The Career Programmer: Guerilla Tactics for an Imperfect World / Edition 2

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Unrealistic schedules, unstable releases, continual overtime, and skyrocketing stress levels are legendary in the software development industry. Unlike traditional occupations such as accounting or administration, the software business is populated with programmers who are as creative and passionate about their work as musicians and artists. But for most programmers and project managers, it is a complete surprise when they enter the business world and find that internal politics, inept management, and unrealistic marketing drive the process, rather than a structured and orderly approach based on technical issues and quality.

This guide, delivered with the wit and aplomb to make a serious topic entertaining and palatable, will help you survive the programming industry. The Career Programmer explains how you can work within the existing system to solve deadline problems and regain control of the development process. Youll master self-defense techniques to shield yourself, your project, and your code from corporate politics, arbitrary management decisions, and marketing-driven deadlines. Author Chris Duncan provides proven, practical, hands-on solutions designed to work even when tested by the political and chaotic realities of the business environment. Issues are addressed from the points of view of both the programmer and project manager, and steps are illustrated from all perspectivesfrom large-scale teams down to projects with a single developer. For you, the end results will mean less overtime and stress, higher-quality software, and a more satisfying career.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
For years, The Career Programmer has been the definitive guide for programmers who want to succeed in the workplace. It’s still that. But in today’s age of outsourcing, when you’re lucky to even have a pointy-haired boss, it’s more. This Second Edition is a terrific guide to getting hired, evading age discrimination, even hanging out your own shingle and “flying solo.”

Christopher Duncan’s the same joy to read as ever: wry, sometimes flat-out funny, always real. You can tell he’s been there. Is there. You can tell it when he’s writing about wrangling corporate bureaucracies, or managing your time, or estimates, or requirements, or QA. You can tell it when he’s writing about resumes, job interviewing, or overcoming fear of change. If you want to take control of your programming career, instead of griping about it (or mourning it), read this book. Bill Camarda, from the March 2006 Read Only

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590596241
  • Publisher: Apress
  • Publication date: 1/26/2006
  • Series: Expert's Voice Series
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Founder of Practical Strategy Consulting, Christopher Duncan is the bestselling author of Unite the Tribes and The Career Programmer. He's been a frequent guest on radio shows across the country, his monthly columns have been read by hundreds of thousands worldwide, and he is widely acclaimed for his immensely practical approach to success in the real world where self interest and office politics are often more prevalent than common sense.

This keen insight does not come by accident. Christopher has an unusually diverse background which includes a career in sales consulting, life as a professional musician, and experience fighting deadlines as a cubicle-dwelling software developer. He's also performed mind-numbing factory work, labored on construction sites, and built components for guided missiles. Currently, he writes, speaks and mentors professionals on career and business strategies. He understands the problems and goals of your people, from the lowest-paid workers to the executive elite, because he's been there himself and lived to tell the tale.

Whether he's talking about the job-related anxieties of the night watchman's attack chihuahua or explaining the relationship between bunny slippers and corporate productivity, his humor and light-hearted antics will entertain your audience as he shares his vision of success through the pursuit of American excellence.

Lively, expressive, and a consummate professional with three decades of stage experience, Christopher delivers an exciting and practical message to your people, inspiring them to reach for their very best and showing them how to get there in the real world, where things don't always go according to plan. Most importantly, he makes sure that everyone has a little fun in the process.

He can be reached at

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Welcome to the corporate world 3
Ch. 2 Business is war : meet the enemy 21
Ch. 3 Good coding skills are not enough 45
Ch. 4 Preventing arbitrary deadlines 59
Ch. 5 Getting your requirements etched in stone 75
Ch. 6 Effective design under fire 95
Ch. 7 Practical estimating techniques 111
Ch. 8 Fighting for quality assurance 127
Ch. 9 Keeping the project under control 141
Ch. 10 Managing your management 159
Ch. 11 Corporate self-defense 175
Ch. 12 Controlling your destiny 189
Ch. 13 Get a job (sha na na na ...) 201
Ch. 14 Career 2.0 219
Ch. 15 Flying solo 231
Ch. 16 Job security 245
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2006

    essential reading, not only for developers

    in mentally preparing myself for the otherwise potentially uncomfy face-time involved at a recent meeting at which i knew i'd essentially be 'let go' (but not before i made clear my statement of what happened, i tell you what!), i Google'd around for quotes and other project-mismanagement ammunition i may have needed, and in the process located your book. even just part of the chapter on Managing Your Management which i read on the subway ride up to their office simmered me down to a low boil with its sheer insight about some things i did wrong, confirmation of things they did wrong, but most importantly Affirmation of some ideals i hold firm that are very Right. as a result i was able to state my position quite calmly, objectively (i'll admit watching Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, and witnessing his method of debate, helped too). mind you, it doesn't change the fact that the endgame of this particular project is me being dissociated from it and them handling the remainder of the client change requests internally... but it also doesn't change the fact that, well, things weren't going as planned from the get-go, and now at least i've got this excellent book to not only assist me in preventing future mishap and project scope insanity, but manage the human behavior side of things that i'll admit i haven't addressed in my own practices for far too long.

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