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Book Review: The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide

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Who is this guy, John Sonmez? Sonmez is this buff, wealthy dude(couldn’t think of better words) who says much of what he has gained from the software industry did not source from only his programming skills but also from his soft skills. He uses public speaking, blog writing, basic social skills & technical skills to make his career go above the typical programmer’s salary.

He recognizes books don’t make much money(they really don’t), public speaking does make money(if done well) and also blogs can increase influence plus they provide opportunities. In “The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide” he includes lessons on these topics which he relates as near essential. Reason being, his wealth did not come primarily from his development career. He states there is a ceiling or a max out of how high a programmers salary can increase and the only way to break that ceiling is with a combination of soft skills. 

The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide” comes with a free entrance to his webinar course for getting a job with a large company. It is interesting to note in his webinars he still does not focus heavily on programming as technical skills to be learned first. Lastly, take notice his first book on “Soft Skills” is the same book as “The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide” but it is for a different time and not as well written. Though the Complete Software guide is very well written in the Kindle edition.

Book format

John Sonmez wrote this book with the intention of providing an understanding of the software development sector that he wished he had when he started. He claims the book is for beginners, veterans and bystanders. After reading the book I believe the claim is valid. The book had lessons for beginners and veterans of development. 

Because of this much of what I read went over my head but at the same time much of it actually helped me quite a bit to know my place in the field. It is really a huge book. The word count is quite large but its okay to skip parts that are too advanced. The author mentions in the beginning of the book that the format is written out as if they were an anthology of blog posts. Chapters can be skipped, it can be read backwards, forwards or jumped around with no issue. Reason being each chapter is not related to the other in a chronological sense. Instead each chapter is like a blog post on a topic, independent of the rest.

Should you read this book?

This seems to be an essential book for those seeking to enter into the software industry. Why do I say this? I will start with seems. It is obvious that many developers have become successful without this book. Though it seems really important due to some of the details appearing to be very difficult to learn from actual experience. Many of these details can be left unseen for years and reshape a person’s career for better or for worse.

The details…

Some of the things shared in this book that appear important and hard to understand from experience itself is the insight given on the recruitment industry. He exposes how recruitment companies work, the role of LinkedIn in recruitment and why recruiters are so spammy. They are spammy even to the point they send false hopes to recipients of their messages by “offering” jobs for which they are not even remotely qualified. Without knowing how the recruitment industry works it is easy to get swallowed up by the whole thing on an endless job search for careers we are not prepared for at the moment.

Okay! Other details, he gives perspectives on the different languages and their part in the industry. Key ideas on being a specialist, why companies vet their programmers so much and the growing necessity of a college degree for tech roles. He shares his personal experience of searching for a programming job without a degree. He has seen the various outcomes of coding bootcamps and their students as a replacement for college. He covers the basic terminology used such as APIs, frameworks, stacks, development methodologies like Agile, library specialization & the typical uses of a list of languages.

In summary…

This book is not a technical book. It does not teach programming. It is about how the tech industry works on all things not programming. There are a few sections which include gaining a skillset and how to do it along with the different options for gaining an education and skillset. However I found some of these sections to be a bit underwhelming. There are some great portions of the book that I was just amazed with and that is why I give this book a 10/10! Though I give a lot of books ratings like that.

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Learn to learn code faster, using techniques honed by years of study, neatly packaged into one book: How to Learn Code