John Sonmez

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since Jun 11, 2013
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Recent posts by John Sonmez

This is a bit of a tough one.

I would say that if you want recognition, what you really need to seek out is responsibility, here's why:

Recognition is temporary and easily taken away or stolen. Responsibility and integrity are not.
If you are consistently a person that can be relied on, helps the team and makes others better--and look better, you will be considered a valuable member of the team and even if you never gain "recognition" you will be given more responsibility.

What good is responsibility, you may ask?

Well, responsibility is the main thing that leads to advancement in your career. Many developer seek out recognition, money and titles first, but responsibility is the long-term way to get them.
Most people don't want to take responsibility. Most people can't be relied upon and shirk responsibility. But someone who has a large amount of responsibility will eventually be given a large amount of authority and the perks the come with it, like titles and salary.
Plus, by gaining responsibility, you gain more control over your own future and are more autonomous.

But, it is a slower road and it may even require giving up recognition, and giving it to other instead.

With that said, keep track of all your work and accomplishment. Keep an accomplishments and kudos file where you track every amazing thing you did and all the responses you have received for doing it.
I recommend creating weekly reports of what you did and sending them to your manager as well as keeping a copy.

Then, when you need to talk about why you are capable and what you have done--hint: review time--you have it all there and documented.

In short, don't worry about recognition, keep track of your accomplishment, but seek out responsibility instead.
Some people call it paying your dues, but I call it being a professional.
4 years ago
Glad to help if I can.

In my book, I am talking more about marketing yourself and building a personal brand, but I do have some YouTube videos on my channel which you may find helpful:

In your case, I would definitely try to market your product by providing free education.
This is actually a very good technique in general, and it is really the main strategy that I use for my marketing and any kind of marketing today.

In fact, this very promotion is sort of that. I'm providing some free education on some subjects that I cover in my book and elsewhere and hopefully if readers get value from that, they'll check out my other stuff and buy something.

You can use the same exact approach by creating a blog, giving conference talks and perhaps even doing videos that teach your audience about the advanced statistics and data processing that your target audience might not know nothing about.
Also educate them on other areas of their business. Then, they will trust you and will want to know what else you can do for them.

The key is establishing credibility and giving some free value first.

One excellent book that talks about some of these strategies, and others, is called "The Ultimate Sales Machine." Definitely work checking out.

4 years ago

Campbell Ritchie wrote:… which is a common saying on this side of the Pond, whose meaning should be obvious.

You tell us in the book how you managed to earn money from rents, and also how you resisted the usual young person's temptation to spend all the money you have.
Do you think everybody can emulate what you achieved, or only some people, or everybody partially?

Sure. I definitely think anyone can emulate it. It is a matter of setting a standard for yourself and choosing to live by that standard.

I decided that I wanted to be financially successful, so I was willing to make short-term sacrifices in order to have long term gains.
I decided that I would save and invest instead of spending for short-term enjoyment.

It's all about realizing that the decisions you make right now will determine the kind of life you have 5 years from now and realizing that, unless you die, that time--5 years from now--will come.

Once you realize that you can send gifts forward in time to yourself, and that when you do, they increase greatly in value, you are much more motivated to send as much forward as you can.

You also realize that living below your means isn't really that much of a sacrifice at all. The things that you "think" make you happy are not the things that actually make you happy...
4 years ago
Thank you! Appreciate the welcome.

Happy to answer any questions I can. May even do some video answers and post them here:

Ask my anything. Nothing is off limits!
4 years ago
Congrats guys! Hope you enjoy the book.

Thanks to JavaRanch for having me here.

If I can answer any more questions or help any of you out, don't hesitate to reach out to me at

5 years ago

Campbell Ritchie wrote:What sort of stage has the book got to? If those of us who have no soft skills learn to type fast enough to give feedback, will that alter what you finally write?

Sorry have been too busy the last couple of days to post here.

The book is actually done and in print.
You can order it now.

My physical copies of the book are supposed to come today.

But, you can always give some feedback for the 2nd edition.
5 years ago

Campbell Ritchie wrote:I know a few husband and wife teams, even a pair of performers who are married to each other, so do you think there are particular problems working with one's spouse?

