Best Books to Read to Advance Your Career in Tech

Best Books to Read to Advance Your Career in Tech

There is no difference between looking for a job when you have just graduated from college or you are thinking about a career change. Both need proper knowledge.

Although finding a new opportunity seems challenging, there are some ways to prepare ourselves, learning from other people’s experiences. 

Let’s continue reading this article and find out one of the best ways to expand our knowledge before starting a new career.

“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”

Jane Smiley, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Novel

Launching a career in tech, like any other career, starts with reading canonical and formative books. 

Reading books can change our perspective on work and, ultimately, our lives. 

For this month, we decided to create a “book” guideline, for people who are interested in working in tech. 

Here’s the shortlist for you:

  1. The Year in Tech, 2021: Tools for Preparing Your Team for the Future
  2. Ask Your Developer: How to Harness the Power of Software Developers and Win in the 21st Century
  3. Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change
  4. Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One
  5. The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success
  6. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
  7. The Imagination Machine: How to Spark New Ideas and Create Your Company’s Future

“The more we read books, the more we develop ourselves in the light of knowledge. The light of knowledge increases the power of our mind and expands its scope. Reading broadens our imagination by stimulating the right side of our brain. It literally opens our minds to new possibilities and new ideas helping us experience and analyze the world through others’ lives.” — Eruslan Yilmaz [9]

The Year in Tech, 2021

Tools for Preparing Your Team for the Future

Authors: David Weinberger, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Darrell K. Rigby, David Furlonger

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

Abstract

A year of HBR’s essential thinking on tech—all in one place.

From 5G networks to biometric marketing and from augmented reality to AI wearables, new technologies are reshaping business on the factory floor and in the C-suite. What should you and your company be doing now to take advantage of the new opportunities these technologies are creating—and avoid falling victim to disruption?

The Year in Tech 2021: The Insights You Need from Harvard Business Review will help you understand what the latest and most important tech innovations mean for your organization and how you can use them to compete and win in today’s turbulent business environment.

Business is changing. Will you adapt or be left behind? Get up to speed and deepen your understanding of the topics that are shaping your company’s future with the Insights You Need from the Harvard Business Review series. Featuring HBR’s smartest thinking on fast-moving issues—blockchain, cybersecurity, AI, and more—each book provides the foundational introduction and practical case studies your organization needs to compete today and collects the best research, interviews, and analysis to get it ready for tomorrow.

You can’t afford to ignore how these issues will transform the landscape of business and society. The Insights You Need series will help you grasp these critical ideas—and prepare you and your company for the future.


Ask Your Developer

How to Harness the Power of Software Developers and Win in the 21st Century

Author: Jeff Lawson 

Foreword: Eric Ries

Publisher: Harper Business

Abstract

Jeff Lawson, developer turned CEO of Twilio (one of Bloomberg Businessweek’s Top 50 Companies to Watch in 2021), creates a new playbook for unleashing the full potential of software developers in any organization, showing how to help management utilize this coveted and valuable workforce to enable growth, solve a wide range of business problems, and drive digital transformation.

From banking and retail to insurance and finance, every industry is turning digital, and every company needs the best software to win the hearts and minds of customers. The landscape has shifted from the classic build vs. buy question, to one of build vs. die. Companies have to get this right to survive. But how do they make this transition?

Software developers are sought after, highly paid, and desperately needed to compete in the modern, digital economy. Yet most companies treat them like digital factory workers without really understanding how to unleash their full potential. Lawson argues that developers are the creative workforce who can solve major business problems and create hit products for customers—not just grind through rote tasks. From Google and Amazon, to one-person online software companies—companies that bring software developers in as partners are winning. Lawson shows how leaders who build industry changing software products consistently do three things well. First, they understand why software developers matter more than ever. Second, they understand developers and know how to motivate them. And third, they invest in their developers’ success.

As a software developer and public company CEO, Lawson uses his unique position to bridge the language and tools executives use with the unique culture of high performing, creative software developers. Ask Your Developer is a toolkit to help business leaders, product managers, technical leaders, software developers, and executives achieve their common goal—building great digital products and experiences.

How to compete in the digital economy? In short: Ask Your Developer.


Extreme Programming Explained

Embrace Change

Authors: Kent Beck, Cynthia Andres

Foreword: Erich Gamma 

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

Abstract

Software development projects can be fun, productive, and even daring. Yet they can consistently deliver value to a business and remain under control.

Extreme Programming (XP) was conceived and developed to address the specific needs of software development conducted by small teams in the face of vague and changing requirements. This new lightweight methodology challenges many conventional tenets, including the long-held assumption that the cost of changing a piece of software necessarily rises dramatically over the course of time. XP recognizes that projects have to work to achieve this reduction in cost and exploit the savings once they have been earned.

Fundamentals of XP include:

Distinguishing between the decisions to be made by business interests and those to be made by project stakeholders. Writing unit tests before programming and keeping all of the tests running at all times. Integrating and testing the whole system–several times a day. Producing all software in pairs, two programmers at one screen. Starting projects with a simple design that constantly evolves to add needed flexibility and remove unneeded complexity. Putting a minimal system into production quickly and growing it in whatever directions prove most valuable.

Why is XP so controversial? Some sacred cows don’t make the cut in XP:

Don’t force team members to specialize and become analysts, architects, programmers, testers, and integrators–every XP programmer participates in all of these critical activities every day. Don’t conduct complete up-front analysis and design–an XP project starts with a quick analysis of the entire system, and XPprogrammers continue to make analysis and design decisions throughout development. Develop infrastructure and frameworks as you develop your application, not up-front–delivering business value is the heartbeat that drives XP projects. Don’t write and maintain implementation documentation–communication in XP projects occurs face-to-face, or through efficient tests and carefully written code.

