a safe job and happiness. Often this is not the case many climb the ladder only to find that they were only really happy while writing code.

If this sounds familiar this is a book you must read! In the music industry recording artists constantly reinvent themselves to stay relevant in modern times, this is what has separated the one hit wonders from musical legends that last for decades constantly massing new fans and producing new material. The same rings true with software development. The book has an example of a person pinning their entire career on becoming a J2EE architect the book points out do you really want to pigeonhole yourself into a specific technology from one specific company?

Another thing developers my fret about is loosing their jobs to cheaper overseas competition, the book offers very good advice to this prospect by reminding us that the rapid changing nature of IT was why many of us got into programming in the first place due to the constant challenge of learning something new. The book suggests embracing the change to hone your skills and constantly critique where you're at so that you can be ready for the next change. Just as a company wouldn't try and sell outdated stock make sure your not caught trying to sell yourself based outdated or unsellable skills.

The author Chad has a very clear writing style and his analogies between his career as a programmer and his earlier days as a Jazz musician are informative and an enlightened way to look at our careers as software developers. I can't recommend the book highly enough its full of excellent advice and is a very easily read book that won't take too much of your time but will give you so much.

The book will help you get into the mindset of always looking to improve adding value to yourself in such away that the outstanding career you dreamed of can become a reality. As the saying goes "A rolling stone gathers no moss" ensure you're not gathering moss. 

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