Being Geek: The Software Developer's Career Handbook

Paperback | August 13, 2010

byMichael Lopp

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As a software engineer, you recognize at some point that there's much more to your career than dealing with code. Is it time to become a manager? Tell your boss he’s a jerk? Join that startup? Author Michael Lopp recalls his own make-or-break moments with Silicon Valley giants such as Apple, Netscape, and Symantec inBeing Geek-- an insightful and entertaining book that will help you make better career decisions.

With more than 40 standalone stories, Lopp walks through a complete job life cycle, starting with the job interview and ending with the realization that it might be time to find another gig. Many books teach you how to interview for a job or how to manage a project successfully, but only this book helps you handle the baffling circumstances you may encounter throughout your career.

  • Decide what you're worth with the chapter on "The Business"
  • Determine the nature of the miracle your CEO wants with "The Impossible"
  • Give effective presentations with "How Not to Throw Up"
  • Handle liars and people with devious agendas with "Managing Werewolves"
  • Realize when you should be looking for a new gig with "The Itch"

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From the Publisher

As a software engineer, you recognize at some point that there's much more to your career than dealing with code. Is it time to become a manager? Tell your boss he’s a jerk? Join that startup? Author Michael Lopp recalls his own make-or-break moments with Silicon Valley giants such as Apple, Netscape, and Symantec inBeing Geek-- an ins...

Michael Lopp is a Silicon Valley-based engineering manager. When he's not worrying about staying relevant, he writes about pens, bridges, people, and werewolves at the popular weblog, Rands in Repose. Michael wrote a book called "Managing Humans" which explains that while you might be rewarded for what you produce, you will only be suc...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:338 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.71 inPublished:August 13, 2010Publisher:O'Reilly MediaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0596155409

ISBN - 13:9780596155407

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Invaluable and Entertaining In "Being Geek", Michael Lopp unleashes a firehose of advice on navigating a career in software engineering and management. The book is organized in four sections. "A Career Playbook" engages the reader as they transition into a new job, or perhaps an entirely new career. The author provides deep insight into managers' and recruiters' thinking, and explores the reader's mindset to help them make better decisions. In "Deconstructing Management", Lopp describes the types of personalities that engineers and managers typically encounter in the workplace, and breaks down their actions, motivations and intentions. This is the longest and most detailed section of the book, and likely the one that readers will revisit most often as they try to make sense of the people they work with. "Your Daily Toolkit" opens with a brutally honest, but very funny "Nerd Handbook" that is designed to help the reader's significant other understand the geek they have chosen to be with. The rest of the section covers the day to day reality of the job, from task management to choosing tools to surviving presentations. Finally, "Your Next Gig" returns more or less to where the book started, describing the failure of an organization and the resulting transition to another new job. Throughout, the author maintains a humorous, colloquial, often conversational writing style that makes "Being Geek" a very entertaining read as well as an invaluable resource.
Date published: 2010-08-31