You may love XP, or you may hate it, but “Extreme Programming Explained” will force you to take a fresh look at how you develop software.

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Source: Publisher


A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.

William Styron


Pivot

The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One

Author: Jenny Blake

Publisher: Portfolio

Abstract

“Looking to make a career change? Pivot is a book you will turn to again and again.”—Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive

If you’ve got the perfect job or business, congratulations. But if you are even a little bit uncertain that your current gig is the right one, it is time to start thinking about your next move. In the new world of work, it’s the only move that matters.

What’s next? is a question we all have to ask and answer more frequently in an economy where the average job tenure is only four years, roles change constantly even within that time, and smart, motivated people find themselves hitting professional plateaus. But how do you evaluate options and move forward without getting stuck? Jenny Blake’s solution: It’s about small steps, not big leaps—and the answer is already right under your feet. This book will teach you how to pivot from a base of your existing strengths.

Pivoting is a crucial strategy for Silicon Valley tech companies and startups. Jenny Blake—a former training and career development specialist at Google who now runs her own company as a career and business consultant and speaker—shows how pivoting can also be a successful strategy for individuals looking to make changes in their work lives, whether within their role, organization or business, or setting their sights on bigger shifts.

When you pivot, you double down on your existing strengths and interests to move in a new, related direction, instead of looking so far outside of yourself for answers that you skip over your hard-won expertise and experience. It empowers you to navigate changes with flexibility and strength—now and throughout your entire career.

Much like the lean business principles that took Silicon Valley by storm, pivoting is the crucial skill you need to stay agile, whether or not you are actively looking for a new position.

No matter your age, industry, or bank account balance, Jenny’s advice will help you move forward strategically. Her Pivot Method will teach you how to:

  • Double down on existing strengths, interests, and experiences. Identify what is working best and where you want to end up, then start to bridge the gap between two.
  • Scan for opportunities and identify new skills without falling prey to analysis paralysis or compare and despair. Explore options by leveraging the network and experience you already have.
  • Run small experiments to determine next steps. Do side projects to test ideas for your next move, taking the pressure off having the entire answer up front.
  • Take smart risks to launch with confidence in a new direction. Set benchmarks to decide when the time is right to go all-in on your new direction.

Pivot also includes valuable insight for leaders who want to have more frequent career conversations with their teams to help talented people pivot within their roles and the broader organization.

No matter your current position, one thing is clear: your career success and satisfaction depends on your ability to determine your next best move. If change is the only constant, let’s get better at it.


The Up Side of Down

Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success

Author: Megan McArdle

Publisher: Penguin Books

Abstract

“Clever, surprisingly fast-paced, and enlightening.”

Forbes

Most new products fail. So do most businesses. And most of us, if we are honest, have experienced a major setback in our personal or professional lives. So what determines who will bounce back and follow up with a home run? What separates those who keep treading water from those who harness the lessons from their mistakes?

One of our most popular business bloggers, Megan McArdle takes insights from emergency room doctors, kindergarten teachers, bankruptcy judges, and venture capitalists to teach us how to reinvent ourselves in the face of failure. The Up Side of Down is a book that just might change the way you lead your life.


Lean In

Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Author: Sheryl Sandberg

Publisher: Knopf

Abstract

The #1 international bestseller

In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg reignited the conversation around women in the workplace.

Sandberg is chief operating officer of Facebook and coauthor of Option B with Adam Grant. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TED talk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which has been viewed more than six million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

Lean In continues that conversation, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can. Sandberg provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career. She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment, and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women both in the workplace and at home.

Written with humor and wisdom, Lean In is a revelatory, inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth that will empower women around the world to achieve their full potential. 


The Imagination Machine

How to Spark New Ideas and Create Your Company’s Future

Authors: Martin Reeves, Jack Fuller

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

Abstract

A guide for mining the imagination to find powerful new ways to succeed.

We need imagination now more than ever—to find new opportunities, rethink our businesses, and discover paths to growth. Yet too many companies have lost their ability to imagine. What is this mysterious capacity? How does imagination work? And how can organizations keep it alive and harness it in a systematic way?

The Imagination Machine answers these questions and more. Drawing on the experience and insights of CEOs across several industries, as well as lessons from neuroscience, computer science, psychology, and philosophy, Martin Reeves of Boston Consulting Group’s Henderson Institute and Jack Fuller, an expert in neuroscience, provide a fascinating look into the mechanics of imagination and lay out a process for creating ideas and bringing them to life:

  1. The Seduction: How to open yourself up to surprises
  2. The Idea: How to generate new ideas
  3. The Collision: How to rethink your idea based on real-world feedback
  4. The Epidemic: How to spread an evolving idea to others
  5. The New Ordinary: How to turn your novel idea into an accepted reality
  6. The Encore: How to repeat the process—again and again.

Imagination is one of the least understood but most crucial ingredients of success. It’s what makes the difference between an incremental change and the kinds of pivots and paradigm shifts that are essential to transformation—especially during a crisis.

The Imagination Machine is the guide you need to demystify and operationalize this powerful human capacity, to inject new life into your company, and to head into unknown territory with the right tools at your disposal.


Sources and Links

[1] 10 must-read technology books for 2021

[2] Here are 15 books that will help you succeed in the tech world

[3] 10 Books By Women To Kickstart Your Tech Career 

[4] 7 books that should be required reading early in your career

[5] 3 Must-Read Books If You’re Starting Your Career 

[6] 4 Technical Books For Any Stage In Your Tech Career

[7] Best Books for Starting a Career in Tech

[8] 12 Awesome Books That’ll Help You Get Whatever You Want in Your Career

[9] How Does Reading Help You Gain Knowledge?

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