Useful, practical and actionable advice on a wide array of topics.
Soft Skills: The software developer's life manual is a unique guide, offering techniques and practices for a more satisfying life as a professional software developer. In it, developer and life coach John Sonmez addresses a wide range of important "soft" topics, from career and productivity to personal finance and investing, and even fitness and relationships, all from a developer-centric viewpoint.
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about this book
about the author
1. Why this book is unlike any book you’ve ever read
Section 1 Career
2. Getting started with a "BANG!": Don’t do what everyone else does
Having a business mindset
How to think like a business
3. Thinking about the future: What are your goals?
How to set goals
Tracking your goals
4. People skills: You need them more than you think
Leave me alone, I just want to write code!
Learning how to deal with people
Everyone wants to feel important
Think about what the other person wants
5. Hacking the interview
The quickest way to "pass" an interview
How I got my last job
Thinking outside of the box and building rapport
But what about the actual interview itself?
What can you do right now?
6. Employment options: Enumerate your choices
Option 1: The employee
Option 2: The independent consultant
Option 3: The entrepreneur
Which should you pick?
7. What kind of software developer are you?
Specialization is important
Getting specific about specialties
Kinds of specialties for software developers
Picking your specialty
What about the Polyglot programmer?
8. Not all companies are equal
Small companies and startups
Software development companies versus companies with software developers
9. Climbing the corporate ladder
Be the problem solver
What about politics?
10. Being a professional
What is a professional?
Being a professional (forming good habits)
Doing what is right
Seeking quality and self-improvement
11. Freedom: How to quit your job
Going about things the smart way
Preparing to work for yourself
How much do you really work?
Cutting the cord
12. Freelancing: Going out on your own
Ask someone you know
Best way to get clients
Setting your rate
13. Creating your first product
Finding an audience
Testing the market
14. Do you want to start a startup?
Go big or go home
A typical startup lifecycle
15. Working remotely survival strategies
The challenges of being a hermit
Challenge 1: Time management
Challenge 2: Self-motivation
Challenge 3: Loneliness
16. Fake it till you make it
What it means to fake it until you make it
Putting it into practice
17. Resumes are BORING—Let’s fix that
You aren’t a professional resume writer
Hiring a resume writer
Going the extra mile
What if you don’t want to hire a professional?
18. Don’t get religious about technology
We are all religious about technology
Everything is good
Don’t limit your options
Section 2 Marketing yourself
19. Marketing basics for code monkeys
What marketing yourself means
Why marketing yourself is important
How to market yourself
20. Building a brand that gets you noticed
What is a brand?
What makes up a brand?
Creating your own brand
21. Creating a wildly successful blog
Why are blogs so important?
Creating a blog
Keys to success
Getting more traffic
I can’t guarantee you success
22. Your primary goal: Add value to others
Give people what they want
Give away 90% of what you do for free
The fast track to success
Offering more of yourself
Growing your network
Using social media effectively
Networks and accounts
24. Speaking, presenting, and training: Speak geek
Why speaking live is so impactful
Getting started speaking
What about training?
25. Writing books and articles that attract a following
Why books and articles are important
Books and magazines don’t pay
26. Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot
Everything is uncomfortable at first
It’s okay to look like an idiot
Take small steps (or dive right in)
Section 3 Learning
27. Learning how to learn: How to teach yourself
Dissecting the learning process
28. My 10-step process
The idea behind the system
The 10-step system
29. Steps 1-6: Do these once
Step 1: Get the big picture
Step 2: Determine scope
Step 3: Define success
Step 4: Find resources
Step 5: Create a learning plan
Step 6: Filter resources
30. Steps 7-10: Repeat these
Step 7: Learn enough to get started
Step 8: Play around
Step 9: Learn enough to do something useful
Step 10: Teach
31. Looking for mentors: Finding your Yoda
Where to find a mentor
Recruiting a mentor
32. Taking on an apprentice: Being Yoda
Being a mentor
The benefits of mentorship
Picking a "worthy" apprentice
33. Teaching: Learn you want? Teach you must.
I’m not a teacher
What happens when you teach?
34. Do you need a degree or can you "wing it?"
Do you need a degree to succeed?
Advantages to having a degree
What if you don’t have a degree?
35. Finding gaps in your knowledge
Why we leave the gaps
Finding your gaps
Filling the gaps
Section 4 Productivity
36. It all starts with focus
What is focus?
The magic of focus
Getting more focus
It’s not as easy as it sounds
37. My personal productivity plan
Daily planning and execution
Dealing with interruptions
Breaks and vacations
38. Pomodoro Technique
Pomodoro Technique overview
Using the Pomodoro Technique effectively
The mental game
How much work can you get done?
39. My quota system: How I get way more done than I should
How the quota system works
Why the quota system works
40. Holding yourself accountable
Becoming accountable to yourself
41. Multitasking dos and don’ts
Why multitasking is generally bad
Batching is much more productive
What about true multitasking?
42. Burnout: I’ve got the cure!
How you burn out
In reality, you’re just hitting a wall
On the other side of the wall
Pushing past the wall
43. How you’re wasting your time
The biggest time waster of all
Giving up the TV
Other time wasters
Tracking your time
44. The importance of having a routine
Routines make you
Creating a routine
Getting more detailed
45. Developing habits: Brushing your code
Recognizing bad habits and altering them
Forming new habits
46. Breaking down things: How to eat an elephant
Why bigger isn’t always better
Breaking down things
How to break down things
Breaking down problems
47. The value of hard work and why you keep avoiding it
Why is hard work so darn…hard?
