Book Review | Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manual

Image source: amazon.co.uk

I came across this book on Amazon by accident: Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manual by John Sonmez. I was looking for some great new books to read, and this book kept popping out in my search results, in my recommended books, everywhere.

What got my attention was the unusually high rating, and since the book is cheaper than most books I bought, I decided to give it a go and buy it.

There probably isn’t a single line of code in this book, no design patterns, no advice on refactoring… Yet, I found this book to be extremely useful. To put it simply, this is a book about your professional career. The title does say it’s a software developer’s manual, but I lent this book to friends who work in IT (QA, project managers, automation engineers…), they all found it to be very useful and packed with information.

I had a blog before reading this book and I was writing on it on random occasions. After reading this book, I decided to follow as much advice as I could from it. And one of those was to be consistent in writing. So here I am, some 2 months later, publishing an article every Monday.

The author, John Sonmez, starts with advice on your career. He’s advising you to look at yourself as a business renting your services to your company, which is an interesting way of looking at things. John covered some pros and cons of working for a company, as a contractor, as a freelancer and being an entrepreneur. He also talks about creating your own product and starting a startup. Maybe one of the more immediate benefits you’ll get will be from a section on people skills. You could apply the knowledge from it pretty much immediately.

The second section is all about marketing yourself. The valuable takeaway for me from this section was to create a brand and start a blog. There are tonnes of other advice as well. For example, give back to the community, add value writing your blog articles and your comments on other websites, don’t just spam for the sake of writing. John also introduces a few useful tools for your social media management, which I like and use.

Third and fourth sections talk about learning and productivity. John developed a 10 step learning process that he explains to you, it’s pretty neat. He’s also talking about learning at your workplace by finding mentors or be a mentor yourself. In section four you’ll learn how to be productive by using pomodoro technique and eliminating distractions. For most people, these two sections will be the most valuable parts of the book. I definitely recommend reading these two.

In the last couple of sections, you’ll find advice on how to manage your finances (including negotiating your salary), your fitness, and how to keep mindful and in good spirit.

Conclusion

This is a really useful book that I would like to recommend to anyone interested in advancing their career. It is packed full with useful advice, and it’s really easy to read.

Like the book said, I really hope you find this post useful 🙂

As always, have a nice day 🙂

Dejan.

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