Andy Hunt: Secrets of a Rock Star Programmer (Part 1)

 Career, programming

SOURCE: This article is excerpted from Secrets of the Rockstar Programmers: Riding the IT Crest by Ed Burns (McGraw-Hill, 2008), with permission from the McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved. McGraw-Hill makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy of any information contained in the McGraw-Hill material, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

- Introduction
- Soft skills
- Hard skills
- Business
- Personal


The speakers who frequent the IT lecture circuit are a gold mine of rock star programmer talent. The premiere series on that circuit is Jay Zimmerman’s “No Fluff, Just Stuff” (, at which I had the pleasure of speaking in Reston, Virginia, in the fall of 2006. The keynote speaker at this particular conference was Andy Hunt, who presented his engaging “Refactoring Your Wetware” talk. Just ten minutes into Andy’s presentation, I knew I wanted to share his insights in an interview for this book. He puts out the vibe of a true Renaissance man, and he is -- right down to toting his well-worn Moleskine notebook and fronting his own rock-jazz-swing band, the Independent Memes (

Andy’s career arc has brought him through most of the roles one can have in the IT industry, from rank-and-file programmer at a Fortune 100 company, to senior architect, to independent consultant, to his current role as the co-founder of the Pragmatic Programmers LLC. The Pragmatic Programmers are widely recognized in the IT business for high-quality content (no fluff, you might say). They are also seen as a programmer-friendly publisher for IT authors. This is probably because it is run by two programming pioneers who “get it” when it comes to managing the process of authoring a technology book because they’ve read, used, and written them themselves. He and fellow Pragmatic Programmers founder Dave Thomas are seen as true thought leaders in today’s global programming community.

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