Book Image

Skill Up: A Software Developer's Guide to Life and Career

By : Jordan Hudgens
3 (1)
Book Image

Skill Up: A Software Developer's Guide to Life and Career

3 (1)
By: Jordan Hudgens

Overview of this book

This is an all-purpose toolkit for your programming career. It has been built by Jordan Hudgens over a lifetime of coding and teaching coding. It helps you identify the key questions and stumbling blocks that programmers encounter, and gives you the answers to them! It is a comprehensive guide containing more than 50 insights that you can use to improve your work, and to give advice in your career. The book is split up into three topic areas: Coder Skills, Freelancer Skills, and Career Skills, each containing a wealth of practical advice. Coder Skills contains advice for people starting out, or those who are already working in a programming role but want to improve their skills. It includes such subjects as: how to study and understand complex topics, and getting past skill plateaus when learning new languages. Freelancer Skills contains advice for developers working as freelancers or with freelancers. It includes such subjects as: knowing when to fire a client, and tips for taking over legacy applications. Career Skills contains advice for building a successful career as a developer. It includes such subjects as: how to improve your programming techniques, and interview guides and developer salary negotiation strategies.
Table of Contents (5 chapters)

Standing on the podium, Michael Phelps stares at the American flag and listens to the National Anthem after winning gold once again. After watching Phelps win 21 gold medals (at the time I'm writing this), it's natural to ask: "Was he simply born for greatness?" I don't know. Yes, his body type has helped him take advantage of physical elements of swimming.

However, there are millions of individuals with his height and wingspan who watch him at the Olympics from their couches every four years. There is no magical swimming gene that Phelps was born with. Instead, the secret to his success can be found in his discipline to a practice called deep work. Muscle Prodigy ( research claims:

"Phelps swims minimum 80,000 meters a week, which is nearly 50 miles. He practices twice a day, sometimes more if he's training at altitude. Phelps trains for around five to six hours a day at six days a week."

If Malcom Gladwell's 10,000-hour rule is even close to being accurate, Michael Phelps surpassed this benchmark years ago.

In case you're wondering how this applies to coding, don't worry, I haven't forgotten that this is a show for developers.

As you go through these chapters, you may discover that one of my favorite books is Deep Work by Cal Newport. (The fact I referenced the book a few dozen times may given it away). So, what exactly is deep work? A dead simple explanation of deep work is:

"Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task."

Whether you believe that swimming is cognitively demanding or not, I believe that Phelps's example is fitting. If you have ever attempted to train with the level of intensity that Phelps does, you can attest to the mental toll that training takes. So essentially, deep work can be simplified by saying that it has the following characteristics:

Let's dissect the definition of deep work and build a practical strategy for how it can be implemented from a developer perspective. Let's imagine that you want to learn about the computer science topic of asymptotic analysis. If you've never heard of asymptotic analysis, don't worry, you can trust me that it qualifies as a challenging topic.