Passionate Programmer

No it’s not an erotic novel about an excitable programmer but a guide to how you can refind your passion for IT and programming in particular.

My mum and dad were programmers so you could say it was a natural choice for me to go into IT. I knew from the first time I wrote a program it was for me. I loved the satisfaction of trying to develop an application to solve a problem. However after a few years in the IT industry having to write code for a customer and not yourself you can start to lose the passion for it.

If I was going to spend the rest of my working live in the IT industry I wanted to refind my passion. Life’s too short to wish away all those working hours.

I’m signed up to the JavaRanch Giveaway mailing list. I get emails on a regular basis about new books which you can win by posting questions about the book to the author. One day a mail came through about the Passionate Programmer. It instantly caught my eye partly because of the title and partly because it’s published by Pramatic Programmers whose books are normally a good read. It’s written by Chad Fowler and is a about turning your mundane every day job into a remarkable career. Before you dismiss it as a load of mumbo jumbo STOP…this book is realy worth a read.

It’s also very poignant given that in my current job doing you standard 9-5 tasks is not enough anymore. I’m expected to be constantly self training and developing my skills, mentoring, blogging, developing new tools etc. This book mentions all of these things among its 53 different steps you can take to become a passionate programmer.

The book is split into 5 main sections:

  1. Choosing your market - how to pick which technologies & business domains to focus on
  2. Investing in your product - building your skills and value
  3. Executing - how to deliver value to your company
  4. Marketing...not just or suits - getting yourself and your skills known
  5. Maintaining your edge - how to avoid becoming obselete

Within each section is a number of different steps you can take to improve your career. What I like about the book is the fact at the end of each step there is an ‘act on it!’ section with practical advice on what you need to do next to apply the step. The suggested actions are bite size so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

I hope to apply what I’ve read over the next year … kind of an early new years resolution!

Handily enough step number 39 ‘Let your voice be heard’ suggests you set up a weblog and start publishing your thoughts. Happy days…I’m started!