The Happiness and Terror of Shipping

You would think that after years of development, the act of shipping something would be nothing but joy and relief. In the moment, however, "pushing send" is terrifying and feels like running naked into traffic.

That's what I'm feeling right now because today is the day! After two years of planning, research, writing, and editing - it’s ready to go: The Imposter’s Roadmap, essential practices, tools, and skills for self-taught programmers. If you click that link, I've thrown in a 20% discount as a thank you for reading my emails.

The book is all about polishing your professional game, and includes:

  • How to use GitHub like a pro (as opposed to a simple push with a PR).
  • Different styles of testing and when to use them, including TDD, BDD, System, Integration, and Exploratory.
  • How to create a developer’s journal because keeping receipts is critical.
  • How to work with other people when you’re not good at social interactions.
  • How to use GitHub to manage big projects, including discussions, setting up a build, running code reviews, and how to do a PR without making people cranky.
  • Using containers, from simple docker run to Kubernetes.
  • Monitoring, logging, and disaster recovery.
  • Architectural approaches for OO people.

I tried to think of everything that I would want to know if I was moving up in my career, hoping to land in a lead position within the next year or so. You can learn the technical things, that’s for sure, but there’s a lot more to this game than understanding how to use Git.

To that end, I discuss soft skills throughout the book, and what it means to gain responsibility and influence without losing your soul. We also discuss how to spot a sociopath (there are so many of them) and what you can do to avoid people problems.

Want to see something else? I'm happy to add it! Just let me know (hit reply) or fill out an issue on GitHub (link in book).

Why I wrote this

Back in 2004 I bought Mike Gunderloy’s classic, Coder to Developer. I remember reading it in 7 hours as I flew to Hawaii, and it is, to this day, the fastest flight I’ve ever been on.

I devoured this book - I wanted to know what “the real pros” did so I could have a reasonable conversation with them and not look and feel like an imposter. Fast-forward to 2024, and things have changed, drastically.

As a lead, you need to understand so many different systems and how they all work together. It’s easy to feel left behind, which was me 8 years ago as docker started taking over and this thing called Kubernetes was what the “pro” developers were using.

I wrote this book for me. Instead of cobbling together some notes, I decided to go deeper and document everything with the goal of sharing with others.

It's a living thing

The book is up for presale but I would say it's about 95% "ready". I might add or expand some chapters based on feedback, but no matter what, you'll have access to every version from now until forever.

If you're an annual subscriber, you can download the book straight away. It's right in your dashboard under "Subscription Downloads" (along with the other books I've made).

If you would rather wait until the book is final, that should be in about a month and I'll send out another note at that time.

Hope you enjoy the book!


🥷🏽 Notes From an Imposter Programmer

I taught myself to code in 1998 and within 7 years had a client list that included Google, Microsoft, Starbucks, Ameritech, KLA-Tencor, PayPal, and Visa. In 2014 I decided that I really needed to understand core Computer Science concepts, so I dove in, using the free resources from MIT and Stanford. In 2016 I shared what I learned with The Imposter's Handbook.

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