Geek Smithology

March 5, 2006

Reading List – The Pragmatic Programmer

Filed under: Craft of Dev,Reading List by Nathan @ 8:14 pm

The Pragmatic Programmer – From Journeyman to Master
by Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas

Written with wit by two authors who write code for a living and like it, the Pragmatic Programmer is no pedant’s paradise; it’s a plethora of patterns prescribing the path of progress for programmers. A quintessential manual for aspiring problem solvers, almost every good developer has a copy of the Pragmatic Programmer on his bookshelf. The great ones have read it.

A few of the internet wags have proscribed it as mere common sense, but common sense isn’t. So much of the industry stubbornly clings to a promotion ladder that looks something like this

Junior developers will be maintenance bitches until enough disgruntled senior programmers leave out of frustration to make head room for promotions.

The fact is that development is a craft, and would be much better served by a mentor/protégé relationship that demands contextual and meaningful learning. This book makes a pretty good surrogate mentor.

There’s also the rich vocabulary the book brings to bear for the true believers. Broken Windows, Programming by Coincidence, Boiled Frogs, Tracer Bullets – mention any of these terms to a pragmatic practitioner and you’ll get the same look of instant recognition as you do discussing Strategies and States with a devout follower of Design Patterns.

I’ve enjoyed recommending this book to fellow developers, and can’t wait to discuss the ideas with them after their first run-through. You can see the light bulb shining and all the energy that comes with insight. If you don’t have this book, go get it and read it right now – it’s that good and that important.

This is part of the Reading List series.

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