3 Career Guidelines from The Pragmatic Programmer

The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt provides practical suggestions on all aspects of software development.

Guideline 1 – Develop a Knowledge Portfolio

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin

Programming is an intellectual activity and the value of a programmer is based on their knowledge portfolio. The portfolio must be built and maintained with regular investment and diversification:

  1. Read at least one technical book per quarter
  2. Learn a new programming language every year
  3. Keep up-to-date with emerging technologies

Local user groups are a good way to improve your knowledge portfolio and provide an environment to hear about career opportunities.

Guideline 2 – Communicate Well

Strong communication skills help programmers to build influence in an organization.

  • Choose when to communicate based on audience needs
  • Adjust your message to suit the level of understanding
  • Listen first, then respond

Use the WISDOM framework to target your presentations:

  1. What do you want them to learn?
  2. What is their Interest in what you’ve got to say?
  3. How Sophisticated are they?
  4. How much Detail do they want?
  5. Whom do you want to Own the information?
  6. How can you Motivate them to listen to you?

Guideline 3 – Pick the Right Tools

Tools amplify talent. Aim to:

  • Use a single editor well
  • Understand the command shell
  • Use source code control
  • Automate the build process

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