Your Development & Design Resource
First Impressions: Making it Big in Software from Prentice Hall (Pearson Education)
04/14/2010 03:22 PM by Chris Toohey
Making it Big in Software from Prentice Hall (Pearson Education) is written by IBMer Sam Lightstone, and promises to deliver all the information you need to jumpstart your software career".
With interviews from a who's-who list of people in the industry, this book sounds like it'll be filled with some interesting stories that'll keep glued to the 417 pages while your significant other watches Dances with the Stars...
I normally don't review the Preface... since most books tend to have throw-away prefaces. This one, however, immediately sets you up for what type of book this will be:
You went to university to study a profession, but they were hell-bent on giving you an education instead. Unfortunately, there's a gap between the formal education we receive in school and the skills we need to build truly successful careers.
I went to school for Criminology...
There's now not a day that passes (God willing) that I'm not writing code. While there were Comp-Sci classes, my education in software development didn't start until I got my first job in IT... and immediately realized that there was a business need that had to be addressed.
The rest of the Preface talks about the target audience of the book, which is pretty much anyone who's ever thought "There should be an app for that...".
Chapter 1: Making It Big
Loving what you do is the most necessary of all ingredients for success, but it's also true that being successful allows people to spend more of their time on things they love.
This chapter outlines the authors ideas on true success (beyond the bankroll). And if you learn anything from this chapter, it's that a truly successful software developer loves what they do.
With quotes from Wozniak to Torvalds to Booch (and others) backing him up, the author finishes the chapter answering "Why Bother?" and really paints the successful software developer as a rockstar.
Chapter 2: What Good Software Is Really About
if building software were easy, talented programmers, software architects, and product strategists wouldn't be so desperately needed.
This chapter stresses the idea that successful software isn't some amazingly-functional app or often times not even bug-free, but it's software that the market embraces.
As a software development, that does put a different spin on things, as most software developers (myself included) write software (design websites, etc.) like an artist paints: to put something in your portfolio or show-off what you can do as a developer.
As the author states in this chapter, quoting IBM's Lou Gerstner:
The marketplace is the driving force behind everything we do.
The rest of this chapter talks to categorizing customers, winning strategies and tactics, and when not to listen to your customers [the marketplace].
Interview: Marissa Mayer
The author delivers an excellent and insightful interview of the Google VP and First Lady of Software. I can't say any more than that - it was fascinating and left me wanting to write some code to change the world.
For that Marissa Mayer interview alone I'll continue to read this book (if not recommend it it outright), but I'm impressed by how empowered I am after reading just the first few chapters! Seriously, I feel like coding the equivalent of punching a bear in the face!
Complete Review & Giveaway
There will be a complete review of this book published next week. As with anything I review on this site, you'll get the chance to win your own copy courtesy of Pearson Education. Don't worry, there won't be another haiku contest (since that went over so well...), but I'll come up with something fun contest-wise. Stay tuned for the complete review and your chance to win your own copy of Making it Big in Software.