Staying Competitive in a Tough Job Market

Which O'Reilly books have helped you?

By Mary Rotman
February 8, 2010 | Comments: 53

With so many people searching for jobs, it's important to stay up on the newest technologies, or constantly improve in the areas you're already involved in. At O'Reilly, we publish books that help you zoom in on the details of specific programs and languages, so you can stay competitive in your field.

Which books would help you grow or stay up-to-date in your area of expertise? Leave a comment with the name of the book and how it would make you more marketable. We'll choose three names out of a hat at noon on Thursday, Feb. 11 to receive three ebooks of their choice.

Increase your chance of winning
If you Twitter about this contest and then leave a comment linking back to your tweet, we'll give you an additional entry.

_______________

Contest Now Closed

Thanks for the incredible recommendations, everyone! These comments will be a great resource for others looking for ways to get ahead in their jobs.

Here are the winners*:
Chris:
Building Scalable Websites is a must-have for web developers. It is the-go to source for many of the practical problems that I encounter as a developer, problems that I was never exposed to in my schooling.

Lux:
*Love* the Head First series - such a great product. Nutshell books are very heavily used and rarely stay on my shelf for long - loan them out and refer to them all of the time.

a re-tweet from @mzagaja:
[comment from post] Mastering regular expressions was extremely helpful for mining data from PDFs. Saved hundreds of hours of volunteer work for the political campaign I helped out. -Matt

I'll be contacting the winners separately. Thanks again for the great participation!

*All entries were compiled in one list and the winners were chosen using the Random Number Generator.


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53 Comments

Head First Programming is my favourite!
xFiona

Building Scalable Websites... a great book that comes in handy quite often. Also, any of the High Performance series (MySQL and JavaScript especially).

Also, I'm the author of the (upcoming) O'Reilly book Building the Realtime User Experience: http://bit.ly/realtimebook - A book which is tailor made to help people stay competitive in the market this year and next.

-Ted

It's always a tough choice which O'Reilly book to buy I generally pick up a few at a time and have to tell myself that I can only get one else I'd spend a heck of a lot of money on books.

http://twitter.com/gregprogramming/statuses/8816659958

Knowing how to manage my portfolio and effectively communicate it will ensure I have jobs to fall back on when my day job goes kaput. That's why I've been eying "Manage Your Project Portfolio."

Prior, "Making Things Happen" has been an invaluable tome, paving the way for my first real project management experience.

http://twitter.com/joshsimmons/status/8817269923

Ditto to Head First Programming, to which I'd add:

Social Media Marketing Book and
Head First Data Analysis

Aw, heck, Safari Library, were it in my budget!

The various "Cookbook" books are a valuable source of information. My favorites are the bash cookbook, the regular expression cookbook, the perl cookbook.

Other than that "mastering regular expressions" by Jeffrey E.F. Friedl is high on my list.

Probably all of the Perl books. They help me quite a bit in systems administration, especially as an entry level sysadmin.

The Cookbooks are great, they always provide useful and fast information.

The Nutshells sometimes I do not like it because only provide somekind of overall reference (a few of a lot) but never give some clues where to search for more information. It is only knowed if someone is related to the subject.

I use a lot the Perl books, the camel one, the cookbook, and so on. The rhino (javascript) is a really good one, but time is needed to end all.

I hope later somekind of PMI-Programming related book appear, or how to implement all that knowledge and not let it get lost.

Head First Java 2nd Ed.

I come from a Web Design background but have spread out into Web Development over the years. I'd love to take that first step into Program Development and Head First Java looks like it would be my best bet.

-Bill

While I come from a developer's background, for the last several years I have been doing more Manager/BA functions at work. When I lost my job, I felt the need to catch up on a bunch of technologies, especially web related. I have been devouring the Heads First series via Safari (which I get as part of my membership in the ACM). Have read HTML, Javascript, OO Analyst & Design, Programming and I plan on reading Java next. The Head-First series is a fun and great way to learn or relearn the basics.

