REVIEW - The Career Programmer - Guerilla Tactics for an Imperfect World

Title:

The Career Programmer - Guerilla Tactics for an Imperfect World

Author:

Christopher Duncan

ISBN:

9781590590089

Publisher:

Apress (2002)

Pages:

544pp

Reviewer:

Pete Goodliffe

Reviewed:

April 2003

Rating:

★★★★★

If you are a programmer, team lead, project manager, or even software company director, I highly recommend you read this book.

This is a book about software engineering in the Real World and how not to die of stress whilst doing it. It's well worth reading; I really enjoyed it and found myself agreeing with almost all that was said.

A great deal of the content is common sense and down to earth tactics for approaching software development in a manner that will work within the harsh confines of the corporate environment. Some of the advice is perhaps a little cynical, but all delivered in order to develop better software better and to have an easier life whilst doing it.

Some of the author's advice is self-defence, but there are also more offensive tactics and canny ways to work around bad project management. It's all delivered in a remarkably readable, conversational tone.

It's a shame, though, that the author relentlessly refers to 'Corporate America' as the problematic system programmers work within. The same issues are encountered in the UK and I'm sure any other country. Whilst this doesn't make the book any less readable, perhaps in a future edition this will be widened.

The book starts off describing why the typical software engineering job is not what a fresh faced software engineer expects, how they get bogged down in politics and poor project management. A frighteningly accurate and funny section describes the different sorts of programmers you will encounter in your career. The author then lays out, not so much a methodology, but a pragmatic battle plan to produce successful software projects.

If you are a programmer, team lead, project manager, or even software company director, I highly recommend you read this book.


Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.