“The Clean Coder”

Robert Martin

Another book club book from work—and no, we’re not going through them that fast, I just forgot to write up the previous one until a while after the fact.

This one has a lot less to do with code style and a lot more to do with the career aspects of being a programmer. The subtitle, actually, does a great job of explaining it: “A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers.” Less “write small chunks of code,” more “show up on time—you may think it doesn’t matter, but it does.” Martin does a great job of switching between giving advice and telling stories that explain how, exactly, he learned that painful lesson. It’s an effective technique—gives it a bit more of a storytelling flow, which helps the book maintain interest. Plus, humans are the storytelling ape; we’ve built entire religions around the idea of using stories to convey a message or impart some wisdom. He’s joining a proud tradition.

I found it a quite useful book, and as I’m writing this in advance of the book club discussion instead of weeks later, I’m looking forward to the discussion with my coworkers. Should be interesting. For now, let me put my opinion of the book like so: this should be required reading for every CS undergraduate program. Maybe hand it out with the diploma? It’s a whole lot of useful advice about the parts of the job that school doesn’t cover. If you’re new to the field, or even if you aren’t, I heartily recommend it. Check it out1—and, if you’ve got an O’Reilly membership, it’s available there as well.

  1. This is an Amazon affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I prefer Bookshop affiliate links to Amazon when possible, but in this case, the book wasn’t available there, so it’ll have to do.