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Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman [Paperback]

Dave Hoover , Adewale Oshineye
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

25 Oct 2009 0596518382 978-0596518387 1

Are you doing all you can to further your career as a software developer? With today's rapidly changing and ever-expanding technologies, being successful requires more than technical expertise. To grow professionally, you also need soft skills and effective learning techniques. Honing those skills is what this book is all about. Authors Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineye have cataloged dozens of behavior patterns to help you perfect essential aspects of your craft.

Compiled from years of research, many interviews, and feedback from O'Reilly's online forum, these patterns address difficult situations that programmers, administrators, and DBAs face every day. And it's not just about financial success. Apprenticeship Patterns also approaches software development as a means to personal fulfillment. Discover how this book can help you make the best of both your life and your career.

Solutions to some common obstacles that this book explores in-depth include:

  • Burned out at work? "Nurture Your Passion" by finding a pet project to rediscover the joy of problem solving.
  • Feeling overwhelmed by new information? Re-explore familiar territory by building something you've built before, then use "Retreat into Competence" to move forward again.
  • Stuck in your learning? Seek a team of experienced and talented developers with whom you can "Be the Worst" for a while.


"Brilliant stuff! Reading this book was like being in a time machine that pulled me back to those key learning moments in my career as a professional software developer and, instead of having to learn best practices the hard way, I had a guru sitting on my shoulder guiding me every step towards master craftsmanship. I'll certainly be recommending this book to clients. I wish I had this book 14 years ago!"-Russ Miles, CEO, OpenCredo

Frequently Bought Together

Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman + The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development (Pragmatic Life) + Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship (Robert C. Martin)
Price For All Three: 46.51

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Product details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (25 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596518382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596518387
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 18 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 287,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Authors

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Product Description

About the Author

Dave Hoover is the Chief Craftsman at Obtiva where he helps lead Obtiva's Software Studio and apprenticeship program. Dave has been developing software since 2000, when he left a career in child and family therapy. In 2002, Dave read Pete McBreen's "Software Craftsmanship", which re-framed Dave's understanding of software development and how people become great software developers. Dave has become increasingly passionate about learning and has dedicated several years of his career to thinking, writing, and speaking about apprenticeship. Over the last couple years, on most days, you'd find Dave coding Ruby and Rails as the lead developer for Mad Mimi, one of his clients at Obtiva. Dave also enjoys all sorts of endurance sports.

Adewale Oshineye is an engineer at a little-known search engine named Google. This is a consequence of many deeply geeky evenings spent programming 8-bit computers when he was a child. When he grew up Adewale somehow fell into IT consultancy. His career at consultancies such as Thoughtworks gave him the chance to work on projects ranging from point-of-sale systems for electrical retailers to trading systems for investment banks. It also gave him a chance to learn from some of the most interesting software craftspeople in Western Europe. In those rare moments when he's not in front of a computer he can be found behind a digital camera somewhere in London.


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet with lots of great advice 15 May 2011
Format:Paperback
To sum up: a book about being a programmer. It presents common problems and situations as patterns - in the design patterns sense - and includes suggestions and advice on what to do in each case. It distills a lot of great advice and experience into about 130 pages, and I found it very interesting and useful indeed. It's positively contributed to my practices as a programmer, so that's got to be a good thing. Definitely recommended! :)

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5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem !! 1 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback
First things first, I used to love technical books ranging in the 800 page count. Now that I have far less time and competing ambitions, I've developed a soft spot for books and authors capable of cramming a dozen headfuls of ideas in less than 200 pages. So one star awarded for brevity here.

Don't be misled by the title. It does not matter that you might have a long career in IT already, as there is always so much more to learn. This book deals a lot with the software craftmanship prism of things, which can sometimes sound wishy-washy and rosy (well, the book has some load of idealism, but what are we, farmers? we need some of that too?), but it holds plenty of ideas, approaches and suggestions you can take to the office, even if you work in a more stifled hard-nosed corporate environment. Very useful if you are a freelance working for different people, and even more so for those out there who have been working 10 years in the same place and know no other worlds.

