Career Survival Skills
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I've been reading the book "Making it Big in Software" by Sam Lightstone and as a result, I've been thinking quite a bit about careers and all the skills that go into making a satisfying career. On top of Sam's book, I've been reading his blog and have noticed a few articles that I'd like to share with you.
First the articles.
Last year I read an article called "5 sure ways to get fired" and I wrote a blog entry about the article. This blog entry that I wrote has turned out to be one of my most viewed entries... "Trying to Get Fired?"
A few weeks ago I came across another article that sounds similar: "10 Ways to Make Yourself Layoff Proof". This is a slideshow, with not much information, but you'll find that Sam covers most of these topics in his book.
Today while waiting in line for coffee, I noticed an article posted on the bulletin board called "Soft Skills are Sexy". Clearly I don't go to coffee very often... the article was published last June! Luckily it can still be found online. Again, you won't be surprised by anything in this article, but note that these skills are also mentioned in Sam's book as being important.
Now about Sam's book. If you read my blog, you'll already know that I'm both a fan of Sam's and of his book. I'm doing what I can to promote Sam's book as it fits in well with my job as publishing program manager, but also with the team I'm on... education.
I would say that the thing most surprising about Sam's book so far is the number of audiences that it appeals to.
1) Obviously this book would appeal to anyone in university about to embark on a full time job. As Sam mentions in his book, school is much different than a job as a software developer in a big company... and to be successful, you need to learn the differences and adjust your behaviour for maximum impact. I really wish that this book was available when I graduated! I was really new to a corporate environment since I came from a family that was into farming and construction. I have noticed throughout my career that collegues that had professional parents were able to work the system much better than I could. This book will help bridge that kind of gap.
2) Similar to those in university are those in the first couple of years on the job. Once you've figured out what you like and dislike about your job / career, you can use the advice in this book to make a real difference as to whether you are put on the fast track or not. The two things that stand out to me at this moment are: 1) become a domain expert; and 2) follow through on your inspirational ideas! These sound so easy to me...yet apparently they are rarely done!
3) People in their mid career can benefit from this book as they can figure out why they may have stalled, if they have, or how to rise a few steps higher, if they so choose. The advice in this book is suitable for any stage of your career.
4) Recruiters. Sam tells stories about when he was recruiting new employees and the types of people he favoured. Over time he realized that he wasn't looking for the right qualities! This goes hand in hand with the fact that school success and career success are quite different. You might be surprised by Sam's findings.
5) Someone I spoke to yesterday gave me this tip. He is a manager and wants to read the book so that he can help his employees reach their potential. What a great manager! I think he should win an award of some kind! But what a great idea. Managers who read this book will become better mentors and coaches from their employees. A successful team reflects very well on the leader of the team!
I strongly encourage you to read the book for yourself and to recommend it to others. Here are a few of the websites that I suggest you read for furt
LinkedIn Group - Career based articles and events about the book will be posted here.
Sam's Blog: The Making it Big Blog. Sam has been summarizing some of the points he makes in his book and blogging about them. Active blog and interesting entries.
Valerie's Blog: yesterday Valerie Skinner posted a lengthy interview that she did with Sam on her blog. It is a very interesting read and you'll learn about Sam's up bringing and passions.
Quite a few people have been posting their reviews of Sam's book. Here are a bunch of them:
eweek: The Golden Age of Software - "What makes the book particularly attractive was Sam’s willingness to go out and interview other software stars, including Google’s Marissa Mayer, Java inventor James Gosling and Apple founder Steve Wozniak. The interviews alone are worth the price of admi
Sam Lightstone has put together what could easily be called the blueprint to a successful career in software. He covers college, post-college pre-career, interviewing, resumes, fitting into the work environment, salary discussions, and more, much more."
Dr. Dobbs - Review of Making it Big in Software - The author accurately concludes that the road to software development career success is attained by following mythologist Joseph Campbell's advice to "Follow your bliss".
Java Ranch - Review - "Making it Big in Software" is a career book that manages to apply to people at many levels. It is good for students, new hires, mid level software professionals and those interested in starting their own company.
iProgrammer - Review - "Software is an amazing place to build a career". If you agree with this sentiment that opens Sam Lightstone's book you are likely to enjoy reading it and find it motivating.
I hope that you take my advice and pick up this book! You can purchase it in many places right now for about $20... which is very inexpensive! You can get a cheaper copy in electronic format. Once you read the book... I'm sure you'll become as passionate about it as I am!