(Photo by Flickr user Travis Wise, used under a Creative Commons license)
At Technical.ly’s NET/WORK event last night (we were thrilled to see so many folks attend!), Tariq Hook, Zip Code Wilmington’s director of education, spoke about the need-to-know essentials for people who want to land software development jobs.
The real secret, he said, is simply putting in the work and educating yourself on coding. He recommended starting with looking at your favorite company’s website or app and observing how they use technology. Then to look it up to learn more details.
“Engineers are extremely vain,” he said to laughter. “They will write white paper after white paper.”
He said research for that all starts with a simple Google search. Information about how to do anything in the coding world, he said, is at your fingertips, and all it takes to learn more about it is initiative.
Being a team player is also important, Hook said. “There’s no value in being a rockstar coder,” he said, adding that knowing how to communicate with others and work to each others’ strengths is key.
Hook encouraged people to “reinvent the wheel” in the sense that it’s admirable to get a firm understanding of how an app or site has been built and then figure out how to do it better. All of this can’t be done without training, and Hook said you’ll have to prove you can do what you say you can do on your resume. A good way to prep for that is by practicing with TopCoder, HackerRank and CodeWars, he said. Other helpful resources can be Software Engineering Radio and High Scalability.
Finally, Hook said you better get reading.
“You are what you read,” he said, warning that if you don’t keep up with the ever-evolving programming industry, you’ll find yourself irrelevant.
Below are the six books Hook said every coder should read. “You might get a job just for knowing these books exist,” he said, later noting that yes, you should actually read them, too.
Clean Code, by Robert Martin (aka “Uncle Bob”)
Once you’ve read those and want to refine your coding skills, Hook says to read these: