Land the Tech Job You Love

Andy Lester

Publisher The Pragmatic Bookshelf

ISBN 978-1-93435-626-5

RRP

£18.50

Reviewed by

Alan Bellinger MSc, FIITT

Score

9 out of 10

Land the Tech JobThere’s a high probability that you have a lot in common with Paul Moore, the HBOS whistleblower (he was the former head of Group Regulatory Risk at HBOS), who acknowledged that, whilst he was an expert in assessing corporate risk, he was far less accomplished at recognising risk in his own career. Most of us don’t look for a new job very often - and when we do, we rely on intuition rather than expertise.

If you’re empathising with this scenario then this book is for you. In all probability, as you read its recommendations, use its tools and follow up on its ideas, you’ll be thinking ‘I could have thought of that!’ And that’s the great success of this book - while it is all common sense, it’s the perfect repository of all the best practice in finding the right job. It definitely saves you the thinking time and you’ll have the confidence of knowing that the techniques work in practice.

The book starts with tools to help you evaluate your current job - a brilliant table that lets you think through what’s important to you, whether in your current job or your next one. And that’s one of the strengths of this table: it’s a great way to evaluate the pros and cons of any potential new job against what you’re doing already.

When it comes to the job interview, I found the list of questions that you could be asked very helpful; not only was there a clear explanation of what was behind the question, but also examples of where to go with your response and areas to avoid. It’s those simple innocuous questions that can catch you out, and by gaining insight on why the interviewer is asking the question you can really differentiate your response from others who are less well prepared.

Lester is an evangelist for open source and, with great dexterity, weaves the case for open source into the book; so, if you’re not one of the converted, you may find this a touch irritating. And you’ll need to be just a little sceptical about how far you follow Lester’s recommendations on the stealth use of social media to ingratiate yourself with potential employers; not all UK-based companies will be as enthusiastic about such approaches as American ones seem to be.

But do follow the sections on interview technique, facts not to volunteer, questions to ask your prospective employer, and the sample emails - they are all excellent. There’s a good section too on building your portfolio, although I would be concerned that there’s some encouragement to go over the top, which could dissuade an employer even before you’ve started.

This book will definitely help you; and it provides insight that will enable you to decide whether the grass really is greener on the other side.

Further information: The Pragmatic Bookshelf

December 2009