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Praise for Being Geek; Dedication; Preface; How to Contact Us; Safari™ Books Online; Acknowledgments; A CAREER PLAYBOOK; Chapter 1: How to Win; 1.1 A System Thinker; 1.2 People Are Messy; 1.3 A System of Improvisation; 1.4 A Career Blueprint; 1.5 A Collection of Moments; Chapter 2: A List of Three; 2.1 Technical Direction; 2.2 Growth; 2.3 Delivery; 2.4 Simplifying the Infinite; Chapter 3: The Itch; 3.1 Are You Answering the Phone?; 3.2 Bright and Shiny; Chapter 4: The Sanity Check; 4.1 Stalk Your Future Job; 4.2 Initial Tuning; 4.3 The Close; Chapter 5: The Nerves; 5.1 Question Types; 5.2 The Answer Process; 5.3 The Confidence of Knowing a Thing; Chapter 6: The Button; 6.1 Creatures and Structure; 6.2 Interview Creatures; 6.3 A Fresh Perspective; Chapter 7: The Business; 7.1 You Are the Business; 7.2 Pre-Game; 7.3 The Swag; 7.4 Negotiating Roles; 7.5 Meh; DECONSTRUCTING MANAGEMENT; Chapter 8: The Culture Chart; 8.1 Ninety Days; 8.2 Bridge; 8.3 Detecting Culture; 8.4 Culture Definers; 8.5 Game Over; Chapter 9: Managing Managers; 9.1 A Management Assessment; 9.2 The Essential Elements; 9.3 The Loop; Chapter 10: The Issue with the Doof; 10.1 On Experience; 10.2 Up; 10.3 Partial Information; 10.4 Beware the Doof; 10.5 Everything; Chapter 11: The Leaper; 11.1 On Excuses; 11.2 On Delivery; 11.3 Say Something Real; Chapter 12: The Enemy; 12.1 Management Transformations; 12.2 The M Word; Chapter 13: The Impossible; 13.1 A Hint of an Insane Plan; 13.2 Skin in the Game; 13.3 The Importance of Respect; 13.4 What He Really Wants; Chapter 14: Knee Jerks; 14.1 One Eighth of a Second; 14.2 The Jerks; 14.3 Stages of Jerk; Chapter 15: A Deep Breath; 15.1 Sigh; Chapter 16: Gaming the System; 16.1 An Entertaining System; 16.2 The Whiteboard Game; Chapter 17: Managing Werewolves; 17.1 A Dangerous Scenario; 17.2 People Lie, Some Are Evil, Others Just Want to Screw You; 17.3 This Isn't Role Playing; This Is Life or Death; 17.4 We Can't Let the Werewolves Win; Chapter 18: BAB; 18.1 On the Topic of Trust; 18.2 The Second Staff Meeting; Chapter 19: Your People; 19.1 Share What You Build; 19.2 You Tell Stories; Chapter 20: Wanted; 20.1 The Requisition Situation; 20.2 Deliberate Want; 20.3 Hire for Your Career; Chapter 21: The Toxic Paradox; 21.1 Big Fat Toxic Assumptions; 21.2 Go Team!; 21.3 A Toxic Paradox; 21.4 Everyone Is an Adjustment; Chapter 22: The Pond; 22.1 The Unspoken Royal We; 22.2 Do You Mean It?; 22.3 Another Pond; YOUR DAILY TOOLKIT; Chapter 23: The Nerd Handbook; 23.1 Understanding Your Nerd; 23.2 Advanced Nerd Tweakage; 23.3 The Next High; Chapter 24: The Taste of the Day; 24.1 The New Gig; 24.2 The Taste of the Day; Chapter 25: The Trickle List; 25.1 Trickle Creation; 25.2 The Trickle Process; 25.3 Structured Improvisation; Chapter 26: The Crisis and the Creative; 26.1 A Spectrum for Everything; 26.2 A Personal Model; Chapter 27: The Foamy Rules for Rabid Tools; 27.1 The Foamy Rules; 27.2 An Evolving Foaminess; Chapter 28: Up to Nothing; 28.1 An Essential Exercise in Inactivity; 28.2 Up to Nothing; 28.3 Don't Look for It; Chapter 29: How to Not Throw Up; 29.1 Not Throwing Up Is a Two-Phase Process; 29.2 Fret; Chapter 30: Out Loud; 30.1 Presentation or Speech?; 30.2 The Unforgivable Mistake; 30.3 The Disaster; 30.4 Reduction; 30.5 Presentation Punctuation; 30.6 Something for Their Pocket; Chapter 31: Bits, Features, and Truth; 31.1 That Damned Triangle; 31.2 Let the Negotiation Begin; It's About the Debate; Chapter 32: The Reveal; 32.1 Three Phases; 32.2 Three Alphas; 32.3 The Holy Shit Event Horizon; YOUR NEXT GIG; Chapter 33: The Screw-Me Scenario; 33.1 You Might Be Lying; 33.2 A Rubber Stamp Affair; 33.3 No Guilt, No Doubts, No Fear; 33.4 Game On; 33.5 The Unforgivable Spin; 33.6 A Screw-Me Detection Policy; Chapter 34: No Surprises; 34.1 Show Me the Money; 34.2 The Permanence of the Written; Chapter 35: A Deliberate Career; 35.1 Three Choices; 35.2 A Complete Opportunity Move; Chapter 36: The Curse of the Silicon Valley; 36.1 Apprenticeship; 36.2 On Language; 36.3 The Curse; 36.4 Geeks Gone Mainstream; Chapter 37: A Disclosure; 37.1 Management Is a Total Career Restart; 37.2 You Go to a Lot of Meetings; 37.3 You Are a Communication Hub; 37.4 Abstraction and Filtering; 37.5 You Will Be a Multilingual Translator; 37.6 Drama Everywhere; 37.7 Context Switcher; 37.8 Say No; 37.9 Say Yes; 37.10 Trust So You Can Scale; Chapter 38: Mind the Gap; 38.1 The Gaps; 38.2 A Matter of Perspective; Chapter 39: The Exodus; 39.1 This Sucks; 39.2 Which Wave?; Chapter 40: Bad News About Your Bright Future; 40.1 What's Next; 40.2 Biased by the Now; 40.3 An Uncomfortable Ending; Hurry; You're in a Hurry; The Rules of Back Alley Bridge; Preparing for Back Alley Bridge; Rules of Play; Colophon;