Dear new developer,
I hope you enjoyed reading these letters. I’ve certain enjoyed writing them. When I chat with new developers, at meetups, on slack, or via email, they let me know when letters are helpful or unclear. They suggest topics. They give me feedback, which, when you’re writing into the howling abyss of the internet, is very helpful both for calibrating your message and improving your motivation.
I’ve also posted these letters to some online communities. I’ve received plenty of feedback from those folks as well. Some kind, some caustic. That’s not unexpected.
After writing a hundred or so posts, I thought, there’s a book here.
And so I wrote one.
You can buy it from any of the usual suspects:
You can also check out a preview of the chapters on the publisher’s website. I’d love if you’d do so.
Here’s who I wrote it for:
For new developers
You are new to the software development job market. Perhaps you have completed a bootcamp or college degree. You may refer to yourself as an entry level or junior engineer.
While everyone’s background and skills growth happens at different speeds, new developers generally have less than five years of professional experience. Many new developers are worried about their abilities, don’t feel welcome, and have a difficult time finding that first job.
But as an industry, we need more new developers. There are so many problems with which software can help. Companies want experienced engineers, but all the senior developers I know started out as new developers. A senior engineer is just a new engineer seasoned with gaffes, education, and time.
For new developers, this book will help you avoid missteps I’ve made. It also introduces you to disciplines beyond coding critical to success. While programming is crucial for any software product or service, there is much more required to deliver an application.
For anyone considering software development
If you’re not sure if software engineering is right for you, this book offers perspectives on how to succeed.
I’ve intentionally kept the barriers to the layperson low with limited technical jargon. Only a few technologies are discussed, and those sections can be skipped. If you are thinking about becoming a developer, I’d recommend buying this book and a book about programming.
Giving a computer commands that it can execute is an important skill for any software developer. But software engineering is so much more. You must know what to build, how to work with your team, and how to maintain your systems.
If you are mentoring a new developer, this book can serve as a discussion guide. Because each chapter has letters approaching a theme from different angles, you and your mentee will find it useful for focused mentoring sessions.
As an experienced developer, you’ll of course bring your own insights and experience to each topic, from your debugging process to the value of an online community for continuous learning.
And, of course, you may have had a different experience than what I share. Such contrasts are a jumping-off point to discuss the diversity available in a software development career.Introduction, “Letters To a New Developer”