Monday, September 29, 2014

The $36 investment that just might get you to the next level

Being a code-slinger pays pretty well, especially if you're in the mid-to-upper ranks.  But how do you get there, and once you're there, how do you maintain your proficiency?

First, there is no substitute for in-the-trenches hand to hand warfare.  You've got to be slinging code, reading logs, and configuring things on a pretty frequent basis or you're going to lose your edge.  Don't get me wrong-- basic concepts will always apply.  But to keep up with the whiz kids, you'd better keep your hands at least a little dirty or you're going to be playing some catch-up later.

Probably the best second line of defense is a constant stream of good reading materials (and nowadays instructional videos).  A good book is a means for someone to share their hard-earned experience with you, and to put it someplace where you just have to run along and scoop it up.  You don't have to go through all the brain sweat, you just leverage the hard work someone else has already done.  This post is about this topic.

One of the drawbacks to using tech books to keep yourself professionally sharp is the cost factor.  Good tech books can easily run $50 or more, and that goes a bit outside my naturally cheap comfort zone.  But today, I've got good news for you.  You can get six (yes, that's right, 6) tech books or videos for a paltry $36.  That's a SUPER price.

The books are available as part of Packt Publishing's special running through October 2nd.  The link is here.

Packt is known for fairly priced books, but this is extreme.  Here's the breakdown:
  • Any 1 or 2 eBooks/Videos – $10 each
  • Any 3 to 5 eBooks/Videos – $8 each
  • Any 6 or more eBooks/Videos – $6 each
If I were stocking my bookshelf, I'd go for the 6-for-36 deal.  If you're skittish, I'll offer some known winners:

Oracle JRockit:  The Definitive Guide.   600 pages of in-depth Java stuff.  Read my review here.

Java EE 6 with GlassFish Application Server  An oldie but a goodie, it explains the whole JEE stack.  Now a little dated (and I'd prefer it written for JBoss), but much of it still applies.  The author is a good one.  Here's my review.

WildFly Performance Tuning Swinging the pendulum towards some newer stuff, here's a solid performance tuning book on WildFly.  Here's what I thought about it.

JBoss EAP Configuration, Deployment and Administration  Don't feel much like reading?  That's ok, here's a nice video you can just kick back and watch.

Learn HTML5 By Creating Fun Games Ok, I haven't actually read this one yet.  But I've got it ordered, just because it looks fun!  There are other game-writing books at Packt, too.  For $6, I'll give it a read!

Oodles of others  There are lots of interesting books on Node.JS, Angular, Karaf, Microsoft Programming, Oracle topics, some old SOA, lots of other JBoss books, etc.  For $36, you get 6 choices! 

That link again is here.

Happy browsing!