I can’t recall who recommended Chad Fowler’s book The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development to me, but I’m glad I read it. Fowler has many tips for identifying technologies worth mastering, learning more about the business domain for which your software is written, executing and exceeding your responsibilities, and marketing yourself. Although I wouldn’t characterize any of the suggestions as particularly groundbreaking, I think his format and writing style are conducive to making these lessons stick.

I found myself thinking more critically about the technologies I know best and asking myself whether they are worth betting on in the long run. I feel pretty good about learning even more about Ruby and JavaScript. But the work I’ve done in Elixir and some of the experimentation I’ve done with Elm seems important too and I’m looking forward to practicing those some more.

My favorite part of the book were his “Act on It!” directives at the end of many chapters. These exercises offer tactical ways of practicing the habits he suggests. I’ve already made a couple of changes to my workflow and calendar based on these suggestions.

If you’re looking for a book in the same vein as The Pragmatic Programmer, which was published by the same company, I would recommend this book. Although the book is less technical than The Pragmatic Programmer, it is useful for thinking about how to create opportunities in your career and enjoy your work more.