First book review is here. There will be a lot of bullet points ;)
I’d like to share some thoughts on the book I’ve read recently. Secrets of the Rock Star Programmers by Ed Burns. I read quite a lot IT – connected books, but usually those are about particular technologies, topics (like coding interviews riddles), people (like Iwoz) or how to be a good programmer in general (like the Clean Coder).
This one, however is a bit different. It is actually a set of detailed interviews with, so called, A-list programmers. Here is the list:
- Rod Johnson – Creator of the Spring framework.
- Adrian Coyler – Aspect oriented programming pioneer.
- Torbjorn Norbye – Co-author of The Java Posse podcast.
- Joe Nuxoll – Co-author of The Java Posse podcast.
- Chris Wilson – Architect of MS Internet Explorer.
- Nikhil Kothari – Architect of MS ASP.NET and Silverlight.
- Hani Suleiman – Author of The Bible Blog.
- James Gosling – Father of Java.
- Kohsuke Kawaguchi – Creator of Hudson.
- Herb Schildt – Author of “Java: The complete Reference”, and many other books.
- Floyd Marinescu – Author of EJB Design Patterns.
- Andy Hunt – Co-author of “The pragmatic programmer”.
- Dave Thomas – Object oriented software pioneer with over 40 years of experience.
- Max Levchin – Co-founder of PayPal.
- Libor Michalek – Co-founder of Slide.com.
Interviews are divided into sections: Brief introduction, Soft Skills, Hard skills, Business and Personal.
Some Topics discussed in the interviews are:
- Importance of awareness of one’s ignorance – how people are dealing with the lack of knowledge in a given subjects.
- Attributes of successful developers – is it problem-solving skills, energy, self-awareness, communication, tools mastery or else?
- Reinventing the wheel – balance between in-house versus external solutions.
- Importance of business acumen and entrepreneurial instincts.
- What languages and environments will be used in 10 years – and why.
- Dealing with hard to diagnose an hard to fix bugs – divide and conquer, Russian debugging, or just walk in the nearby park.
- The “waning interest” syndrome – how to keep people from getting bored.
- Starting over from scratch – when is it good to throw everything away and start anew, and what are the real downsides.
- Staying current – how to find value in increasing data noise. Valuable news sites, blogs, books and information filtering process.
- First computer technology experience, first machines, useful university courses and mind-transforming books.
- When it’s time to change a job – or what else can be changed instead.
- Work/life balance – sitting late versus 9 – 5 syndrome.
You may have read 100 pure technology books, but this is kind of very valuable meta-book, that may change your outlook on information technology. Or, in the worst case, give you some hints useful in everyday programmer’s work. Highly recommended reading.