DEV Community

Cover image for Book Review: The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide
Ken W Alger
Ken W Alger

Posted on • Originally published at on

Book Review: The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide

I started my blog in part to help advance my personal career. While speaking at Boise Code Camp 2017 I was fortunate to hear the keynote speech of John Sonmez of After reading many of his posts, I have been a fan of his. He offers some excellent career guide type of information on his site and in his books.

He recently released a new book, The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide. I grabbed the Kindle.

This is the second book by Sonmez that I have read, the first being Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manual and they are both, in my opinion, must haves (not just reads) for software developers. I say must haves because I find myself continually returning to them for information. Let’s have a look at what is in the Career Guide.

Career Guide

The Complete Software Developer's Career Guide

I am generally hesitant to jump on anything that claims to be a complete guide to something. However, Sonmez has included so much information in this book that I really can’t think of anything he left out. To start with, the book is big. Almost 800 pages big. Over 3.5 pounds big. Okay, not the Kindle version, but the physical book is a beast. In comparison, the book Cracking the Coding Interview is over a hundred pages shorter.

Topics Covered

Sonmez breaks his book into a few different sections which really helps to make it a quick reference. The sections and included chapters include a wide range of topics and information that is useful for those starting out to those who are veteran developers. The topics covered are:

  • Getting Started as a Software Developer
  • Getting a Job
  • What You Need to Know About Software Development
  • Working as a Developer
  • Advancing Your Career

Deeper Look

There are many nuggets of information in this book. There is coverage for the beginning questions of the types of development available or which language to choose (Hint: it doesn’t really matter, choose one!) and how to quickly develop your skills. Sonmez covers where to pick up your programming education… teach yourself, go to college, a boot camp? The pros and cons are covered here in nice detail.

He also covers in great detail about things to think about while working_as_ a developer. How do you deal with people who may be great developers but lack an understanding of the human interaction side of things? He covers that. How about dealing with and understanding management? He covers that as well. I really like a line in Chapter 37.

A good boss is measured on how well the people under him perform and how he is able to manage and report on their activities.

I know I have had a variety of managers in my career, some good, others not so much so. That line sums things up pretty well.

Sonmez wraps up his book with a great section on how to advance your career. Some might think that this section is only applicable to industry veterans. But really, in my opinion, people just starting out can use these techniques while trying to find their first job as well. Things, like starting a blog and keeping your skills up to date, are something everyone can (and should) be doing.

Physical Book versus Kindle

I am typically a paper book person. There is just something for me about having a physical piece of paper to turn. That being said, one of the things about the Kindle edition that I find very useful is the links to additional resources that Sonmez scatters throughout the book. While he does do a considerable amount of self-promotion in these links (can’t blame him for that) he also includes some great external resources as well.

Wrap Up

Mr. Sonmez has a great deal to offer the developer community. He has inspired me to keep a pace of writing blog posts and to share my knowledge as a speaker at events, such as Boise Code Camp and local meetups like the Willamette Valley Software Engineers.

His latest work is another excellent offering with some timeless guidance. I would highly encourage you to pick up a copy today. It could make all the difference in you obtaining your next job, so what’s stopping you?

Follow me on Twitter @kenwalger to get the latest updates on my postings.

The post Book Review: The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide appeared first on Blog of Ken W. Alger.

Top comments (3)

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I'm personally not a big fan of Sonmez's. A bit too much of a sales schtick and personality conflict for my taste, but I read his soft skills book and it was really great overall. So I bet this book is good too and will try to get around to reading it. I really like that Soft Skills was available on Audible which is a big bonus for my preferred consumption method.

kenwalger profile image
Ken W Alger

He is a bit "salesy" for sure and is a big personality. Most of the information he provides is pretty good though.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern