Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Passionate Programmer

The fact that I published this proves how valuable is "The Passionate Programmer" by Chad Fowler. I am applying his advice of "Let your voice be heard" from the chapter "Marketing... Not just for suits". I already do roughly 80% of the things recommended in the book to guide you in a path of a great career. But what makes it unique is the fact that I agree with 100% of what it's saying and it pushes me to do some of that 20% I keep chickening out of doing.

If you already have a great career you would read this book at a Dreyfus  level of Expert. In such case I can't really tell how the expert to expert transfer of knowledge goes. You might enjoy the anecdotes, especially when they lead to metaphors back and forth between music and programming. It helped me do retrospectives on misbehaviors like in "Learn to love maintenance", so you might map errors in early years like when I desperately wanted to leave my team in 2008 to escape from legacy code.

The book is the second edition of "My job went to India: 52 Ways to save your job" and it was refactored to read more like 52 advices to make your software development career shine. It still has a lot of references to India since the author lived and worked there. For instance, the warning about "The South Indian monkey trap" is an eastern version of the boiling frog from "The Pragmatic Programmer". I do think however that it's more cruel because they actually do that to monkeys.

The book closes with the advice to "Have Fun". "Software development is both challenging and rewarding. It's creative like an art-form, but (unlike art) it provides concrete, measurable value". If you've chosen to become a software developer this book reassures you why you should feel lucky and offers advice on how to steer you career.

I didn't choose to be a software developer, I am a natural born programmer. I am not a geek, I just happen to have natural inclination to think in terms of programmable algorithms. That is what I enjoy the most and it feels as creative and cool as to be a rock n' roll guitar player. This book is about how to make it to the big gigs and perform at the highest level in your profession. To become a rock start doing what you love, programming.


  1. Nice review. What are the main things Fowler recommends doing besides having a blog? Is the list too long to list?

  2. Thank you :)

    Here is the table of content ...

    Some samples here too ...


  3. Way cool, I hadn't seen that, will have to pick it up. Thanks!

  4. I read 'my job went to india' back in the day but have completely forgotten it and don't seem to have a copy around anymore, I will have to order it.

    I think enjoyment is such a critical part of doing good work. But sometimes my ability to enjoy my job seems constrained by things beyond my control. It can be frustrating.