Being Geek
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Being Geek
Author: Michael Lopp
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-0596155407
Aimed at: Developers contemplating becoming managers
Rating: 3
Pros: An entertaining insight into the software manager's perspective
Cons: Not straightforward career advice
Reviewed by: Sue Gee

If you expect this book to tell you something about being a software developer and how to negotiate career hurdles you may be disappointed.


I selected this book on the basis of its subtitle

"The Software Developer's Career Handbook"

and started out with the expectation that it would tell me something about being a software developer and how to negotiate career hurdles.

Having read the first few chapters I felt mystified and a little let down. The preface had altered me to the fact that author Michael Lopp harbors a preference for "nerd" as as label but is happy to use Geek, his editor's choice, as an equivalent and that the book itself stemmed from the Rands in Repose weblog, some of which goes back a decade.    


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Given the subtitle, and possibly my preconceptions that geeks are young and junior, I was disconcerted to find that topics such as crafting a resumée and making formal applications for a job just didn''t figure - in fact the word "job" hardly occurs as Lopp uses "gig" which carries with it a set of overtones.


So I employed a new strategy to try to understand the book and turned to the in the final part, "Your Next Gig". Here in chapters "A Deliberate Career" and "The Curse of Silicon Valley" I started to understand the author's motivation and to appreciate his main topic - how as a software developer to move into a management role and how to cope with issues you will inevitably face.

For me these chapters served as a key that made sense of the entire volume and I thereafter I enjoyed dipping into the books' forty short chapters.

The chapter headings tend to be cryptic - The Button, The Leaper, Werewolves, The Trickle List - but all is revealed as you start to read them and they contain many nuggets of good advice and plenty of entertaining insights into the workings of the various companies for which Lopp has worked - including Apple, Netscape and Symantec.

The viewpoint is that of a manager and will be appreciated by others who are contemplating swapping day-to-day coding for a management role. His experience points up why a career in the software industry is unlike working in any other environment and he explains it in an entertaining way.

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MySQL Cookbook, 3rd Ed

Author: Paul DuBois
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 836 
ISBN: 9781449374020
Print:1449374026
Kindle: B00M7EN798
Aimed at: MySQL developers
Rating: 5
Reviewed by: Kay Ewbank 

Is MySQL Cookbook the best book on MySQL? This latest edition certainly keeps up its reputation as the go-to reference.



How To Recruit And Hire Great Software Engineers

Author: Patrick McCuller
Publisher: Apress
Pages: 246
ISBN: 978-1430249177
Audience: New or inexperienced hiring managers
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Sue Gee

There are two sides to landing a job - this book is written for those who are trying to recruit developers.


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 August 2010 )
 
 

   
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