Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manual


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Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manualis a unique guide, offering techniques and practices for a more satisfying life as a professional software developer. In it, developer and life coach John Sonmez addresses a wide range of important “soft” topics, from career and productivity to personal finance and investing, and even fitness and relationships, all from a developer-centric viewpoint.

Forewords by Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob) and Scott Hanselman.

Purchase of the print book includes a free eBook in PDF, Kindle, and ePub formats from Manning Publications.

About the Book

For most software developers, coding is the fun part. The hard bits are dealing with clients, peers, and managers, staying productive, achieving financial security, keeping yourself in shape, and finding true love. This book is here to help.

Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manualis a guide to a well-rounded, satisfying life as a technology professional. In it, developer and life coach John Sonmez offers advice to developers on important “soft” subjects like career and productivity, personal finance and investing, and even fitness and relationships. Arranged as a collection of 71 short chapters, this fun-to-read book invites you to dip in wherever you like. A Taking Action section at the end of each chapter shows you how to get quick results. Soft Skills will help make you a better programmer, a more valuable employee, and a happier, healthier person.

What’s Inside

  • Boost your career by building a personal brand
  • John’s secret ten-step process for learning quickly
  • Fitness advice to turn your geekiness to your advantage
  • Unique strategies for investment and early retirement

About the Author

John Sonmez is a developer, teacher, and life coach who helps technical professionals boost their careers and live a more fulfilled life.

Table of Contents

    1. Why this book is unlike any book you’ve ever read
    1. Getting started with a “BANG!”: Don’t do what everyone else does
    2. Thinking about the future: What are your goals?
    3. People skills: You need them more than you think
    4. Hacking the interview
    5. Employment options: Enumerate your choices
    6. What kind of software developer are you?
    7. Not all companies are equal
    8. Climbing the corporate ladder
    9. Being a professional
    10. Freedom: How to quit your job
    11. Freelancing: Going out on your own
    12. Creating your first product
    13. Do you want to start a startup?
    14. Working remotely survival strategies
    15. Fake it till you make it
    16. Resumes are BORING—Let’s fix that
    17. Don’t get religious about technology
    1. Marketing basics for code monkeys
    2. Building a brand that gets you noticed
    3. Creating a wildly successful blog
    4. Your primary goal: Add value to others
    5. #UsingSocialNetworks
    6. Speaking, presenting, and training: Speak geek
    7. Writing books and articles that attract a following
    8. Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot
    1. Learning how to learn: How to teach yourself
    2. My 10-step process
    3. Steps 1-6: Do these once
    4. Steps 7-10: Repeat these
    5. Looking for mentors: Finding your Yoda
    6. Taking on an apprentice: Being Yoda
    7. Teaching: Learn you want? Teach you must.
    8. Do you need a degree or can you “wing it?”
    9. Finding gaps in your knowledge
    1. It all starts with focus
    2. My personal productivity plan
    3. Pomodoro Technique
    4. My quota system: How I get way more done than I should
    5. Holding yourself accountable
    6. Multitasking dos and don’ts
    7. Burnout: I’ve got the cure!
    8. How you’re wasting your time
    9. The importance of having a routine
    10. Developing habits: Brushing your code
    11. Breaking things down: How to eat an elephant
    12. The value of hard work and why you keep avoiding it
    13. Any action is better than no action
    1. What are you going to do with your paycheck?
    2. How to negotiate your salary
    3. Options: Where all the fun is
    4. Bits and bytes of real estate investing
    5. Do you really understand your retirement plan?
    6. The danger of debt: SSDs are expensive
    7. Bonus: How I retired at 33
    1. Why you need to hack your health
    2. Setting your fitness criteria
    3. Thermodynamics, calories, and you
    4. Motivation: Getting your butt out of the chair
    5. How to gain muscle: Nerds can have bulging biceps
    6. How to get hash-table abs
    7. Starting RunningProgram.exe
    8. Standing desks and other hacks
    9. Tech gear for fitness: Geeking out
  1. How the mind influences the body
  2. Having the right mental attitude: Rebooting
  3. Building a positive self-image: Programming your brain
  4. Love and relationships: Computers can’t hold your hand
  5. My personal success book list
  6. Facing failure head-on
  7. Parting words

About the Author

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer, where he tirelessly pursues his vision of transforming complex issues into simple solutions. John has published over 50 courses on topics such as iOS, Android, .NET, Java, and game development for the online developer training resource, Pluralsight. He also hosts the Get Up and CODE podcast, where he talks about fitness for programmers. John is a life coach for software developers, and helps software engineers, programmers and other technical professionals boost their careers and live a more fulfilled life.


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