Cover image for I'm writing a book for junior developers!

I'm writing a book for junior developers!

isaacdlyman profile image Isaac Lyman Updated on ・3 min read

Update: Over 80 people have offered their help with this project. Thank you so much, everyone! It really makes me proud to be a member of the dev.to community. The book is scheduled to publish in July 2019, so head over to the LeanPub page and get your pre-order in!

I'm writing a book: a complete guide to your first year as a developer. And I'm looking for co-authors.

It's not a technical manual about Python or Kubernetes or Angular. And it's not a deep-dive about refactoring or craftsmanship. It's a guide to the other stuff: resume writing, getting that first job, ethics, career progression, what to do when you're stuck.

The book will be pay-what-you-want (minimum price of free).

Here's the table of contents so far:

table of contents

If you follow my posts, you might recognize some of these chapters from posts I've written on dev.to and Medium.

The goal of the book is to help all junior developers, no matter how they entered the field, to start their careers a year ahead of where I was when I started. It's a tall order, and that's why I need your help.

How can you help?

If you want to be a part of this book in any of the ways below, please email me.

Be a co-author! You can write a guest chapter on any topic that answers the question, "what do I wish I had known before my first year as a developer?" If I include it in the book, you'll get your name on the cover as well as a percentage of the profits from the book. Your content will be under a non-exclusive license, which means it still belongs to you and you can publish it elsewhere.

Tell your story! The chapter titled "Do I fit in?" is still unwritten, and I'm not the right person to write it. Instead, I want to know your stories about impostor syndrome, wondering if you fit in, dealing with gatekeeping and harrassment, and finding your worth as a programmer. I'll compile those stories together in the chapter and provide a space in the Acknowledgments for you to promote yourself, your current project, or your favorite charity.

Be a beta reader! If you're willing to read at least part of the book before it's released and give some honest, specific feedback about it, I'd welcome the help. In return, I'll put your name in the Acknowledgments along with a short message of your choice--feel free to promote whatever you're working on at the moment.

Sign up on the pre-release page! The book's landing page on Leanpub has a form for your name, email address, and what you're willing to pay for the book when it's released. If you fill it out, you'll be notified when the book is published.

Build the hype! Share the Leanpub page on social media, send it to your friends, mention it at work. When the book comes out, send it to someone who could use it. Use it to make a difference for the junior developer in your life.

What happens next?

Once it's finished, I'll publish the first version of the book and celebrate it on dev.to. With your help, tens of thousands of people will learn about it. And life will get just a little easier for our junior developer friends.

Are you in? I'd love to have as many people as possible be a part of this project. Just send me an email and we'll make it happen.

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isaacdlyman profile

Isaac Lyman


Author of Your First Year in Code (leanpub.com/firstyearincode). Find more of my writing at isaaclyman.com/blog.


Editor guide

Amazing! Good luck, I will definitely consider pitching in, but I’m pretty busy these days so can’t commit to anything.

One total hypothetical, maybe DEV could be a publisher of this book in some way? We’ll help boost it either way but I feel like this is something we could help a ton at each stage of the journey if we were officially part of it. Just a random thought, might not make sense.

cc: @jess @peter


I would love to have DEV as a partner/publisher on this. I'm committed to keeping it free for devs of limited means, but otherwise I'm flexible on terms.

I'm sure you've written a few things already that would be a great fit--no need to come up with something completely new. I'll go through your posts later and see what stands out, maybe you can do the same. If I can get a markdown doc, I'll handle the editing and layout from there.


I'm pretty certain we'd be pretty much 100% aligned in this vision. I wouldn't have mentioned it otherwise. I doubt there'd be much disagreement at all.

Absolutely no pressure if you change your mind. But we'll have a great platform to promote this and I think the simplest way to make our help work is if we had an explicitly defined partnership of sorts, something we can work out the details of if my cofounders are on board 😄

Count me in! You've got my email, talk to your cofounders and let's discuss this soon. I'm really excited about the possibilities.

Cool, we'll touch base early this work week.

In the meantime, good luck with it all. As this thread picks up steam I think we'll get a lot of initial momentum on pulling it together. 🙂

Maybe you can make every content an article here, and generate the book automatically from here.

So the book can evolve by just updating the articles in the web site.

Also the generated book can have some link (ebook version) or qrcode (hard copy) that references to the correspondent article in the website so that anybody can quickly provide feedback and comments.

It would be some kind of capability of the site to select posts and generate books that can serve any one.

Your book can be the first experience.

That is good because according to the review the website can contact possible authors and propose those compilations estimating the audience even before compiling the book.

I guess it would be the first feature of this website that no other similar website provides.


This is amazing! I wish I read more programming books during my studies and at the beginning of my career 2 years ago. I have recently started reading Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship and have already learned a lot from it.

I think I am still a little too "junior" to be of any help with your book.
I would love to be a beta reader, I am sure there will be lots of useful tips that I can use.

For the "Do I fit in?" chapter you mentioned that you are not the right person for that chapter, what is the type of person you are looking to write this?


