Advice for Geeks

Advice on various aspects of employment as a programmer in Silicon Valley in the early 21st century. Much of this is probably applicable to other fields in other places and times, but the value will decrease the further your experience diverges from mine.

The bulk of this (and all of the mistakes) has been synthesized from my own experiences, but I am indebted to many friends and cow-orkers for material and feedback.

Holding Down a Job

Promotions, Titles, Pay and Advancement

The below applies to Individual Contributor roles at technical companies. I know little about the management track. I am also deeply cynical…

Email and Written Communication

Verbal Communication and Meetings

You may wish for an egalitarian world where everyone is valued for their potential, but you live in 21st century Western Culture. If you want to achieve your goals you need to be able to speak the language of power.

Being a Good Person

Managers

And the Care and Feeding Thereof.

Note that this is most applicable to first-line managers with relatively small groups (5-15 reports).

Going Into Management

Disclaimer: I was a manager once, many years ago; I lasted six months before I went back to being an individual contributor.

Confidence

Coding

Technical Politics

Staying Healthy