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Making it Big in Software: Get the Job. Work the Org. Become Great.
by Sam Lightstone

Prentice Hall
1 edition
March 20, 2010
456 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, April 2010
  (10 of 10)

"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. The author says it is also for those with decades of experience. Probably does but I can't relate to that yet. The book is a mixture of advice, realism about the software world and interviews.

The interviews are interspersed between chapters with selected quotes referenced in the text body. It was a bit disorienting when the quotes were "forward references" but that went away quickly. The author asks the same questions of each interviewee including how they track trends, manage their time, pet peeves and advice. It was fascinating to read what Marissa Mayer (Google) and James Gosling (java) had to say among others. There was a nice balance on the types of people interviewed from CEOs that started their own company to those who rose from the ranks.

I particularly liked the sections on how to define success (it's not just money), the importance of liking what you do and soft skills. Some of the advice was classic (4 quadrants of time management, hype cycle and general advice) and some was software focused (patents, publishing, public speaking). The examples were great. Larry, Curly and Moe were featured regularly in making examples tangible. It reminded me of giving users names in user stories.

What was most valuable:
* for students - school vs job, landing a job
* for those new to the workforce - time management, mentoring skills
* for those experienced - leadership, career planning, routes to success

I enjoyed reading the book and have a whole list of discussion points from it. I highly recommend you buy your own copy!

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