Monk writing a manuscript

I’ve mentioned a time or two on this site that I’m writing a book aimed at people just now jumping into software development, but I haven’t shared any of the book outside of some editors… until now.

I figure there’s a few benefits to sharing parts of a book before it’s done. For one, maybe it’ll get a person or two pumped up about reading the book once it’s completed. Two, it’ll help motivate me to finish this book if I feel like more people are waiting on it.

A big piece of my book is made up of interviews with experienced software people. To give a feel for the wide variety of viewpoints readers can expect to see in my book, I wrote the section below, which will be near the beginning of the book.

Let me know your thoughts on it! And if you decide you’d like to follow along as this book progresses, either leave your email here or follow the RSS feed.

Diversity of Perspectives

Although many of the excellent software professionals who appear here crossed paths with me in a small geographic area (North Carolina’s Research Triangle), they have wildly different backgrounds and experiences, providing a diverse set of viewpoints in their answers.

Many of the software experts in this book don’t have “traditional” computer science backgrounds. Some dropped out of college or graduated with a degree unrelated to programming. Many of them have worked in completely different fields, including a science museum docent, cicerone (like a sommelier, but for beer!), farmer, chef, and high school teacher, before making the move into software.

These people have lived all over the world – India, Vietnam, Singapore – and across the USA, from Portland on down to Miami. They’re fluent in a slew of programming languages, including JavaScript, Go, Ruby, Python, and Elixir, as well as many real-world languages, such as Hindi, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, Bosnian, and German, to name a few. They’ve worked many different jobs at a wide variety of companies. Several have founded their own successful startups, while others have worked at international mega-corporations like Google and Cisco.

Some of them have even written tech books of their own! And a few others are core contributors to very popular code libraries (Babel and Terraform, to name two) that are used daily by tens of thousands of software developers around the world.

Thanks to this depth and diversity, this book is able to provide many different viewpoints and advice from these software professionals. I know I learned a ton from reading the respondents’ survey responses, and I bet you will, too; this book is chock-full of lessons about how to succeed in the software biz and to better understand just what it’s like to work in this field.

With such a wide, fantastic pool of software development knowledge at my beck and call, I had to come up with some dang good questions to ask in hope of drawing out all that sweet, hard-won programming wisdom. To set the scene, and also so you know the questions I sent these experts (and why), I’ll go over them here and answer each one myself. After that, we’ll move on to the meat and potatoes of this book: the illuminating responses from the esteemed programming professionals.