Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Becoming a Better Programmer" by Pete Goodliffe; O'Reilly Media

I think that for someone early in their career as a programmer, Goodliffe's "Becoming a Better Programmer" may be a good investment.

It covers a number of topics that are of direct and indirect importance to working programmers, from error handling and working with unfamiliar code bases through to more nebulous issues such as teamwork and professional ethics.

Despite weighing in at over 300 pages, the book is very easy going and none of its 38 chapters took more than a few minutes to read. I think this gives us a good indication at who the target audience is (or who it should be), namely, someone who needs a bird's eye view of the terrain comprising the daily life of the professional programmer.

Other than simply being a laundry list of things programmers should know and do, though -- and as suggested by the title -- there is a thread running through the book encouraging the reader to become better, both in terms of the quality of their code and, importantly, the quality of their character.

The bottom line is, I think, that if you're starting out as a professional developer you'll find a lot of value in this book. Seasoned developers will have seen most (but not all) of the issues raised in the book elsewhere and so may want to spend what reading time they have elsewhere but if they have the time, or feel like what they need is inspiration, this might be just what they need too.

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