I’ll just work "smarter"
Hard work is boring
Working hard: How to do it
48. Any action is better than no action
Why we refuse to take action
What happens when you don’t take action
What is the worst that could happen?
It’s easier to steer a moving car
What can you do now?
Section 5 Financial
49. What are you going to do with your paycheck?
Stop thinking short term
Assets and liabilities
Back to your paycheck
50. How to negotiate your salary
Negotiations begin before you even apply for the job
How you get the job is extremely important
First person to name a number loses
What about when you’re asked to name a number first?
What if you’re asked about your current salary?
When you have an offer
Some final advice
51. Options: Where all the fun is
Digging a little deeper
More complex options
52. Bits and bytes of real estate investing
Why real estate investment?
Okay, so how do I do it?
First step: Education
Use property management
53. Do you really understand your retirement plan?
Retirement is all about working backwards
Calculating your retirement goal
Path 1: 401(k), IRAs, or other retirement accounts
Path 2: Setting up an early retirement or aiming to get rich
What if I am stuck in the middle or close to retirement?
54. The danger of debt: SSDs are expensive
Why debt is generally bad
Some common debt follies
Not all debt is bad
55. Bonus: How I retired at 33
What it means to be "retired"
How I got started
Grinding it out
More grinding it out
Turning a corner
The lucky break
Hard work mode
Multiple passive income streams
A quick analysis
Section 6 Fitness
56. Why you need to hack your health
57. Setting your fitness criteria
Picking a specific goal
Measuring your progress
Living a healthy lifestyle
58. Thermodynamics, calories, and you
What is a calorie?
Losing weight is simple
How many calories are you consuming?
How many calories are you burning?
Utilizing calories to achieve your goal
59. Motivation: Getting your butt out of the chair
What motivates you?
Rewarding yourself too early
Just get it done!
60. How to gain muscle: Nerds can have bulging biceps
How muscles grow
What lifts should you do?
What to eat
61. How to get hash-table abs
Abs are made in the kitchen
Your body doesn’t want you to have abs
What can you do about it?
62. Starting RunningProgram.exe
Why you might want to run
Getting started running
Advice for getting started
63. Standing desks and other hacks
Standing desks and treadmills
Eggs in the microwave
Plain nonfat Greek yogurt
64. Tech gear for fitness: Geeking out
Step counters and pedometers
Section 7 Spirit
65. How the mind influences the body
It starts with the mind
The mind and body connection
66. Having the right mental attitude: Rebooting
What is positivity?
The positive effects of positivity
How to reboot your attitude
Change your thoughts
67. Building a positive self-image: Programming your brain 408
What is self-image?
Your self-image is difficult to change
Reprogramming your brain
68. Love and relationships: Computers can’t hold your hand
Why software developers sometimes have a hard time finding love
Understanding the game
So, all I have to do is be confident, right?
It’s a numbers game
69. My personal success book list
Self-help and inspirational books
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (Black Irish Books, 2002)
to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (Reprint, Gallery Books, 1998)
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (Wilder Publications, 2007)
Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz (Reprint, Pocket Books, 1989)
The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale (Reprint, Touchstone, 2003)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (Reprint, Signet, 2005)
Software development books
Code Complete by Steve McConnell (Microsoft Press; 2nd edition, 2004)
Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftmanship by Robert Martin (Prentice Hall, 2008)
Head First Design Patterns by Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Robson, Bert Bates, and Kathy Sierra (O’Reilly Media, 2004)
The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller (McGraw-Hill, 2005)
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki (Demco Media, 2000)
No-Hype Options Trading: Myths, Realities, and Strategies That Really Work by Kerry Given (Wiley, 2011)
70. Facing failure head-on
Why are we so afraid of failure, anyway?
Failure isn’t defeat
Failure is the road to success
Learn to embrace failure
Appendix A: If you can write code, you can understand finances
What is money?
Types of money
Inflation and deflation
What about "regular" banks
The basics of finances
Appendix B: How the stock market works: Rules of the system
The purpose of the stock market
What happens when you trade a stock?
How to make money in the stock market
Indexes, mutual funds, and ETFs
Appendix C: Garbage in, garbage out: Diet and nutrition basics
Basic components of food
Other things your body needs
It all starts with diet
Appendix D: How to eat healthy: Pizza is not a food group
For the most part, food is food
Should I just eat junk food?
But what exactly are "healthy" foods?
About the book
For most software developers, coding is the fun part. The hard bits are dealing with clients, peers, and managers, staying productive, achieving financial security, keeping yourself in shape, and finding true love. This book is here to help.
Soft Skills: The software developer's life manual is a guide to a well-rounded, satisfying life as a technology professional. In it, developer and life coach John Sonmez offers advice to developers on important "soft" subjects like career and productivity, personal finance and investing, and even fitness and relationships. Arranged as a collection of 71 short chapters, this fun-to-read book invites you to dip in wherever you like. A Taking Action section at the end of each chapter shows you how to get quick results. Soft Skills will help make you a better programmer, a more valuable employee, and a happier, healthier person.
- Boost your career by building a personal brand
- John's secret ten-step process for learning quickly
- Fitness advice to turn your geekiness to your advantage
- Unique strategies for investment and early retirement
Conveys a message that every software developer (and everybody else, for that matter) ought to hear.
Stop coding for a few hours and read this book! Your code - and your life - will be much better.
A pragmatic and holistic view of software development.
A career coach in a book.