I know another woman who threatened to retire if her department and mine were ever merged. “You've got David in your department and I would sooner retire than work in the same department as him.”

Names have been changed to protect the guilty!

I suppose it greatly depends on the person. I worked with my wife several times in my career and we got along fine. But, I know other stories that didn't end so well.
5 years ago
Hey Isaac,

Great questions.

I like to think of it this way. I am on a path for continuous self-improvement.
I wanted to write a book for others that are on that path.

I'm a big advocate of going the road less traveled. I think the greatest rewards and satisfaction are found there.

Soft skills are a lot of different things and they will mean different things and have different values to different people.

It's not about drinking beers at the pub or liking what other people like, but more about learning how to connect and deal with people primarily by being a person who provided value to others.

As far as a good or bad professional. I think it depends on perspective.
There are definitely universal principles that apply to human interaction and to the world in general, but there are many different situations--so, guidelines have to apply.

I guess what I am saying is, there are basic core things that don't change, but how you apply them from situation to situation does.

I suppose this is the difference between wisdom and knowledge.

I value wisdom much more highly.
5 years ago
This book is not for you.

Jan de Boer wrote:I plus Ben here. You cannot really learn them, and if you do, you commit a little treason to your own person. I am perfectly aware of my faults in social skills. I am a rebel, during conversation I say things that are considered very funny and amusing by most, but insulting by some. Mostly I pull the legs of the management. Especially in a hierarchic company, I am considered an unpredictable danger. I try to behave myself, but if I censor myself, I feel deathly unhappy, and I don't say much at all. I am terrible in neutral polite conversation, and have been for 20 years. It's not going to change I think.

5 years ago
I have found that--in most environments--programmers get much more respect and autonomy than other job positions.
Many of the places I worked at as a software developer, had no dress code for the software developers, let us come and leave as we pleased and often let us work on what we felt was important with little oversight.

Now, that isn't to say that all work environments are like that--I've certainly been in ones where I've been micro-managed.

But, in general, it is a more relaxed environment compared to other professions and especially non-professional occupations.
5 years ago

M K Rayapudi wrote:Hi John,


It seems to be you covered everything in the book (from ABOUT THE BOOK: advice to developers on important "soft" subjects like career and productivity, personal finance and investing, and even fitness and relationships)

Can you please answer my question below (Are these covered in the book ?)
For a S/W Developer, what is the right age for
1. Marriage
2. Retirement

Murali Krishna

Hi Murali,

Marriage is not covered in the book, but retirement is definitely covered.
I have one chapter talking about retirement strategies and another chapter where I detail out exactly how I was able to retire at 33 years of age.
5 years ago
So, here is the thing:

Even thought the book is called Soft Skills, try not to get hung up on the words themselves.
Yes, they can be interpreted in many ways, but take a look at the first chapter of the book, to get a better idea of what it is about:

The Software Developer's Life Manual is of an apt description.

In the book I cover all kinds of topics from:

Managing your career
Writing resumes
Building a reputation in the software development industry
Writing books, magazines, blogs, etc
Learning quickly
Mentoring and finding a mentor
Productivity hacks
Time management
Fitness, diet and nutrition for programmers
Financial considerations for programmers
Self esteem and mental attitude

Lots of topics.

Was a fun book to write.
5 years ago
I would say, as a side-business, yes.
As a hobby, probably not as much.
It depends on how you define a hobby, I suppose.

But if you are asking can you program part time and make money doing it--absolutely.
5 years ago
Soft Skills can definitely be taught.

In fact, that is the purpose of my book--to teach Soft Skills as best as possible.

I know this for sure, because I lacked many Soft Skills growing up.
I learned many lessons the hard way--which I share in the book.

Ritchie is right that many Soft Skills come down to habits.
5 years ago
The most important soft skill for anyone is learning how to deal with people.

Dale Carnegie's book How to Win Friend's and Influence people is the best source I know for learning this Soft Skill.
His writings have had a profound influence on my book.

I definitely think EQ is more important than IQ.

In this world we deal with people. People hire us for jobs, they work with us, they use what we build. Everything we do involves other people.
So, if you want to be successful, you need to know how to deal with them correctly.

The book, of course, covers a lot more than that. But since you asked for the most important Soft Skill, there it is.

5 years ago