Thought-Provoking Reads for Developers Issue 2, September 2018

Thought-Provoking Reads for Developers

In this second issue of Thought-Provoking Reads for Developers, I share some of the most interesting reads that I’ve stumbled upon across the Internet, made it into my Pocket reading list, and I felt were good enough to amalgamate and provide a brief synopsis on! I try to release one of these every couple of weeks, if not every other week, depending on my reading flow! As previously mentioned, I try not to include specific technology specific pieces (e.g. an article talking about a programming language, framework, or methodology), but rather material that you might not have gone out of your way to research or otherwise read.

I especially want to send well wishes to Baltic apprentices reading my works during #NationalCodingWeek here in the UK! As a former Baltic apprentice myself, I can’t emphasise enough how great of an opportunity you have ahead of you, and I would strongly encourage you to take on as much as you can (without burning yourself out of course!), learn as much as you can, and work as hard as you can! You really will get out what you put in, and I have no doubt that your apprenticeship will provide a springboard for you to leap head first into a great career within your company, a career within your industry, or like me, into higher education if that’s what you want to pursue! I’d love to hear from you on the Baltic Alumni Facebook page.

My best tips for new developers: advice from a (mostly) self-taught software engineer

This is a really fantastic piece by Ali Spittel who teaches programming full-time. If you’re just getting started as a programmer, or are looking to get started, you can’t go wrong with her advice. The most important lesson you can take away from this article is the importance of being willing to learn, and to keep on learning. It’s something that we never stop doing! Furthermore, while there is a ton of advice that will help you as you start writing code, there’s also a wealth of advice specifically aimed at you as you develop as a, well, developer!

There’s 25 points in total (number 16 is my personal favourite!), and I guarantee you’ll go away from it having learned something new, even if you consider yourself experienced! I find from my own experience there always fundamentals we can brush up upon, or new viewpoints that we can incorporate into our own thinking! Just remember, programming is awesome!

Feel busy all the time? There’s an upside to that

I like being busy. A lot of people like being busy, and a whole lot of us spend a great deal of time humble-bragging about how busy we are, with all our various undertakings and work and what have you. I do this too, although it’s not a habit I’m proud of. A lot of research available on the Internet focuses on the negative aspects of multitasking and of course the very real risk of burning out, but did you know that there are perks of being busy? People who view themselves as more important as a result of having a ‘busy mindset’ are more likely to make more positive choices, such as adopting healthier eating habits. Now there’s something we can all benefit from!

This great psychological article in the Harvard Business Review comes from academics Amitava Chattopadhyay, Monica Wadhwa, and Jeehye Christine Kim, and I highly recommend you give it a read, even though it’s not specifically aimed at software engineers; we do often lead busy lifestyles and it can’t hurt to feel a little less guilty that being so busy isn’t without its upsides.

How I went from a finance superstar to a software developer

I spoke with the author, Justin Travis Waith-Mair, a few weeks ago on Twitter when myself and other freeCodeCamp users encouraged him to write about his story after he revealed that he had made the brave transition from a career in finance over to software engineering following being let go.

This is an insightful read that goes to show that you don’t need a CS degree or mountain of internships to start work in software. What’s most important is your willingness to learn, to persevere in the face of rejection, and to be willing to produce a portfolio of work, such as through the FCC curriculum, that demonstrates your passion for the field and what you have learned to do! Don’t be afraid, just get started!

How I went from newbie to Software Engineer in 9 months whilst working full time

This is a similar story written by Austin Tackaberry bringing in the themes of learning and switching careers, particularly how he made full use of learning materials online to get where he wanted to be. Each month is clearly structured with objectives and of course what resources he leveraged. It’s truly phenomenal that with the right motivation and learning materials what you can accomplish, such as an entire career transition, in just a short space of time. (Some people genuinely don’t think it can be done, and they are wrong!)

What was his overall aim? Landing a software engineering job within a year making at least the same amount of money as from his previous job. If you’re wondering what learning resources you should learn from that as demonstrated in Austin’s story are proven to translate to real-world results, this is definitely a read for you.

42 Venn Diagram

Shrikant Jichkar – The Man Who Had 20 Degrees From 42 Universities

Now for something a little different! Is 42 really the meaning of life? For one academic hailing from India, it certainly was. He didn’t get 20 degrees from 42 universities as the title might allege, but rather he sat 42 university level examinations in the course of his academic career. Never ceasing to learn is an important trait across many career paths, and is a lifelong philosophy that I strongly recommend – not that I recommend you go out and get 20 degrees though! Just think of all that debt!

If we can learn anything from Dr. Jichkar, it’s that you should embrace learning and pursue it no matter what path you go down, and whether you do that in a university, in a library, or at work, is entirely up to you! He was a truly great mind versed in a range of different fields that truly demonstrates that there is no limit to how much you can learn as long as it continues to fascinate you! Unfortunately, Dr. Jichkar died at the onset of his fifties in a traffic accident.


My apologies for the delays in getting out this issue, but as I mentioned on my blog yesterday, I’ve just been busy! I’m currently in the process of reading more and more material that I am looking forward to sharing with you in the third edition of Thought-Provoking Reads for Developers. Of course, if you find this useful, I would really appreciate it if you gave this a share on social media! Your feedback definitely provides me incentive to keep writing. In addition, if you’re an author and you would like me to feature your work as you think it would be helpful, drop me a tweet or an email and I’ll be more than happy to give it a read! Please stay tuned on my blog for more writing regarding software engineering, volunteerism, mental health, and tidbits from my everyday life. Thank you so much for reading and I hope to find you in the comments below!

Author: Oliver

Postgraduate MSc Computer Science student at Aberystwyth University. Software Engineer and content creator. Trying to do lots of cool stuff; writing, blogging, and live streaming amongst other things! I hope you enjoy my blog!