Book Review: The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide, by John Sonmez


First of all: if you have no idea who is John Sonmez you definitely have to work on it! Go to and figure it out! 😉

Second, it’s my pleasure to do this briefly book review (actually a chapter review!), focusing on the area that I most believe and have seen lots of developers failing: advancing their careers.

This is the second John’s book. The first one, “Soft Skills”, was a best seller and we should not expect nothing less for this new one. Mr Sonmez is very successful software developer and entrepreneur and had helped thousands (maybe millions?) of developers around the world on improving their careers.

So I’ll give to you a overview of the Section 5, “Advancing Your Career“. It covers these chapters down bellow:

  • Chapter 48 – Creating a Reputation
  • Chapter 49 – Networking and Groups
  • Chapter 50 – Keeping Your Skills Up to Date
  • Chapter 51 – Generalist vs. Specialist
  • Chapter 52 – Speaking and Conferences
  • Chapter 53 – Creating a Blog
  • Chapter 54 – Freelancing and Starting a Business
  • Chapter 55 – Career Paths
  • Chapter 56 – Job Stability and Security
  • Chapter 57 – Training and Certifications
  • Chapter 58 – Side Projects
  • Chapter 59 – Best Books to Read
  • Chapter 60 – Parting Words

By reading this section and those chapters I truly believe that the author was able to cover most of the key topics that developers have to pay attention and work hard in order to moving their careers forward.

Let’s have a quick overview of my 3 favorite.

Chapter 48 – Creating a Reputation

The author show here how you are supposed to work on your reputation in order the be a known professional. Let’s be honest: do you believe that you will get the best opportunities if no one knows who you are?

Skills like personal marketing, personal brand building and value creation are worked in details.

Chapter 50 – Keeping Your Skills Up to Date

If you are following my posts for a little while you already know that I consider “not keeping up to date” one of the biggest mistakes that developers make (see 5 Mistakes That Keep Java EE Developers Away from Great Projects). The author also covered this topic at his book.

You will learn how to plan it and how to take action on it. He also covers how to find which topics you should work on.

More than anything, the author brings to you real practice advices, as keeping up to date is a real practical thing to do!

Chapter 52 – Speaking and Conferences

Speaking has many things to do with reputation and personal branding, and the author gave a great focus on it.

As John says: “I think every software developer should try their hand at speaking.

He also goes deep into the “conferences” matter: attending, planning, what to do and how to take the most benefits from them.


So if you were wondering if there’s a good book out there that could help you improve your career, here’s a great one!


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