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…


Being a Good Person


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.



Technical Politics

Staying Healthy