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Building a Career in Software By Daniel Heller

Building a Career in Software by Daniel Heller

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Building a Career in Software Summary

Building a Career in Software: A Comprehensive Guide to Success in the Software Industry by Daniel Heller

Software engineering education has a problem: universities and bootcamps teach aspiring engineers to write code, but they leave graduates to teach themselves the countless supporting tools required to thrive in real software companies. Building a Career in Software is the solution, a comprehensive guide to the essential skills that instructors don't need and professionals never think to teach: landing jobs, choosing teams and projects, asking good questions, running meetings, going on-call, debugging production problems, technical writing, making the most of a mentor, and much more.

In over a decade building software at companies such as Apple and Uber, Daniel Heller has mentored and managed tens of engineers from a variety of training backgrounds, and those engineers inspired this book with their hundreds of questions about career issues and day-to-day problems. Designed for either random access or cover-to-cover reading, it offers concise treatments of virtually every non-technical challenge you will face in the first five years of your career-as well as a selection of industry-focused technical topics rarely covered in training. Whatever your education or technical specialty, Building a Career in Software can save you years of trial and error and help you succeed as a real-world software professional.

What You Will Learn
  • Discover every important nontechnical facet of professional programming as well as several key technical practices essential to the transition from student to professional
  • Build relationships with your employer
  • Improve your communication, including technical writing, asking good questions, and public speaking

Who This Book is For
Software engineers either early in their careers or about to transition to the professional world; that is, all graduates of computer science or software engineering university programs and all software engineering boot camp participants.

About Daniel Heller

Dan Heller is a Staff Software Engineer in Infrastructure at Uber. In earlier lives, he has led reliability efforts on Uber Eats, built monitoring systems at AppDynamics, helped port iOS to the ARM64 architecture as a Kernel Engineer at Apple, directed the responses to dozens of high-stakes production outages, and managed teams of up to 25 engineers.

Along the way, the author discovered a love of mentorship and had the good fortune to mentor tens of talented engineers. Those engineers inspired him with their hundreds of questions about career paths, technical tradeoffs, and day-to-day effectiveness; when a short blog post on those themes brought a riot of responses about maturing professionals' need for guidance, the author set out to fill the gap with this book.

Table of Contents

Part I - Career

Chapter 1: The Big Picture

If You Only Take Away One Thing

What Is the Job

What it Means to Grow

Ten Principles

Your Relationship With Your Employer

Chapter 2: Landing Jobs

The Basics of Hiring Processes

Working With Recruiters


Passing Engineering Interviews


Levels, Titles, and Compensation at Tech Companies

Chapter 3: Learning and Growing

Read Every Day


Imposter Syndrome is Underrated

Having Your Own Project Ideas

Performance Reviews

Stop Worrying About Title

Chapter 4: Changes

On Fear, Confusion, and Self-Loathing: Starting New Jobs

When to Change Jobs

How to Change Jobs

Maintenance is For Suckers: Choosing Teams and Projects

The Transition to Management

Adaptability is Everything

Burnout and Bouncing Back

Part II - Day to Day At the Office

Chapter 5: Professional Skills

Project Management

Effective Meetings

Productivity and Organization

Hiring Engineers: Interviewing From the Other Side of the Table

Chapter 6: Working With Humans

Social Skills


Working With Your Manager

Working With Platform Owners

Chapter 7: Shining in an Engineering Organization

Reputation and Personal Brand


Running Toward Fires

Politics and Political Capital

Professionals Maximize Business Value

Saying No is Not Your Job

Personal Reliability

Knowing Our Limits: The Epistemology of Software Engineering

Chapter 8: Leading Others

Helping a Team Succeed


Chapter 9: Adversity

Managing Your Emotions

Yes, Things are Broken

Conflict Resolution and Dealing With Difficult People

Dealing With HR

Making Mistakes

Chapter 10: Professional Conduct

A Word About Complaining

A Word About Gossip

A Word About Office Dating

Decorum and Political Correctness

Alcohol With Colleagues

Part III - Communication

Chapter 11: A Holistic Look at Engineering Communication

Chapter 12: Technical Writing

Chapter 13: Effective Email

Chapter 14: Describing Problems and Asking Questions

Chapter 15: Public Speaking

Part IV - Technical Skills

Chapter 16: Professional-Grade Code

Chapter 17: Debugging

Chapter 18: Building for Reliability

Chapter 19: Mastering the Command Line

Chapter 20: Operating Real Software

Additional information

Building a Career in Software: A Comprehensive Guide to Success in the Software Industry by Daniel Heller
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
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