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The Imposter's Handbook

(Imposter's Handbook #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  223 ratings  ·  36 reviews

Don’t have a CS degree? Neither do I! That’s why I wrote this book: to fill the gaps in my career. The result? 700+ pages of essentials skills and ideas every developer should know.

I'm a self-taught developer and for most of my career I've learned what was required to get the job done. When conver
Published November 2016 by Big Machine (first published September 2016)
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Mark Seemann
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: software
Like Rob Conery, I don't have a degree in Computer Science (CS), and despite decades of professional experience with software development, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all that which I don't know; in fact, to a degree that I asked my almer mater whether they would accept me as a student on the CS degree. (Unfortunately, since I already have (another) degree, the answer was no.)

While I'm getting fed up with all the talk about impostor syndrome, I can definitely identify with the Dunning-Kruger
Yuri Karabatov
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Turned out to be way less in-depth than expected.
Koen Metsu
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book, it has a bit of everything for everybody, which is also its only drawback.

Because the chapters are nicely isolated, it's really easy to skip/skim through those about topics you already know. On the other hand, the chapters that interested me could've gone deeper on their subjects. It's easy to understand why, given the concept of the book.

Either way, this is a great book for self-taught programmers to tell you about parts of software development you didn't know you were interested in
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cs
A wast number of CS topics are covered briefly, the explanation are often either too terse and don't go too much in depth, or too verbose and tedious. As a season software engineer without a CS degree, a lot of material wasn't new to me, and I skipped brief descriptions of various algorithms. The only part which looked promising was on algorithmic complexity, particularly NP problems were explained well. Overall it seems that the target audience would be someone who has zero understanding of CS ...more
Laura Silvanavičiūtė
Great and easy to read book which with simple examples presents overall Computer Science subject. Topics are not covered in depth but really helps to memorise, get basic understanding or start learning about them.
Despite my Software Engineering degree I still found some new important topics, explanations from different angles and the help to connect already known information. 👌
radhika morabia
DNF. Can't absorb the concepts as well in a book format. Nothing wrong with the book, just not for me.
Fatih Arslan
I didn't studied CS, but I'm a former EE graduate who moved to work in the Software engineering area. But this book lacks a lot of details and tries to cover to much topics with no followup or good explanation. I don't think this is a good starter book for people who want to learn CS fundamentals.
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I deeply respect the courage Rob showed by writing a book on topics he is still learning. This book shows us that even a Rob Conery doesn’t get everything right the first time and that we mere mortal developers are not alone with our struggles to understand complex topics.

Unfortunately, the book isn’t advertised as this ongoing learning experience. Instead, it is marketed as a book to learn the fundamental concepts and skills that come with a degree in Computer Science. That is simply not what
Lindolfo Rodrigues
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2017
Until 70% of the book, I will totally recommend this book to a junior developer that want to know more about development, system administration and database.
What drives me to this book was the "Comp Sci, Baby" chapter It is a good chapter, well writen, but not a life change *for me*.
Before the 70% the book have some chapter about OO Patterns and 0ther patterns and this is the section that I really like, its easy to use for questions like: "How a composite/bridge pattern works?"
I really enjoy th
Mattias Brand
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not worth the read for someone fresh out of CS but definitely a must read for developers without CS degree!
Dan Watts
This book gets updated from time-to-time, so some of my review may eventually become outdated.

First the praise: Rob Conery is an entertaining writer, the code samples are simple and short, and the entire book can be read without being in front of a computer. As promised, it covers a wide range of topics, most of which are likely to cover new ground for the reader. Aside from the chapter on Unix, there was nothing in here that was simply an "Introduction to..." write-up that's already been covere
Scott Lerch
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: computerscience
I read this book as a refresher and to fill in a few knowledge gaps from my computer science education (e.g. I never took a course on compilers) even though the book really wasn't meant for someone like me.

Overall, it's clearly written with good examples that are easy to understand. My only complaint is I wish it had a bit more detail even though I know it's impossible to have a comprehensive computer science education in one book. So read this book as a jumping off point, I'm pretty sure Rob sa
Bojan Skrchevski
May 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cs
As someone that has been in the field for over 20 years my expectations about this book were a little bit different, considering how it is advertised("Fill the gaps in your career"?) and the cost. I understand that it is work in progress and to say the task at hand is HUGE is a severe understatement ,but, it's just too superficial and and broad at the current state. No depth at all. It might be a good reference list for a deeper study of our field, but nothing more.

The good stuff:

- There is som
Darek Napłoszek
This book was recommended to me, when I was "suffering" from a strong impostor syndrome. I was very excited about this book and finally got my hands on a paper (not digital) copy.

Now I have a mixed feeling about it. It made me more confident, as most of the stuff was familiar to me, thus my impostor syndrome has lessened. It made me more keen to have some fun with unix shell of all things. I have found some more people to follow on github and youtube. And that was good.

However paper version seem
Łukasz Godziejewski
In general I think this is a good book, especially for people without formal CS education.

