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Matt is the Group Leader of Research Application Development in the Research Informatics Division of Information Sciences at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Matt has been developing and supporting enterprise Java applications in support of life sciences research for St. Jude since 2001. Matt is a committer to multiple open source projects and is the founding member of the Memphis/Mid-South Java User Group. Matt is also a regular speaker on the No Fluff Just Stuff symposium series tour (as well as other major conferences), and his articles have appeared in GroovyMag and NFJS the Magazine. His current areas of interest include lean/agile software development, modularity and OSGi, mobile application development (iPhone/iPad/Android), web development (HTML5, etc.), and Groovy/Grails. Matt has posted 44 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Career 2.0: Take Control of Your Life

06.17.2009
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Published by: NFJS Publishing
ISBN: B00262MTOA

Reviewer Ratings

Relevance:
5

Readability:
5

Overall:
5

Buy it now

One Minute Bottom Line

If you're a software developer (chances are good that you are since you're hanging out at DZone!), you MUST read this book. I say that without any reservation whatsoever. If you follow Jared and Matthew's advice, you cannot help but enhance your career and have fun doing it! This book presents you with an easy to follow strategy to move from passive to active career management and provides a gold mine of practical advice to keep you continously learning and growing by selecting a language, technology, or skill set to learn and then sharing that learning through writing (blogging, articles, books, etc.) and public speaking. The icing on the cake is the Rogue's Gallery: no less than fifteen stories of other top notch developers who've put these principles into practice long before they were ever written down and where they are today. Do yourself (and your current or future boss!) a favor and read this book NOW.

Review

Preface

The preface begins by introducing the purpose and intended audience of the book, much of which has already been highlighted in this review. It closes with a roadmap of what's to come and a suggestion to definitely read the book from cover to cover rather than skipping directly to sections you "know" you need.

Career 2.0

This chapter sets the stage for the entire book by highlighting the employment paradigm shift that has occurred during the later stages of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Whereas my parents' and earlier generations would spend their entire careers with a single employer and a decent retirement package, my generation is now staring in the face of employers that often see us as "resources" that can be treated like USB "plug-n-play" devices. The remainder of the chapter lays out the key metaphor (and additional supporting metaphors) of the book, dividing developers into two classes: sharks (highlighted on the book's cover) and jellyfish. Which one are you? Feeling miserable and trapped? That's the first step...

Begin at the Beginning: Your Strategy

Where else can you begin? Anyone can benefit from a roadmap to follow when the path isn't yet clear. The authors in this chapter hit the highlights:

  • Decide to invest in yourself;
  • Select what you want to learn;
  • Share it with the world;
  • Go after it!

Goals

Goal selection is very important. If you aim for nothing, you'll hit it every time. This chapter presents practical steps to decide what's important to you, look at other goals that maybe you need to set but don't know it by examining Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and then considering how you can bring others along with you. Next, they discuss how to actually go after those goals by breaking them down into "bite-sized" chunks that you can (and MUST) begin acting on today. The chapter closes with an admonition to share your goals, but to be careful of "crabs." 

Select

Ready to go? It's time to select. Who does the selecting: you or your employer? The authors show you where each choice can potentially take you. Want to get the most bang for your buck? Choose a technical "workout" that will really push your "mental muscles." Looking for ideas? Look no further. Is your team/employer standing in your way? Advice awaits. All of this and more awaits in "Select."

Share

So now you've become the first official "insert buzzworthy technology here" guru, but no one's banging on your door with a multi-million dollar offer. What gives? It doesn't matter if you've built a better mousetrap if no one knows about it. And hey, we're all developers here trying to solve similar problems every day. If you've solved a problem, let us know why don't ya? Do that enough and we'll all think you're a guru too! This chapter is a brilliant segue into some of the best material I've ever seen on writing and speaking.

Writing

Why write? Career 2.0 has the answer. "But I can't write anything but assembly code!" That's OK, the English (and other human) languages can be mastered in much the same way you learned to write code. Read it and write it yourself. Practice, practice, practice. From blogging to books, the authors show you how to use the powerful medium of the written word to benefit yourself and others.

Public Speaking: Be Heard!

The thought of speaking in front of any group makes most folks want to crawl into the fetal position and hide. Yet, at some point in our careers, we all get called upon to do it. So what do we do? Attack that fear head on and get out there and speak. The authors show you how. First, they walk you through the elements of a great presentation. Next, they give incredible tips on how to effectively communicate with an audience by pointing out speaking faux paus and how to correct them. Third, they talk about how to build effective slides. Finally they point out several great ways to get the practice that you need. Before reading this book I thought I was a pretty decent speaker, but now I've learned differently and I'm working to improve. Why don't you join me?

Take the Rudder

Every great book has a great ending, and Career 2.0 is no exception. The authors blitz through the highpoints and close with an incredible admonition to take control of your life. TODAY!

Appendix One: Break it Down

This appendix is like the "Cliff's Notes" for Career 2.0. It takes typical goals, presents a strategy for reaching them, and the provides action items for today and RIGHT NOW.

Appendix Two: A Rogue's Gallery

As I've already mentioned in other parts of this review, this appendix is a pure gold mine. If you're at all familiar with the No Fluff Just Stuff tour, you've probably heard of most of these guys. Here they tell the story of how they've managed their career, the mistakes they've made, the lessons they've learned, and where it's brought them to today. If you're looking for folks to emulate, look no further.

Appendix Three: Resources

Want to go deeper with these topics? The authors have provided a core dump of some of their favorite speaking, writing, and career resources here. Don't know what languages or technologies to go after? You don't have an excuse anymore. The authors have provided a list that will keep you busy for a long time to come.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Matt Stine.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)