Archive for February, 2011

Book Review: Being Geek – The Software Developer’s Career Handbook.

Friday, February 25th, 2011

I’ll admit, I am not much for book reading. I like skimming the Internet and blogs but setting down with a book is not my thing. Maybe it is my Dyslexia, who knows. That is why I was surprised on how fast I read Being Geek by Michael Lopp.

Michael, who often goes by the name Rands, is a engineer manager in Silicon Vally by day and writer/blogger at night. Besides writing books, Rands writes a blog called Rands In Repose where he gives advice about living, working, and dealing with geeks and being a geek. It is well written blog with good content.

Back to Being Geek. The book claims to be the “The Software Developer’s Career Handbook” and it does just that. The content is not earth shattering but it does put things into perspective. Being Geek is written for the target audience of Geeks who tend to view the world in black and white. The content flows from the start of a Geek’s career to the end the current gig along with everything in between.  Chapters are short and to the point, each has a point to be made. While connected and in an order, the chapters can stand on their own. This made the book a joy to read because I didn’t have to go through the fluff to get to the point.

I thought the book was over all very good. There were a few chapters that felt they didn’t apply to me at this moment. These parts where more about being a manager, which I am not (yet anyways). With that said, may of the chapters did apply. The first section of the book walks through the finding a job and interviewing process. This was probably the biggest eye opener to me. I did not realise all the minuscule detail that interviewer is looking for, that is if they are any good. Rands goes into detail on what to expect and what the goals of the interviewee should be. For example, the phone screen, I learned, is all about communication. Can communication flow between the interviewer and interviewee. Rands also discusses the type of questions the interviewer is probably going to ask, why they ask it, and high level suggestions for answers.

In the end the book gave a lot of good information in a no nonsense cut the crap kind of way. I give credit to the Book and Rands for giving me some confidence and motivation in my career.

Android Development: The Fail

Monday, February 7th, 2011

So back in October I started the process of learning to do development for to android. Sadly, I am here today to admit that went poorly. This is my reflection on why it went badly and how I expect to better next time.

Problem 1: Me. Yup, that is right. The first problem I ran into was me. I have a lot of ideas for applications for Android and in general. The problem isn’t that I jumped right into development, it was when I jumped I landed in a spot that was over my head and that made me instantly frustrated. With in days of installing the tools and SDK my drive had died. I just got over whelmed with all the new that I didn’t take the time to learn.

Solution: While I hate doing the typical “Hello World” type apps, it is a necessary evil. It is the steps needed to ramp up understanding of the environmental. What I was trying to do was not hard but because I didn’t know the basics of Android development, it was difficult to find help. The process isn’t hard and takes a bit of time but ramping up is needed to keep from being overwhelmed.

Problem 2: Holy cow, embedded application development is slow. Let me be clear, development isn’t slow but getting you application to run via emulator or on a device is painful. When it takes a few minute for my application to run, this just kills the fun and drive to continue. Especially when learning. When I was waiting, it was so easy to get side tracked.

Solution: I hear the sdk and emulators are getting better and faster. I am also in needed of a new PC which is pushing 5 years old or at least an upgrade or 2. Other than that, I am not sure what else I can do.

So the biggest problem was me. Once I can get through them, it should be pretty easy to continue. I plan on starting this again as I think there is some positive applications I could contribute to the community. However this is on hold for the moment. Need to get caught up on technologies related to my job, mainly ASP.NET MVC