Lots of various topics are covered, however usually on a rather high level (which is understandable, as if one would want to deep dive into each topic, one could write a few books about each). I'd say this book is a good way for the reader to identify which areas need more study.

My main issues are:
- the printed edition has some errors, sometimes rather annoying (incorrect code samples - ie. sth is described
If I had read it when I started my career as self-taught programmer I would have give it five stars. It is a good introduction to several topics that most professional programmers must know about IMHO. But the cover says it is a computer science primer for self-taught programmers and the problem is there are four chapters have nothing about computer science. Moreover the functional programming chapter is really shallow. I would prefer on shallow chapter on programming paradigms or an overview of ...more
Ieva Gr
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technical
+ Very easy to read - was looking forward to continue reading as if this was some fictional book;
+ Inspirational - you get to see how excited a person can be about learning new things and technologies and how it is even possible to incorporate those into time with your family;
+ Has some nice practical advice - will definitely get back to the chapter about learning new language when I will finally start doing it;
- Not detail enough to actually learn something directly from it. On the other hand I
Jamund Ferguson
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was fantastic. 10/10. It helped me grasp a lot of concepts that I had missed as a self-taught programmer. Certainly, there is a lot more for me to learn, but this book helped me fill a lot of gaps. I liked the sections on BigO, graph theory, lambda calculus, algorithms, etc. The more I study these algorithms the quicker I can recognize them in the code that I'm writing at work everyday. I would recommend this to anyone that doesn't have a formal background in computer science.

Some cha
Deane Barker
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good look at all the skills you should know but don't if you're developing without a CS degree. My degree was in Political Science (I was going to go to law school), and I'm a self-taught programmer. This book covered a lot of things I sort of knew but had never really studied (especially data structures).

The book is a little uneven at times -- it takes a weirdly detailed detour into how to write a Makefile script at the end, for example -- but is really a great resource for "imposters" who th
Harish Babu
This book is filled with less than introductory mentions of topics that require further research or studying from the reader; which is the intended purpose of the book. I was annoyed with the repeated plug to buy the video tutorials from the author's website. Felt like that didn't need to be repeated with every chapter.

The chapter dedicated to Software Design Principals were out of place and few of the principals were not accurate in my opinion.

The author's enthusiasm and excitement came throug
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not understand the purpose of the book. It might be because I'm not the target audience so I'm giving a star more, assuming that it's better for those it was intended for. Still, the weighting of the chapters seems weird. Some code examples were hard to read. Some things seemed really basic, some very little explained (this again could be my non-experience speaking and the author clearly states in his introduction that this book is for experienced programmers).
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: computer-science
I really wanted to like this book and the premise is awesome. Unfortunately the delivery is poor - very often more confusing (or even inaccurate) than many online resources on the same subject. Indeed if the author had spent more time attempting to source and copy (or link to) the best explanations this would have come out far better. Imposter Syndrome is very real (even with a CS degree) but I'd suggest spending your time on free resources like KhanAcademy, Stanford SEE, or MIT OCW.
Nick Hodges
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be eminently useful.

I have never taken a computer science class, but I've been in the software development game for over 30 years.

I'd say I had *heard* of 95% of the things discussed in this book, but I had only a cursory knowledge of most of it.

While nothing was too terribly in-depth, it gave me knowledge about the breadth of much of what I didn't really know.

If you are a developer and have never taken CS, then I highly recommend this book.
Tiago Taveira
It's a nice book with a good round-up of computer science main theories. However, I sense some amateurism because it has a fair deal of spelling mistakes and placeholders in the text. There are also some passages that are repeated... I guess you should wait for new versions before spending 30$ on it.
Offers a good introduction to the topics of computer science that make up the foundations of computers and coding, but I have to say that I finished some chapters still feeling rather confused over what it is I was supposed to know. Perhaps it's just me, but I had to do lots of side Googling to follow along.
Manuel Mejia Jr
If you want to refresh your memory or take a deep dive into some developer content you probably have heard but you haven't paid too much attention, this book is for you. As the title says "Imposter", the author explains why he wrote the book, because of the Imposter Syndrome that affects most of the developers. This book is also highly recommended if you are going to have a job interview.
Alexander Karmes
It has a rather good start, but author doesn't go deep into any topics, just giving some basics and / or random details per topic. Second part of the book is very subjective in selection of topics to discuss.
Matt Hartzell
Not as good as I was hoping. The writing is a bit all over the place, and no topic is covered conclusively. There are a lot of "look here for more info" kinds of statements, so I guess if you want to learn more you can do further research.

I certainly do not feel less like of an imposter.
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this book aimed towards self-taught developers, as a CS graduate, this is is a nice refresher. Some of the explanation are straightforward and some references reflects the author's great effort to research things that are quite a bit foreign to self-taught developers.
Brian Wisti
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Got several pages of notes and a rather long list of other things I want to learn about, which is exactly what I want from an instructional book.
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