Reading – Soft Skills: The Software Developer’s Life Manual
A well-written and well-covered guidance book for software engineers. Putting some distance from technical topics, it focuses on general productivity and career-developments useful for software engineers. Set of small chapters are providing good starting points for variety of topics. Also, essences are extracted from many good books (Rework, The Power of Habit, The Willpower Instinct, etc.) which guides you to further details.
Some of my notes are,
- Employment and Career
- One viewpoint is considering your employer as customer and think on what you’re offering to them. Also, market your offerings to the current employer or other possible future employers.
- In many cases hiring managers make decisions based on the social aspects of candidates rather than the technical aspect of the sill itself. Blogging and social media presence or referral from other engineer is important.
- Freelancing is one way to gain controllable career, but normally you need to earn twice as your salary as employee, considering the extra cost for your own business. Standard hourly rate in U.S. can be 50 dollars per hour and you may charge 100 dollars for example.
- It’s important to specialize. If you have specialized skill-set, it’s easier to sell. For example, the author has experience in building automated-testing framework, and selling a cost-benefit compared with building from scratch without specialized knowledge.
- Professionalism and Improving Skill
- Consistency is a key for professional work. Making a habit makes difference.
- Professional needs to identify when to say no. The client and software engineer can be like doctors and patients. The doctors don’t just do what patients asked to do. Analyze the issue and propose appropriate methods.
- Teaching and mentoring someone is a good method for learning which provides reorganizing process of your understandings. Don’t be too afraid to tell your knowledge confidently even when you’re not sure if it’s correct or not.
- Becoming accountable to yourself without relying on external trigger of motivation. Having a internal trigger provides more consistent and controllable behaviors.
- Breaking down tasks into smaller chunks makes it easier to start working on it, as represented as the structure of this book.