book review: The Passionate Programmer by Chad Fowler

I first heard of The Passionate Programmer about 1 year ago through Rasmus (@rasmuschristens), my team lead at that time, he recommended the book after hearing Chad Fowler in a conference and described it as highly inspiring. After all this time, I finally found some time to read it, and I must say I was also inspired. 

Fowlers main point throughout the book is that rarely remarkable careers appear by chance. He then proceeds to give tips/life hacks/job hacks that aim to put you on a fast track to achieve a remarkable career.

The books is divided in five different parts – each part contains many tips on how to improve areas of your career. I will briefly describe a bit of what is in each part:

  1. Choosing your market – tips about what skills you probably should be investing time in order to secure progress in your career, these of course are not specific skills (more like: you should probably learn a technology which not much people yet now, etc);
  2. Investing in your product – in this case, the product is you and your career, these are small tips that can enhance your chances of landing nicer positions or jobs by improving your knowledge and technical skills;
  3. Executing – these are mainly tips on how to go about the daily grind in your job in the best way;
  4. Marketing… not just for suits – this part goes about how being highly technically skilled is not enough, Fowler provides some tips on to market yourself, in and outside your company, so that people can better acknowledge the work you have been doing;
  5. Maintaining your edge – this part is like the title says, tips to help you keep with the front runners and prevent becoming obsolete. 

All in all I found it quite interesting and inspiring. The book is simply written and is easy to follow, each part of the book is split into “tips” which typically start by a related lesson. Even though I found some tips throughout the book that I already knew about and was using in my daily life, there was plenty of lessons learned. The cool part is that the lessons come with concrete tips that can be used to improve your career, so you just need to go out there and start to implement them. I recommend this book to developers in the start of their careers and also to the ones who might be getting too comfortable in their current jobs. 

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