The Missing README: A Guide for the New Software Engineer

  • 3h 47m
  • Chris Riccomini, Dmitriy Ryaboy
  • No Starch Press
  • 2021

For new software engineers, knowing how to program is only half the battle. You’ll quickly find that many of the skills and processes key to your success are not taught in any school or bootcamp. The Missing README fills in that gap—a distillation of workplace lessons, best practices, and engineering fundamentals that the authors have taught rookie developers at top companies for more than a decade.

Early chapters explain what to expect when you begin your career at a company. The book’s middle section expands your technical education, teaching you how to work with existing codebases, address and prevent technical debt, write production-grade software, manage dependencies, test effectively, do code reviews, safely deploy software, design evolvable architectures, and handle incidents when you’re on-call. Additional chapters cover planning and interpersonal skills such as Agile planning, working effectively with your manager, and growing to senior levels and beyond.

You’ll learn:

  • How to use the legacy code change algorithm, and leave code cleaner than you found it
  • How to write operable code with logging, metrics, configuration, and defensive programming
  • How to write deterministic tests, submit code reviews, and give feedback on other people’s code
  • The technical design process, including experiments, problem definition, documentation, and collaboration
  • What to do when you are on-call, and how to navigate production incidents
  • Architectural techniques that make code change easier
  • Agile development practices like sprint planning, stand-ups, and retrospectives

This is the book your tech lead wishes every new engineer would read before they start. By the end, you’ll know what it takes to transition into the workplace–from CS classes or bootcamps to professional software engineering.

About the Author

Chris Riccomini is a software engineer, startup investor, and advisor with more than a decade of experience at major tech companies such as PayPal, LinkedIn, and WePay. He has been involved in open source throughout his career and is the author of Apache Samza.

Dmitriy Ryaboy is a software engineer and engineering manager. He’s worked at a variety of companies and organizations, including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Cloudera, and Twitter. He helped create and grow multiple open-source projects, including Apache Parquet. Dmitriy is currently the Vice President of software engineering at Zymergen.

In this Book

  • The Journey Ahead
  • Getting to Conscious Competence
  • Working with Code
  • Writing Operable Code
  • Managing Dependencies
  • Testing
  • Code Reviews
  • Delivering Software
  • Going On-Call
  • Technical Design Process
  • Creating Evolvable Architectures
  • Agile Planning
  • Working with Managers
  • Navigating Your Career


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