2018 Tech Reading Challenge

Many of us are challenging ourselves to grow in the new year. One area of growth I strive for is in my career as a software developer. To that end, I’m sharing my 2018 reading challenge. I hope you will find it stretches your technical ability.

How it works

  • Choose a reading goal early in the year and set your pace accordingly.
    • The beginner reading challenge is 1 book a quarter.
    • The advanced reading challenge is 1 book a month with 2 months off.
  • Choose the books and read them in any order, checking them off as you complete them.
  • Post about your progress on Twitter using the hashtag #2018TechReadingChallenge. (Cross-post on Slack too)


  • Define your definition of “read,” since some technical books are pretty dry if you try to read them from cover to cover.
  • Ignore the categories and use #2018TechReadingChallenge about any software development book you read this year.

2018 Reading challenge (beginner—4 books)

  • A book about unit testing
  • A book about a framework, tool, or language
  • A book recommended by a coworker
  • A book published in 2018

2018 Reading challenge (advanced—10 books)

  • All the books in the beginner list plus:
  • A book about leadership
  • A book about an abstract concept
  • A book about software architecture
  • A book about agile
  • A book from the 80s
  • A book with an animal on the cover



  • Here’s my list (recognize that I’m not a full-time developer):

    Developer Testing – Alexander Tarlinder
    Radical Candor – Kim Scott
    Clean Code – Robert Martin
    Organizational Patterns of Agile Software Development – James Coplien
    Database Reliability Engineering – Laine Campbell, Charity Majors

    I’ve purchased “Effective Java – 3rd edition” but probably will loan it out to a team member before I read it.

    There’s a big pile of other books that I’m meaning to read:
    The Innovator’s Dilemma
    Lean Startup
    The Goal
    Emotional Intelligence 2.0
    The Rise of D.O.D.O
    Site Reliability Engineering

    I re-read The Phoenix Project, and found some useful nuggets. I might be reading more about Lean Software Development, with a couple books from Mary and Tom Poppendieck.

    • Great, Thanks for sharing! I’ll share the books I’ve picked out so far:

      • A book about unit testing—“Growing Object Oriented Software, Guided by tests”
      • A book recommended by a coworker—“Refactoring to Patterns,” Joshua Kerievsky
      • A book published in 2018
        “Microservices Patterns” MEAP, Chris Richardson
      • A book about an abstract concept
        “Pragmatic Thinking and Learning,” Andy Hunt
      • A book from the 80s
        “Becoming a Technical Leader,” Gerald Weinberg
  • I have one chapter left in Clean Code by Robert Martin. Part style guide, part implementation guide, though light on the implementation aspect. I’ve enjoyed it.

    Too much fiction reading on my list to go for the advanced path this year, but I need to find some technical reading to do.