The following book recommendations cover what I have found to be the essentials of any good programmer:
* Good methodology
* Plenty of experience
Creativity is an essential ingredient in all IT endeavours, from designing systems of hardware to programming applications. We all use it but sometimes under extreme stress (the ubiquitious limited budget and time constraints), burn out or reaching the preriphery of our creative output we need a new source of inspiration. One book I highly recommend is Cracking Creativity by Michael Michalko. This is a very straight forward and easy read with some surprising techniques in opening new avenues of creativity for solving IT problems.
Object Oriented design. How often have you heard people pay lip-service to the method only to find their work contains the hydra of code duplication, workarounds and coding soliloquies that put Shakespeare to shame? I found a book in the year 2000 that offers a full object-oriented method explanation with exercises and examples that is a must for any serious programmer. Designing Object-Oriented Software by Rebecca Wirfs-Brock et al, takes you from the description of objects to providing diagrammatical tools, methods of induction and investigation and examples, giving you the groundwork to design robust responsiblity-driven systems and say yes to the projects that others have to turn down.
Your knowledge and experience are your most important professional assets (Hunt & Thomas 2000:12). The following book I cannot recommend highly enough. The Pragmatic Programmer, from Journeyman to Master by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas is packed full of great ideas and concepts annexed to a vigorous IT philosophy. This book encapsulates years of experience and knowledge with the latest IT concepts (Agile Programming) to make you a better programmer.
All of these books put me at the top of the pile of programmers in my field of programming and from others to whom I have recommended these books I have received very encouraging feedback. If you wish to benefit from these book recommendations the details for each are as follows:
* Wirfs-Brock, Rebecca., Wilkerson, Brian., Wiener, Lauren., (1990)"Designing Object-Oriented Software", P T R Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
* Hunt, Andrew., Thomas, David., (2000) "The Pragmatic Programmer", Addison-Wesley, New York.
* Michalko, Michael., (2001) "Cracking Creativity, The Secrets of Creative Genius", Ten Speed Press, California
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