Making it Big in Software – Book Review

Sam Lightstone, the creator of MakingItBigCareers.com, has a new book out — “Making it Big in Software”.  The book is published by Pearson Education Prentice Hall.

This books is a singular Real and Business World Survival Guide for Geeks.  Think of it as a business book for programmers written by a programmer.  How often do you see a career-advise book peppered with references to C++ and FORTRAN?

If you want to have a career in IT and not just a job writing code, your great programming skills alone are not enough.  Every year, colleges turn out a fresh crop of computer science graduates with roughly similar skills: they know several core programming languages, they know data structures and algorithms, they took roughly the same courses and wrote roughly the same programs.  They all get roughly the same first job — writing code for some company.  Yet some of these grads go on from their first job to managing projects, running teams, rising to positions of elevated authority and responsibility, while others build a career out of going from one programming job to the next.  “Making it Big in Software” focuses on skills beyond brilliant programming abilities.  It covers the skills necessary to build a successful career in today’s world of technology.

“Making it Big in Software” is a must read for anyone who is about to graduate or just has graduated with a degree in computer science and is faced with the question “Now what?”.  The book offers suggestions for building your resume, finding the right company to work and acing the interview process.  It will help you get started right.

The book is also a good read for those of us who have been in the industry for a while.  It is full of gems on topics ranging from networking and working the organization in your favor to time management and patenting.

To support his ideas, Sam Lightstone included interviews with 17 of the software industry’s biggest stars from Steve Wozniak, inventor of Apple computer, to Ray Tomlinson, inventor of email, and Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux.

Perhaps “Making it Big in Software” won’t make you a VP at Google, but it will help you make the most out of your chosen profession.

How I was rescued by Performance Bicycle team

Just want to say many thanks to the wonderful folks at the Performance Bicycle store in Schaumburg, IL for rescuing my behind or rather my tire yesterday.

I was out on the road, about 10 miles from my home when I suddenly felt that something was wrong with my back wheel.  I found a pretty good sized bubble in the back tire.  Never having experienced that before, I didn’t know what caused it.  I changed the tube, but even with a new tube, the bubble was there, smaller but still there.

Realizing that I was less than 1 mile away from the Performance Bike store, I rode down there.  Luckily, I had 20 bucks on me.  I explained the situation to Bob in the service center.  He had the exact same tire in stock, which I believe lists for about 30 bucks.  They applied whatever discounts they could find, even replaced the tire for me and got me out of the door all for $18.

Again, many thanks for saving me a 10 mile walk of shame of home.

The Force.com workbook

If you ever were curious about custom application development on the Salesforce.com development platform, they released an updated version of the Force.com workbook.  The workbook is made up of 10 short tutorials that show you how to build a simple application on the Force.com platform.  The concept of the application that you build trough the tutorials is pretty simple: a merchandise inventory and an invoice to sell the said merchandise.  But what the tutorial does very well is to showcase the power of the Force.com platform.  For someone who’s a hardcore programmer used to building all his own logic from scratch, the technology behind Force.com is absolutely amazing.  I’m able to build tables, forms and workflow rules just by going through wizards.  Everything else is pretty much taken care of.  The only “real” code I had to write so far is a validation formula using IF statements very similar to those of Lotus or Excel.

Even if your organization has no plans of going to Salesforce.com for its cloud-development, this workbook is worth a look.  It will give you a new sense of appreciation for cloud development and how easy it can be to build applications.  And considering that Salesforce.com now boasts over 75,000 customers and over 2,000,000 users, chances are good that your company may be looking at it soon, too.

All tutorials in the book can be done using a free development account on Force.com.  The instructions for obtaining a free account and creating your own sandbox are included in the book.

Go and have a bit of fun in the cloud.