Those "Cookbooks" are always good and I'd also like to see more books written by creators of concerned frameworks/languages/libraries, sort of like straight from the horse's mouse :)

Those "Cookbooks" are always good and I'd also like to see more books written by creators of concerned frameworks/languages/libraries, sort of like straight from the horse's mouse :)

Building Scalable Websites is a must-have for web developers. It is the-go to source for many of the practical problems that I encounter as a developer, problems that I was never exposed to in my schooling.

With Masterminds of programming I've got lovely reading about all distinguished languages directly from interviews with their creators. C++, Python, Forth, AWK, Lua, Haskell, SQL, Objective-C, Java, C# and Perl to name a few. IMHO, this book is worth reading if you want to choose which language to learn next.

*Love* the Head First series - such a great product. Nutshell books are very heavily used and rarely stay on my shelf for long - loan them out and refer to them all of the time.

Head First Programming would probably do me the best, since ultimately, I want to learn Python, and use it in a LAMP environment, and go from being yee oldeste developer to a sprightly, young-at-heart, very excited new programmer.

Making Things Happen by Scott Berkun

The Head First books look like a real good direction to go. Without knowing where to start with programming, and winding up with working knowledge of Python has to be the way to go........how can you lose ?

Perl Best Practices as well as most of the Cookbooks and Hacks series.


Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun is different tool to sharpen most neglected area in career development. Beside that, cookbooks and hack books are great for quick solution; while in nutshell and programming series is great reference to whatever you are working on. Now, new addition from the Microsoft Press books are just fabulous one stop shop expetirince.

Thanks for great books...

I have come to love the Head First series. Really awesome.

Mastering regular expressions was extremely helpful for mining data from PDFs. Saved hundreds of hours of volunteer work for the political campaign I helped out. -Matt

Mastering Regular Expressions, Third Edition
Jeffrey E.F. Friedl, August 2006, 544 pp.

Like many O'Reilly books, MRE is written with depth rather than fluff. regex are a huge productivity tool even when partially mastered.

Then there's my shelf full of O'Reilly Perl publications that take developers from novice to expert.

Add to that the Nutshell titles and an entire career can be built on an O'Reilly foundation.

BTW, I mentioned the contest in this tweet:
http://twitter.com/gerryLowry1947/status/8917417440
[synchronicity?: i discover @jgrahamc; next i find a contest http://bit.ly/diMeUU "Geek Altas" shown.]

Today, a Tim O'Reilly tweet lead me to Joh Graham-Cunning:
http://www.jgc.org/ who coincidentally wrote "The Geek Altas" that you've coincidentally chosen to picture on your image above.

regards ~~ gerry (lowry)

Making Things Happen by Scott Berkun

It would make me more marketable as an effective IS/IT Analyst

http://twitter.com/tari_manga/status/8956467141

Ciao!

Head First Rails has been a revelation for me. After working through this book I understood Rails and I could see instantly how to implement a solution to a problem that my manager was using as an excuse for not making changes.

The Pocket References are a firm favourite of mine as well. You can quickly pull one out and find the answer you need.

You folks know how to ask a hard question, don't you?

I'm a long-time O'Reilly fan, with an embarrassment of riches in "Programming *", "* in a Nutshell", "* Pocket Reference", "*, the Definitive Guide", "* Cookbook", and other outstanding titles gracing multiple bookshelves at my office and home. As a former teacher, and still as a mentor at work, I really appreciate the freshness and "whole-brain" approach of the "Head-First *" series, and must give "Head-First Design Patterns" honorable mention.

After much internal debate, however, I've settled on "Beautiful Code" as my pick, based on the challenge phrases "constantly improve..." and "...help you grow". While it is important to stay current with the dynamic ebb and flow of technologies, there are underlying principles that remain valuable over the years (and decades!) of a technology career. I was re-inspired and re-energized by "Beautiful Code" to take a breath, back away from the daily details, and consider the qualities that make design and code viable in the long-term.

http://twitter.com/joelneely/status/8960056766

Definitely the new iPhone book by Jonathan Stark.

Managing UUCP and Usenet. Just kidding.

Lots of books from the Cookbook series have come in handy in keeping my skills up to date. But, as of late, the book Time Management for System Administrators has become indispensable.

