Holiday Reading

This is a repost from my old blog and was originally posted in 2017.

Almost two years into my professional career, I have saved up enough vacation time to take three weeks of summer holiday. I spent it in my parent's summer house relaxing and getting some distance to my daily development job, and have a lot of time to read some books that I have had my eye on ever since I first read Clean Code by one of my professional heroes, Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob).
The first one is its follow-up-book, The Clean Coder and the second one is The Software Craftsman by Sandro Mancuso.

In this post, I talk a little about what type of books I recommend reading while on vacation and why.

There are a couple of types of software development books – the technical kind that are specific to a technology, framework or language – and to get the most out of these, you need to be in front of a computer with your fingers in code, to try everything for yourself – or at least have a computer nearby for some of the things. Then there are the technical ones, that are more generalized that talk about higher level patterns or concepts which doesn’t require a computer, but it is useful to at least try out each of the patterns talked about – this type also requires a lot of mental energy to consume, because of the complexity of the things talked about.
Lastly, there is the type that is on an even more abstract level, where there is nothing really technical, but the content focuses more on the techniques, inspiration and stories about what other more experienced developers have learned in their careers. These books read more like prose, and are easy to consume – while still providing a lot of food for though and inspiration.

The two books that I mentioned here, are of the latter type. They focus on the values, properties and characteristics of the true software professional – the craftsman.

They put into words, how a developer should approach his profession, how to behave on the job and how he should constantly try to improve his technical skills off-the-clock. We shouldn’t expect our employer to improve our skills and stay current with new technologies and trends in the development world. It’s nice if they do, but we should not expect it. These books describe how to do this.

The last couple of months, I have been preparing for my first certification (Exam 70-483 Programming in C#) and the reading I have done for that in my spare time, have been more on the technical side, and therefore it has required much more concentration and careful note taking.
These two books were more informative than technical, and therefore much better suited for reading when laying in the sun and relaxing with a drink.

That doesn’t mean they were not densely packed with great information. That will make a huge difference in my professional life, from now on.

I think vacation is a great time for that kind of books, because they don’t (to the same degree) require complex understanding, but are more idea- and story based, which makes them easy to consume without getting exhausted, and after a couple of hours.

Now that I have read these two books, I feel more inspired than every to start blogging again, and will try and do so, much more often from now on.

Not just that but I have been inspired, and have the tools to improve myself, and become a better developer!

Stay tuned for my thoughts on Uncle Bob’s The Clean Coder.

Mikkel Secher

Mikkel Secher