The TLDR; after helping multiple graduates get up and running, I kept seeing the same patterns repeated. Gifted individuals being let down a bit by the onboarding process. With a bit of help, they could get the best out of themselves and contribute to the team far earlier. So, I went a wrote a book about just that. It’s on pre-order, with a 20% discount for Medium readers (using the link given above).

There’s also a free sample available where you can get 3 chapters and see the full table of contents.

The longer version goes a bit like this:

I saw the same bad patterns:

TLDR; Before you even worry about coding, learn to ask the right questions. Follow me on Gumroad for your free bundle to make you awesome.

I recently gave a presentation for Monash University on career lessons, which covered career skills, and also aspects of productivity. It is my firm belief that these skills are initially more important than your technical ones.

Don’t get me wrong, your day job is to write code. But my point is that you will improve in that as long as you’re willing to learn from other people. …

TLDR; Developers think of productivity as learning their IDE and the command line — but maybe they don’t think of personal project management. Affiliate link to a course I wrote in this post. Coupon code of “jamesbowen” for 30% off a membership of your chosen length. But until May 10th, you can use a coupon code of ‘TEACHER60’ for a 60% discount.

Developers — do you have a productivity setup that suits your needs?


During lockdown in Melbourne, I took the time to publish an audio course for the company Listenable, who specialise in bite-sized audio courses for the time-poor. …

Having passed the AWS Developer Associate exam back in March, I pondered what I would have liked to have known from the start. Initially I had accepted that there aren’t really shortcuts, although you can work smarter for sure.

If you want the ability to do the job, rather than just getting the piece of paper, you need to be disciplined. You need to be prepared to sacrifice a few months to be ready and be smart about how you train. I’ve laid out a plan for people and it’s really a case of the following:

Don’t let the fact it’s multiple choice fool you

Whilst some answers you…

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

I answered this question on Quora back in December and it proved very popular, so I hope this provides some inspiration to those that feel like they are struggling. It’s based on my own experience, so it’s practical and not theoretical — at least I hope people find that to be the case.

The original question was this:

I have been working as a software developer for 10 years but my programming skills is still weaker than junior developers, I don’t want to lose hope and still want to work as a developer, what should I do to improve?


I recently answered a question that interested me on Quora, “What is the number one reason most developers never finish a personal project?”

I think it’s down to motivation at the end of the day. You start off super keen on a new idea, but then your enthusiasm wanes. Why? Well my own experience my mistakes are pretty one or more of the following categories.

Failure to set a scope for success

What are you actually trying to achieve? If it’s just a case of learning a new language or framework, then what constitutes reaching that goal to you? Without…

Recently at work, a combination of project scheduling, experience and expertise meant I found myself leading a mini-project, rather than just being a team member. What started out as a spike needed to be made production ready.

We needed to write tools that could integrate a code scanning tool into our bamboo, Jenkins and Amazon CodeBuild pipelines. Our motley crew comprised the stereotypical 2 and a half men - myself, a recently appointed graduate and an analyst from the security team who was too overwhelmed with other work to commit to the project full time.

Whilst the young man in…

GTD at a High Level

GTD looks baffling at a first glance, but with a little practice, you’ll see how intuitive the flow actually is. The diagram is taken with permission from the book, which I recommend (even though I do get a tiny amount from an affiliate link I truly believe in it).

The flow

The diagram to the right explains the secret sauce to processing everything. I’ll go more in depth with real examples in another post, but for now just realise this. Everything that comes into your world is subject to the following flow:

Decide whether you need to do something about it

Regardless of whether it’s come into your head, from a…

So here, I’m going to go through a sprint example using GTD ®. The purpose of this is to show how the principles of GTD can apply to a real world example. Some of the data with actual people’s names etc is blurred out, but the underlying principles will still be apparent, each kind of ‘external input’ will be translated into a GTD input.


As I use a Mac at work, I’ve opted for OmniFocus and Freemind. The choice of tools is a matter of personal preference, although I found OmniFocus fits my needs. …

I am starting out unapologetically singing the praises of GTD, by arguing no developer should be without a way of planning their work, and this is the best way I’ve found to date. Disclosure — that’s an affiliate link, and it helps me, but it won’t cost you any more, just getting that out upfront.

I’ve spoken to many a developer who thinks it’s too convoluted, inefficient, overkill or unwieldy. …

James Bowen

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