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Future manager gave me a programming book to read and I’m having a hard time actually learning it.

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Incoming New Grad Engineer at Apple2 years ago

My future manager asked me to read “Effective Java” as preparation for starting. However, it’s really not making sense to me. I have a fear that they’ll ask me how much I understood from the book. How should I answer the question without making myself look bad?



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    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 years ago
    • Meta-point 1: it would be weird/uncalled for, for your manager to quiz you about your understanding of the design patterns in the book. Software engineering is not about taking tests, it’s about adding business value.
    • Meta-point 2: As you go through the book, I highly recommend that you code, rather than read the book. If your hands are not on the keyboard, you’re probably doing it wrong.
    • To the question of how to actually answer your manager, I’d phrase it to indicate that you put the effort in to get familiar with the terminology, but you still have to see the concepts in action to truly understand them. “I made decent progress in the book, but I’m really excited to dive into the Apple codebase to understand how these concepts fit into a large, evolving codebase. I’m excited to hit the ground running by testing my understanding in the context of a real, production codebase.”