Finding needles

There has never been as much information easily accessible to anyone as right now. The ease of publishing your own writing leads to new problems: The question is no longer where do you find content about a topic but what content is good and worth your time?

To help you find the needle in the biggest haystack ever, here is my personal list of good content that influenced me.

The list

“Things You Should Never Do” by Joel Spolsky

One of the main things I have learned when going from a young software engineer to working professionally for years is the value of iteration. I’ve personally been burned by completely rewriting projects and ever since keep this article around to remind myself of that. Also of the pain of living through the javascript framework frontend wars.

Things You Should Never Do, Part 1

“Choose Boring Technology” by Dan McKinley

Years ago I read a blog post titled “Why I write Java” that basically boiled down to the author writing Java and using established technologies to focus on the product and not the tech. The blog’s first comment was “So you write java because you are an old, boring guy”. Sadly, that gem of internet discussion seems to be lost to time. This article presents the same ideas of cautioning against new technology (but not being dogmatic about never using it) and as a fellow old, boring person now I can see myself in it.

Choose Boring Technology

“The Product-Minded Software Engineer” by Gergely Orosz

Job identities are hard. Am I a software engineer that wants to build an amazing algorithm? Am I a “creator” that wants to build a product? Am I a manager that wants to build a team? If you struggle to pin down what you actually want to do, this article introduces yet another category to fit your life into.

The Product-Minded Software Engineer

“Give it five minutes” by Jason Fried

Jason Fried and anything Basecamp are an interesting source for thoughtful content on business, software engineering and as it turns out even life advice ;). This is a really short blogpost that reminds me to keep an open mind and be humble.

Give it five minutes

“Are Passions Serendipitously Discovered or Painstakingly Constructed?” by Cal Newport

A short blog for people being lost in life. If you are unsure about your goal in life or why you have no passions, maybe this is something to give you ideas. Also it has a headline that literally is “Short Case Study #2: The Bored Programmer”. If that does not fit the audience of this article, nothing will.

Are Passions Serendipitously Discovered or Painstakingly Constructed?

“Function + Feeling” by Haraldur Thorleifsson

This is a talk and not a blog but it fits the list. In a world focused on monetizing and optimizing everything, talking about predatory business models and the death of privacy this was a nice reminder that our work can have real, positive impact on people and it’s worth fighting for that.

Function + Feeling

“Salary Negotiation: Make More Money, Be More Valued” and “Don’t Call Yourself A Programmer, And Other Career Advice” by Patrick McKenzie

For software engineers just starting a career I think these blogs are an absolute must read to navigate the business side (not only of coding but for anything). Since reading these my opinions on the approach to working itself has changed quite a bit but I still consider them a solid into.

Salary Negotiation: Make More Money, Be More Valued

Don’t Call Yourself A Programmer, And Other Career Advice

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