Reading: Soft Skills – The Software Developer’s Life Manual

When learning HTML in a Ruby on Rails Web Development Specialization on Coursera, I found a book I really love in the recommended books, and that book is Soft Skills – The Software Developer’s Life Manual. And the book is one of the key factors that consolidates my determination to start this blog. Today I am going to talk about 2 things I have learnt so far from the book – How to start a successful blog and Focus.

The cover of the book

Starting a successful blog

Why I start this blog – in terms of career development

As a software developer, one of the best mediums you can use to market yourself is a blog. It’s my firm belief that every software developer who cares about their career should invest in creating a blog.
You can only meet so many people in person, so you need another primary way to market yourself and network. Think about how many people you’ve met in the tech industry over the past year. That number might approach several hundred, or even a thousand, but a successful blog could introduce you to hundreds of thousands of people.
A blog is a cheap and easy way to market yourself and it’s extremely valuable for getting your name out there. A successful blog can attract hundreds or even thousands of visitors per day, which can give you many opportunities ranging from job offers to consulting gigs or even an audience to sell a product to.
Quite honestly, I owe most of the success I’ve experienced in my career to my blog. If I hadn’t created a blog and figured out how to make it successful, it’s unlikely that you’d be reading this book.

(Citation from the book – why the author thinks a successful blog is important)

Personally, I think there  are 2 main reasons reasons.

For one reason, just imagine that I am seeking for a job in the future, it is hard for the HR to pick me from my competitive peers. But if they know that I have a blog and update it consistently with technical posts and my life clips, they can know me better and will trust me more.

For another, a blog with steady flow is a good platform for advertising myself, and if one day, I decide to freelance or develop a product myself, I will have enough audience for myself.

How to Get a blog Started?

In fact, starting a blog requires no Web Development Skills at all. You can Check out this one-click tutorial I wrote and quickly create a blog with WordPress. Although I know how to program in HTML and how to design responsive websites and how to develop apps, as I find, it’s quite tedious for one to start to write a website framework from nothing. It’s often the case that you decide to start your blog and you find you need to learn how to program to design customized websites. Then you start to learn to program, but you find it’s too hard. As you always find, your passion for starting a blog just fades as time goes by. So I recommend you to just have a basic blog published and start to write your feelings, thoughts and experiences to post. You can start off with a simple platform and gradually refine it as you get more skills in the process.

Getting more Traffics

  • Update consistently
  • Connect with other bloggers

Focus – Productivity and Effectiveness

Productiveness means you do a lot of work, and effectiveness means you get many of the most important things done.

Productivity and Effectiveness are two words that really bothers me every day. I have read a lot of books in these 2 things, but I could hardly improve both of these things. As I realize recently, in junior high, I focused more  on productivity – I do everything the teachers asked me to do and tried to squeeze every minute to get things done. While in senior high, I focused more on Effectiveness, I thought at that time, now that in Gaokao, there is only a limited range of knowledge, then my goal is only to get hang of these things. With that thought, I did things effectively – I attend little classes and learnt myself, learning what I thought was important. Then now, in college for almost one and a half year, I realize that I have gone too far in improving Effectiveness but ignored to be productive. This time, I am determined to solve this problem. Now I can come up with 2 viable solutions.

OKR – Object and Key Results, makes you effective

OKR is a method originated from Google, and it is what makes Google an effective company. It is mentioned in this book, and I have known it before reading this book.

OKR means you need to plan in advance, in a top-down strategy. You first think about what you want to achieve in the year to come. (2019 is coming, it’s time to take actions!) Then you divide full-year time into quarters, split the big goals and portion these into quarters, then into month, week and day. Basically, you set goals(or objectives) and after a certain period of time(periodically, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly), compare your results and you initial objectives.

In this way, you firstly think about what is important to you in the long run and then periodically check if you are able to achieve your goals and finally makes you successful year after year by saving the time you typically waste on minor things.

Kanbanflow – the tool makes you productive

Although I know Pomodoro a long while ago but I could hardly take actions for I had no ideal tools to keep track. Then to my joy, I found Kanbanflow in this book, which is a tool you will find enjoyable once you get started.


I have only read some part of the book, and I have got a lot from it. I will continue reading and share my gains later.


How I get this book

I get this book from manning.com, and here is the link for the book. The book is not very expensive and available for International readers like Chinese readers. It’s worthwhile to have it as a life manual.