The Pragmatic Programmer

Completion Date: Saturday, November 14th, 2020
Goodreads Challenge: Book #58 of 2020 

“Leah, do you think you can lead the Engineering team if we don’t hire a CTO?” Stiefel asked me.

“Yes,” I replied matter-of-factly. 

“Are you sure?” Weselek asked me again. 

“Yes, I am sure.” 

This was the conversation the founders of Tourlane asked me in March when we were trying to figure out how to respond to the Covid crisis and our financial need to reduce our burn. 

My answer was honest. I can lead engineers. I’ve done it before. I knew I could do it again. But I also knew that I was going to do it with the eyes of the Engineering org on me…and those eyes were looking for flaws. This was a team who had been looking forward to getting an experienced CTO and it was also a team that was not afraid to express their frustration when the new SVP of Product was their leader.

Truth be told…I am not an engineer. I don’t write code and I don’t pretend that I know all the ins and outs of engineering work and culture. But what I do know is how to architect a platform for high scale, how to ensure that seconds are shaved off for the customer experience to be amazing, and what it means to scale at some of the world’s largest volumes. And I know engineers…they have been my constant companions on this journey to building cool shit. 

I picked the book up at the recommendation of one of my dear friends. He said it was not always up to date in terms of languages, but that it is a primer on standards and best practices. And that is exactly what it was for me. It was a reminder of what it means to be practical and creative all wrapped up in logical statements of code. I’m grateful for the tip and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work my way through this book, one chapter at a time over the course of the last few months.