Beautiful Architecture, Hacking: The Next Generation.
I'm actually a huge fan of the whole Beautiful... series, still regret not purchasing Beautiful Code last year :)

...and just because I really, really want Beautiful Code, here goes: http://twitter.com/JRFire/status/8962000189

I've had my eye on "Design Accessible Web Sites" for a while. As a user experience professional, accessibility expertise is a tool I'd love to add to my toolkit.

-Josh

Head First Design Patterns

Beautiful Data and Beautiful Visualization are two books that are next on my wish-list from O'Reilly - two fundamental (yet often overlooked) disciplines within Business Intelligence.

Also, I recently found Toby Segaran's 'Programming Collective Intelligence' to be a great 'kick-start' into the workings of modern analytical web systems. Great stuff!

http://twitter.com/NickJewell/statuses/8965405862

HTML pocket reference has been essential now that I am working with websites again after a couple of years working in recruiting. I've totally had to brush up on the semantic HTML tags...no more blink tags. Now I just need to learn php.

You have the date wrong in your second paragraph. Its February 11th not 10th.

What's saved my bacon in the past has been the nutshell book line. I quickly came up to speed in a UNIX environment with the help of these books. I would love to see a Google maps nutshell book. Something easy to digest.

Also the Perl cookbooks, the Art of Concurrency and the C# nutshell books. Your book lines are well written, concise, and to the point. Programming C# was also very helpful.

I know a lot of developers, including myself, who love the head first series also.

CLR via C# is a great book that help to expand my understanding of .Net framework

Probably the perl books and understanding the Linux Kernel.

Sure it is the Head First and in a Nutshell books...
Great info, deep and dense..

i love to have Building iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript book


http://twitter.com/od3n/status/8971886566

"Making things talk" by Tom Igoe is a great entry level book,which paired with "Make: Electronics" by Charles Platt are two books that are helping me custom make hardware simple hardware. This allows me to make interactive displays that are "high tech, high touch" and one of a kind. What could be more competitive?

And for the bonus marks, I tweeted the contest:

http://twitter.com/mattledding

Congrats to whoever wins, and thanks for the contest!

Could definitely use the Social Media Marketing book since I took on the role of Social Media guru at my work and feel that I have tons left to learn!

Web Site Measurement Hacks have been helpful in building my web analytics strategy. Would love to add Complete Web Monitoring to my collection.

Bioinformatics Programming Using Python, First Edition by Mitchell L Model is on my Amazon wishlist ever since it was announced last year!

Having graduated with a Bs in Biochemistry in 1997 with the hope of doing research in the exciting world of gene recombination and therapy, I wanted to revolutionize how we treated genetics diseases from the very early stages of gestation. Long story short, my Bs didn't take me anywhere after undergrad school and I ended up joining the Y2K frenzy working as a software developer. I currently work with python and fancy the idea of one day mixing my programming skills with my now rusted scientific knowledge to go back into the fascinating world of genome mapping and research.

I'm enjoying "Building iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript" and think it will help me build more compelling web sites for this growing market.

As my company's clients are in the process of replacing their aging workstations to new ones with Windows 7 pre-installed, I definitely needed the "MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-680): Configuring Windows® 7" and "Windows 7: The Definitive Guide". As a software trainer, the first prepared me for my certification, the second for one-on-one support sessions with clients.

Still using: "sed and awk Pocket Reference, Second Edition", still very useful

And let's not forget "Programming Perl, Third Edition"...

http://twitter.com/gvlx/status/8972652432

I'd love to have Natural Language Processing with Python because NLP is a subject that interests me on a personal level and it was pretty much absent from my college curricula.

Like everyone else, I've come to like the Head First series. For people new to the Mac, the Missing Manual book is terrific, and I've recommended it several times. While it doesn't directly make me "more marketable" as the question asks, but it sure does save me a lot of time answering questions.

I'm going through the cloud computing books now.

Like many O'Reilly books, MRE is written with depth rather than fluff. regex are a huge productivity tool even when partially mastered.

Then there's my shelf full of O'Reilly Perl publications that take developers from novice to expert.

Add to that the Nutshell titles and an entire career can be built on an O'Reilly foundation.

I think one of the most usefull books has been "Perl Best Practices". Have found a lot of usefull information also from the Cookbooks! Cheers Ray

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