Being Geek
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.    



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.


Build Awesome Command-Line Applications in Ruby

Author: David B. Copeland
Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf
Pages: 225
ISBN: 978-1934356913
Audience: Ruby Developers
Rating: 2
Reviewer: Mike James

Command-Line applications! If you think that the GUI is the only way to do it, this book might have something to teach you - or not..

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Fundamentals

Author: Itzik Ben-Gan
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Pages: 448
ISBN: 9780735658141
Print: 0735658145
Kindle: B00JDMPI0I
Audience: Beginner T-SQL developers
Rating: 5
Reviewer: Ian Stirk

A well-known SQL Server expert explains the fundamentals of T-SQL, how does he fare?

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 August 2010 )

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