Book Review: The Coding Career Handbook

My rating: 5 / 5

The Coding Career Handbook lives up to its title. It is packed full of advice relevant throughout a software engineer’s career.

One of my goals this year is to take charge of my career. I wanted ideas on what direction I should pursue and how I could level up. Hence, this book caught my interest.

The Coding Career Handbook is organized in four parts:

  1. Career guides: advice for each career stage from junior through senior dev.
  2. Principles: timeless principles that will be relevant throughout your career. The author is well known for advocating learning in public, a recurring principle throughout the book.
  3. Strategies: how to make major career decisions such as working at a profit centre vs a cost centre, recognizing megatrends and whether to specialize or generalize.
  4. Tactics: useful tactical skills such as negotiating, marketing and how to approach side-projects.

The book is well organized. Each chapter is self-contained, making it easy to read the book cover to cover or in random access order.

A standout feature for me was the hundreds of curated links throughout the book to high-quality resources. This works really well for an ebook because it cuts down on lengthy exposition while giving the interested reader a starting point for further research. For example, the chapter on salary negotiation links to three great articles on the topic. The chapter distilled the most important takeaways from those articles with the author’s commentary.

There is a wide breadth of topics being covered. I feel this book would be most useful for those in the mid to senior engineer roles.

Here are my main takeaways from the book.

Overall, the book has something for any software engineer. I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for longer-term ideas on developing your career.