It explains what is software craftmanship, so no entry barrier here if you dont know what that is. What about the patterns? well expect no GOF patterns here, but patterns of dealing with people, career patterns, learning patterns, etc. All patterns organized as having a context, a problem, a provided solution, and also an action, or actionable advice, then links and related patterns. So, in that way, a classic pattern book. Code excerpts sometimes help show the ideas, but that's it, codewise.

I tend to judge books on the amount of comments that I write on the margins and squeezed in between the paragraphs, and the underlined ideas you need to come back one year on.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start your learning on a solid path (or kickstart your learning if you've let it lapse)... 17 May 2010
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Being successful in IT means forever being committed to continual learning. But are there better ways to approach that learning? Are there times you get stuck when trying to move beyond what you already know? Do you find yourself somewhat fearful of moving outside your current level of expertise because you'll end up feeling stupid? Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineye have written what I consider to be an *excellent* book on learning patterns titled Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman . Though you may think the "aspiring software craftsman" limits this to people starting out, you'd be wrong. There is so much wisdom here that I'll likely be referring back to it for years to come.

Contents:
Software Craftsmanship Manifesto
Introduction
Emptying The Cup
Walking The Long Road
Accurate Self-Assessment
Perpetual Learning
Construct Your Curriculum
Conclusion
Pattern List
A Call For Apprenticeship
A Retrospective On The First Year Of Obtiva's Apprenticeship Program
Online Resources
Bibliography
Index

The authors start by defining exactly what "software craftsmanship" entails. Among many of their thoughts, they define it as a community of practice that encompasses values such as a growth mindset, the need to adapt and change, being pragmatic instead of dogmatic, and the belief that we should share what we know instead of hoarding that knowledge. These values along with the others they talk about point strongly back to the individual's responsibility to control their own path and direction, and that's where the learning patterns come in. Instead of using a "hit or miss" method of gaining new skills, they outline a number of techniques, or patterns, which can help you maintain a level of structure to your learning, while also helping you avoid sticking points that can often derail us.

Each of the chapters focuses on a certain aspect of learning as we move up the levels of our craft. Emptying The Cup talks about how we need to approach new skills as willing beginners instead of struggling with feelings that we should know everything immediately. Learning takes time. Walking The Long Road focuses on how becoming a master in a language or skill is a long-term process. Just when you think you have a handle on something, you will look around and see others who are light-years ahead of you. But that's OK, as they have been traveling the long road just like you. Accurate Self-Assessment guides you back to making sure you measure yourself against the best (such as being the worst in a group of experts) rather than feeling you're an expert in a small pond. Perpetual Learning is just that... the constant quest to pick up new information and incorporate it into your skill base. And finally, Construct Your Curriculum helps to guide you to resources that will give you the most value for the time spent reading and learning.

This book grabbed hold of me early and didn't let go. I'm personally in the process of trying to gain some new technical skills, and I sort of wondered if I was struggling with the feeling of "being stupid" when it came to comparing what I need to know with what I already know in the Notes/Domino world. The answer to that was a resounding "yes!" Patterns such as The White Belt (setting aside my previous knowledge to learn new knowledge) and Confront Your Ignorance (pick a skill and actively fill in the gaps in your knowledge of it) made perfect sense to me as I work through my new learning. Because it's been such as long time since I was a "beginner" with a new technology, it's easy to forget these mindsets and as a result end up struggling. I appreciated being reminded of them in a way that I can actively use them again.

On a side note... It's not a stretch to look at these patterns and find that you could apply them to *any* sort of new learning. Granted, most of the commentary on each pattern is software-related, but most transcend that narrow niche. Take a skill such as writing... Most (if not all) of these patterns still apply. You don't learn how to write in three months and then stop because you've learned everything. You need to continually practice, seek out advice and mentoring from those better than you, focus on different aspects where you're weak, etc. Following these patterns in any new endeavor will greatly enhance your chances of becoming a craftsman in that area.