I think being junior is an advantage in many ways, as a beta reader or a contributor. I'd be happy to hear any ideas you have.

For "Do I fit in?" the best stories would come from people who don't fit the "tech bro" stereotype. Anyone who's a minority in this industry due to race, sex, gender identity, culture, language, or religion, for example. Although I'd welcome stories from almost anyone who's felt out of place or unwelcome in tech because of who they are.


For sure sign me up as a beta reader 😉
I would love to contribute, maybe something about learning/improving by contributing to open source (even if it is out of your comfort zone).

Then I am also not the right person for that, I think I am out of the box "tech bro" stereotype as you called it.

That's a great idea! Write it up and send it my way.

Is there any timeframe for this?
Also if it is going to be a chapter in your book do you have any "requirements" for example text length? I don't think this will be a big chapter, but I will try to include some personal experiences.

An other subject, I still haven't forgotten about TonsilText. Your last comment on Github about maybe publishing it triggered my interest.

Timeframe: hoping to publish this summer if not sooner.

No length requirements, just needs to express a complete thought and be somewhat professional. The smallest chapters could be a page or so.

Publishing TonsilText is still on my to-do-someday list, though I may never actually get around to it. 😣

I have actually used TonsilText, on a party where talking was a little difficult because of the loud music. 😂


This sounds like the book I wish I had 5 years ago. I'd love to contribute. I'll be reaching out.

Thinking aloud, Keziyah of Juniors in Tech may be a good resource to reach out too as a possible co-author/avenue to promote—her newsletter content is great.


👋🏻👋🏻 I have some writing experience, and I’m in a confessional mode after two years. Wouldn’t mind contributing, wouldn’t mind not!


Your writing here has been awesome. I'm all ears, Jen--any old posts or new ideas you want to pitch for inclusion, let's talk about em.


Couldn’t figure out how to DM from my iPad, was just gonna say I’m not sure how I’d answer to an article called “Do I fit in?”
But I guess I could write one “On Fitting In”

Sounds great! You can always DM me on Twitter or email me (book@isaaclyman.com) if you have any questions.


I would be interested in contributing to the “Do I fit in?” chapter. Specifically I’d like to address anyone who identifies as LGBT and maybe how to go about including these things in a portfolio. Lmk 🙂


Awesome! Send me an email, book@isaaclyman.com. We'll make it happen.


I'd be interested in talking to you more about possibly writing a chapter or just sending in a story for the imposter syndrome section 😊 I went to my first dev job and quickly realized I didn't know much at all. Could also possibly discuss working remotely as a new dev.


I love it! Any or all of the above would be welcome. Shoot me an email at book@isaaclyman.com and we'll talk. 😀


Would love to chip in where I can - sounds like it could be a great resource for junior developers.


Awesome! Send me an email and I'll sign you up.


Great one, but your question depend on the idea of the writter because i believe you have something in mind about the question but if so it will be a team idea so that they can come up with a great answer



If you've emailed me to participate in this project, there is an email in your inbox right now with more details! If it's gone to your Spam box, please mark it Not Spam. I'm excited to work with all of you!


I would love to write a section but I could weave off the percentage profits for now. Maybe if the book becomes very popular we can write another one or make a series and revisit the profit share. What do you think?


If you guest-write a chapter, a share of the profits is yours whether you want it or not 🙃. I'd be happy to donate it to a worthy cause in your name though.


Also from the many books that I have read I have learned that all of them include a practical experience.

I guess it would be good to provide a chapter of how to make the simplest application on every language and tech.

It would be good that the same use case is described first and then the experts on every contribute with their implementation. So that learners can have a template bootstrap app according to the topic they are interested.

Every of those templates can be a repo in github.


I sent an email (and got a response!) last night, but just want to reiterate again how awesome and exciting this project is!


That's great. I'm waiting for your book. Good luck


Hi Isaac, this is a great initiative thanks!
I'm in progress to enter the SW Dev arena again and would love to help as a Beta reader!


Hi John! Send me an email and I'll sign you up.


Man i am very much looking forward to this :)


Oh man I would love to help with this!!


Awesome! Let's get in touch, I'd love to have you on board.


I'm in for beta reader!

Are you considering translating it? I could also help with a Spanish version if you're interested.


Yeah! I'll DM you on Twitter.


Nice! mailed you


Can I read it free? :)


Of course! You'll set whatever price you can afford.


This looks awesome! I would love to be a beta reader. Let me know how I can help :)


Great! Email me at book@isaaclyman.com and I'll add you to my list.


I guess a section for selecting the tools is needed. How to choose your operating system, the editors, version control, code comparison, comunication tools, etc.


I’d be interested in contributing as a writer!


That sounds great! Send me an email and we'll make it happen.


Awesome initiative Isaac.
I would like to contribute to this if possible as co-author.


Cool! Send me an email and we'll make it happen.


Intresting..but how soon you want the content?


First drafts by end of March, I think. Send me an email and we'll go from there.