Book Review:The Passionate Programmer

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“The Passionate Programmer” (ISBN: 978-1-934356-34-0) was written by Chad Fowler. According to the back cover the book is a revised edition of “My Job Went to India: 52 Ways to Save Your Job.” Surprisingly, I didn’t really find anything in the book regarding jobs being outsourced. Chad has included a collection of informative exercises titled “Act on it” at the end of each chapter which generally have lengths under five pages.

I haven’t programmed professionally very long ( < 4 years), still there are so many things that just make sense found in the book. Throughout The Passionate Programmer, Chad's underlying theme is we should always be working with better programmers, choose the places we work carefully, carefully choose associates because they have such a strong influence on the quality and passion you have while at work. Currently, I feel that i am stagnating because of a situation similar to what Chad discusses in the book: many of my coworkers are very negative, and the other programmer is extremely careful how much of the code he documents / shares so that he has built in job security. Feeling irreplaceable or creating your own job security as Chad discusses really means that you are probably performing tasks in a way that others can't do them and that doesn't necessarily mean you as a software developer are a genius. Unmaintainable code really does end up painting your back with a bright red bulls eye because you are likely not a very good team player, and probably it would prevent you from moving up the hierarchy into a better job. My favourite chapter of the book is titled "Learn to Love Maintenance" and this is because Chad has shown a different perspective. Chad encourages the reader to use the time doing maintenance to interact directly with customers, create a large base of advocates, and to use it as a time to truly learn the inner workings of the business because business rules are so heavily encoded in important software. Overall, I would say that "The Passionate Programmer" is an excellent read and that I feel I have learned more about myself than I would have ever thought. I would never say that it is the next Code Complete or Code Craft, but it can definitely help you develop a meaningful career.

Author: Brian Cline

Brian is a programmer living in Niagara Falls with ten years of development experience. He is passionate about automation, business process re-engineering, and gamification. For the last six years or so, he has been working with Salesforce and JavaScript.

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2 Responses to “Book Review:The Passionate Programmer”

  1. The Passionate Programmer is one of the must read books for any software developer. I had started reading “How My Job Went to India” however shamefully could not complete it. However reading just a few chapters in that book will make you change your views about how to progress in your career path in software development. It contains many tips and techniques on how to make yourself indispensable to any organization that you work in.