While this book won't teach you a new technology, it will most definitely help you learn that new technology in a way that is sustainable over the long haul. Incorporating these mindsets into your life will do wonders to make you feel much more competent, as well as helping you to enjoy the journey along the way. Apprenticeship Patterns is a highly recommended read.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great advise on improvement techniques 22 Feb 2010
By Bas Vodde - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Apprenticeship patterns" was not on my Reading List, but dropped in my stack of books my accident. I decided to read the first couple of pages to see if its any good, and ended up finishing the whole book in a short time. I enjoyed reading it, it gave words to practices I've been following.

Apprenticeship patterns are patterns on how to improve your development skills over your career and gradually become a software craftsman. In consists of a bunch of chapters containing patterns. I couldn't find too much logic in grouping the patterns in this way, so myself ignored the chapter titles and just read the patterns.

The patterns have been mined and cataloged over the past 4 years. A lot of them originated from Dave's career move to software development and therefore many patterns are clarified with personal stories from Dave. They start with trivial patterns as Your First Language which gives you a start as a developer and dives into the harder ones asking you to Expose Your Ignorance and Be The Worst so that you can still learn.

My favorite pattern in the book was The Long Road which is an interesting analogy to learning forever. As eternal learners we need to learn to walk the Long (and never ending Road), as apprenticeship learning to walk the Long Road is key to continuously sharpening your skills. At least, I'll continue my journey on the Long Road.

The book is small and its a quick read. Its easy to read it in parts as it consists of patterns of each one-two pages. I was considering a 5 star rating as it is one of these books I finished in a short time because it kept me reading. Though decided to go to 4 as the book does what it does, but (as some other reviewers point out) there are also a bunch of other good software development career books.

Another amazon reviewer pointed out the craftsmanship analogy and attempt to create the new big thing in our industry. This might very well be, but I myself do enjoy the craftsmanship analogy and believe our industry is ready for a better analogy than the professional engineer one. I'd definitively recommend this book, especially for apprentices, but also for the more experienced people to provide them useful terminology for what they have probably already been doing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Read 17 April 2012
By A. ALMALEH - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It's quite enjoyable to read through this book, especially for someone who got stuck at one point or another in their career and wanted a way out into a job that better fits their need. The book has excellent suggestions on networking with experts in the community, learning outside the box of one's job, and contributing back to the software community. The stories and examples are fun to read too. By the way, skimming through the book at first helps peak interest quite a bit before doing a cover to cover read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspires and Challenges 27 May 2011
By StewShack.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read this book for free on oreilly.com. Now I want to own a copy to add to my Software Craftsmanship library. It inspired me to write book reviews as a way of maintaining a "Reading List". It challenged me to start a website so that I can "Share What You Learn". Almost every chapter of the book has inspired or challenged me to do something. Some books you read and nod your head, this book you read and put into action.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read not only for software developers 23 Oct 2009
By Michael Hunger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As with every pattern book, SCAP captures the things that we all know are important and working in expanding one's skill and professionality. It draws a wide map of applicable patterns, showing the way to a successful technical career without being cast off to management.

The books authors have harvested the patterns in countless interviews, conversations and discussions with experienced and not so experienced software developers. So the patterns where found, refined and expanded.

What you've got in your hand is a pattern language for becoming a software professional not necessarily an "engineer" but a craftsman. Someone who not only puts technical skill but also people skills, reputation of successfully handled projects (not only development but the whole life of a software) in his pockets.

As I reviewed the book, I may add that it evolved from a loose collection of pattern to a well written intricate network (map) of profound experience.

If you are curious about the content of the book, you can always visit the O'Reilly Wiki for SCAP or Safari and have a first look at the patterns there. If you like the style then buy it.

If you have something to say or discuss, please do so in the Wiki or here.

Michael, aspiring software craftsman
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