Book Review: The Pragmatic Programmer – From Journeyman to Master by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas

Pranay PandeyPublished: Updated:

Pragmatic ProgrammerIn my last book review for “The Passionate Programmer – Creating Remarkable Career in Software Development by Chad Fowler,” we saw how this book can help you build a rewarding career in the IT industry. How you can imagine your professional profile as a product in a competitive market, and invest in it to maintain an edge.

Now I’m going to review “The Pragmatic Programmer – From Journeyman to Master by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas“. If you are onboard with the message given by Chad Fowler in his book, The Pragmatic Programmer should be your next reading choice.

This is an amazing book that conveys lower level details about how to think, plan, code, test and deliver solutions to real world problem definitions.  It gives you guidelines for avoiding many problems that you may face, by working the right way as a programmer. It will teach you how to attack real world requirements from the mindset of a software engineer so that whatever you are building is really addressing customer problems. Also the importance of coding with conventions, as you are actually building an asset and it should have lower maintenance costs. The practical exposure is key of this book, you get to work on exercises as a programmer as well to make sure you understood the details given after the topics. “From Journeyman to Master” is a very accurate summary by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas.

When you start your career in the software industry after years of school, you learn many things from the experience of many projects over a long period. This book can actually train you on those things quickly and in the beginning of your career so that you don’t actually need to wait for all those years. It will be a asset to your career if you read it in the beginning and learn things in advance instead of waiting for the experiences to come. This book uses many examples to communicate efficiently, such as, “we should avoid programming by coincidence – relying on luck and accidental successes in favor of programming deliberately.”
The authors have shared their real life experiences to explain the importance of following a particular practice and how it has helped them. They have done quite well in explaining the importance of adjusting your course of action based on the current circumstances and environment through examples. They cover how continuing education in this industry can help you manage your knowledge portfolio.

If someone asked me, what is the best reference on software development best practices? I would recommend him this book.

One more valuable portion of this book is how it illustrates the requirements to maintain a long career in the software industry by mapping it to real world examples. Like the concept of a broken window is taken to the next level and explains how ignoring a small issue early can affect your project in the later stages. The author advises not to leave “broken windows” (bad designs, wrong decisions, or poor code) un-repaired. Fix each one as soon as it is discovered. Take action to prevent further damage and to show that you’re on top of the situation.

This book has 8 sections and each section is divided in different sub-topics to cover every aspect of the best practices in software development in great detail:
1. A Pragmatic Philosophy
2. A Pragmatic Approach
3. The Basic Tools
4. Pragmatic Paranoia
5. Bend, or Break
6. While you are coding
7. Before the Project
8. Pragmatic Projects

This book is a practical guide on how to carry out a project whether you are implementing a new feature or fixing a bug, as well as how to deal with client requirements. It also explains different approaches for attacking project work, including how to plan and execute and the importance of testing your work.  It efficiently outlines the importance of finding a mentor and how easy it is. How to utilize a mentor in various ways and gain guidance for moving ahead in your career. There are lots of other things you will find useful. Whatever your current level is, this book will train you on something that you will find useful and will help you achieve excellence.

Again the important aspect here is to put the knowledge in action as soon as you have it. The authors of this book succeeded in putting this information together in one place as a starting point.

In this book you will see what others in the trenches say about The Pragmatic Programmer, you will most likely get so much out of it that you will read it multiple times.

This book is recommended  for everyone at HotWax Media.

Thanks for taking the time to read this review.

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Pranay Pandey About Pranay Pandey
Pranay Pandey has been in the software industry since 2006. He specializes in Enterprise Software Design and Development. At HotWax he currently leads the effort of architecting quality software products and training resources. He continues to be dedicated to the Apache OFBiz open source project since 2007 and became a committer in 2014. He leads our internal training programs in Apache OFBiz, ERP and new technologies under the roof of HotWax University. He is an Electronics graduate and has a masters degree in Computer Applications from Rajeev Gandhi Technical University, Bhopal (M.P.) India. He loves learning and sharing knowledge. He believes that one of the keys to success in this industry is to "keep learning". His hobbies are reading, writing, walking, running, cycling, cooking and watching science fiction movies.

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