The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master

Author: Andrew Hunt
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About This Book

Straight from the programming trenches, The Pragmatic Programmer cuts through the increasing specialization and technicalities of modern software development to examine the core process--taking a requirement and producing working, maintainable code that delights its users. 


This book covers topics ranging from personal responsibility and career development to architectural techniques for keeping your code flexible and easy to adapt and reuse.


Read this book, and you'll learn how to

  • Fight software rot;
  • Avoid the trap of duplicating knowledge;
  • Write flexible, dynamic, and adaptable code;
  • Avoid programming by coincidence;
  • Bullet-proof your code with contracts, assertions, and exceptions;
  • Capture real requirements;
  • Test ruthlessly and effectively;
  • Delight your users;
  • Build teams of pragmatic programmers; and
  • Make your developments more precise with automation.


Written as a series of self-contained sections and filled with entertaining anecdotes, thoughtful examples, and interesting analogies, The Pragmatic Programmer illustrates the best practices and major pitfalls of many different aspects of software development. Whether you're a new coder, an experienced programmer, or a manager responsible for software projects, use these lessons daily, and you'll quickly see improvements in personal productivity, accuracy, and job satisfaction. You'll learn skills and develop habits and attitudes that form the foundation for long-term success in your career. You'll become a Pragmatic Programmer.


What others in the trenches say about The Pragmatic Programmer...

“The cool thing about this book is that it’s great for keeping the programming process fresh. The book helps you to continue to grow and clearly comes from people who have been there.”

Kent Beck, author of Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change

“I found this book to be a great mix of solid advice and wonderful analogies!”

Martin Fowler, author of Refactoring and UML Distilled

“I would buy a copy, read it twice, then tell all my colleagues to run out and grab a copy. This is a book I would never loan because I would worry about it being lost.”

Kevin Ruland, Management Science, MSG-Logistics

“The wisdom and practical experience of the authors is obvious. The topics presented are relevant and useful.... By far its greatest strength for me has been the outstanding analogies—tracer bullets, broken windows, and the fabulous helicopter-based explanation of the need for orthogonality, especially in a crisis situation. I have little doubt that this book will eventually become an excellent source of useful information for journeymen programmers and expert mentors alike.”

John Lakos, author of Large-Scale C++ Software Design

“This is the sort of book I will buy a dozen copies of when it comes out so I can give it to my clients.”

Eric Vought, Software Engineer

“Most modern books on software development fail to cover the basics of what makes a great software developer, instead spending their time on syntax or technology where in reality the greatest leverage possible for any software team is in having talented developers who really know their craft well. An excellent book.”

Pete McBreen, Independent Consultant

“Since reading this book, I have implemented many of the practical suggestions and tips it contains. Across the board, they have saved my company time and money while helping me get my job done quicker! This should be a desktop reference for everyone who works with code for a living.”

Jared Richardson, Senior Software Developer, iRenaissance, Inc.

“I would like to see this issued to every new employee at my company....”

Chris Cleeland, Senior Software Engineer, Object Computing, Inc.

“If I’m putting together a project, it’s the authors of this book that I want. . . . And failing that I’d settle for people who’ve read their book.”

Ward Cunningham


by hwtan   2017-10-20
The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master

This book seems to be a classic for programmers.

by sjclemmy   2017-08-19
I did the same; taught myself css, php, javascript and quit my FTJ last Christmas. Best thing I ever did.

I also sent the following as advice to someone wanting to get into web dev:

"I was just thinking of 'easy ins' to the world of web development and a good source of information is there's a lot of information from people who work in the world of tech startups and it's good information.

Also - if you are wanting to do php dev the key things to learn are: Software engineering techniques and practice - object oriented development and abstract patterns are key to how to think about good development. Database design and development (1st normal form, third normal form etc) Learn SQL. (SQL for dummies or similar is good for the basic commands and syntax etc.) - it's the best source of help for software development on the internet. read books, the ones that come up again and again when people talk about learning to program:

also - look at - that's where programmers keep their source code.

Learn about Object Oriented Programming, Design Patterns, MVC (which is a design pattern) is specifcally useful for web development.

Also - demand for javascript programmers will increase over the coming years because of things like jQuery and Ajax.

That's my starter for ten - if you are interested in a career as a web programmer.

If you want to focus more on the html/css design side you could do worse than focusing on one CMS - such as wordpress and learning it inside out - you could then offer that to clients and it's a good way to provide web sites cheaply with very little effort."

by hga   2017-08-19
As a 54 year old alum:

Unless you've been seriously programming for a number of years, with a fair amount of that in teams, including face to face ones, you're probably not nearing your peak. I'd suggest reading The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master ( and judge where you are in the range from journeyman to master.

If you're looking for "lock-in", i.e. be easily employable past your ability to fake looking under 35, I'd suggest getting a job with a serious security clearance, which can be a trick, or specialize in one of the fields that respects grey hairs like embedded (but only so much depending on the sub-field, e.g. Detroit car companies at least in times past recruited heavily from Course 6 because they too got rid of their older EEs and programmers).

If you goal is to really work for yourself, and you think you can eventually bill at a rate 5-6 times the income you want to receive---maybe talk to some professors who make a lot of money on their one day a week dedicated to that, albeit they do it with MIT Professor on the CV---yes, that's a very good way to go. But hard for most people. See e.g. this comment which points out you have to compete on quality, not price, and a couple of HN contributors who've written a lot about that.

Medicine: in a county, or the developed "West", where people by and large don't directly pay for their own medical care, and those who do pay are looking at a rapidly graying population, well, it's a field you ought to run screaming from, unless it's your calling.

Don't know about MechE and so on, in general you need to talk to older engineers, the people who run the department, professors, etc., of course adjusting for selection bias. If you haven't already identified a calling, well, you have a lot of options, especially if you're strong at math. Especially before the 2008 crash, a lot of EE strong and therefore math strong EECS graduates would get initial jobs in finance with their proven math chops, which if they were smart got them in a good financial position to do something they really wanted to do later.

by wernercd   2017-08-19

You could get books like: The Pragmatic Programmer or Code Complete which discusses a lot of best practices, theory and other important parts about programming... that WILL help you in the long run...

But realistically, you won't learn to actually program... until you actually program.

Troll ebay or walmart for a cheap laptop or a desktop. $200-300 should be able to get you something to program on.

by IAmUtterlyAlone   2017-08-19

I would definitely recommend The Pragmatic Programmer .

by CloudConfidant   2017-08-19

Hi Sherlocked_ Congratulations on already having an application in the app store. That is a huge accomplishment. Also the fact that you have realized your code wasn't perfectly designed is a really good sign. My advice for you is to just keep writing those applications. Every single one you write will become a little bit better.

This will happen to you: Either a bug will come up in your system or you will want to implement a new feature. When you attempt to fix bug or add feature, everything will break, or you will notice that you are making tons of updates when it should have just been in one place. Each time you do this, you will learn and the next time you are developing a piece of code that follows a similar design pattern, you will know just what to do.

At the end of the day, experience is primarily all that separates the good developers from the bad.

One of my favorite books is The Pragmatic Programmer.

Hope that helped!