Most of my articles are about technical subjects, but being a developer is more than just typing code in a computer. Many of us were originally attracted to coding for the intellectual challenge, but to write code in real life you must also deal with the human factor. I had the chance to take a look at the early access version of the book Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manual by John Sonmez that is coming out today on Amazon. It does a good job to describe all those fuzzy parts of software development that we don’t always like to talk about.
The book starts off discussing the various career paths for a developer as an employee, as a freelancer or as an entrepreneur. It also goes on to explain how to market yourself as a software developer, which is my favorite part of the book. I started this blog last year to learn to communicate better, get out of my programmer’s cave and put myself out there more. John writes about going on even if it feels uncomfortable, which resonates a lot with me: I’ve always been shy, so I have to push myself before publishing something.
The rest of the book is more about having the right mindset and being in good shape physically, mentally and spiritually. I enjoy reading about productivity and learning and I was able to get a few new ideas. It also got me to try the Pomodoro technique again, which is great for days when you feel stuck. I mostly skipped over the end of the fitness section, since it is a bit overwhelming for me. This is one of my weak points: I eat well since I cook most of my food, but I’m just trying to get into the habit of doing a bit of yoga every day, along with gardening in the summer and walks in the winter. All the talk about muscle-building is a bit too much for now.
In conclusion, this book is the manual I wish I could give everyone that is starting out in software engineering. Even if you have a pretty good career already, the book covers such a large variety of subjects that you’re sure to get some interesting nugget of wisdom from it. It reminded me of many thing that I knew or thought I knew and could do better. If you want to improve yourself and your career in 2015, this is the book to do it!