Book Review#3 Tech Simplified
About the Author
Tech Simplified by Deepak Singh is an insightful book that provides a comprehensive overview of various aspects of technology. The book is written in a clear and concise manner, making it easy for anyone, regardless of their technical background, to understand.
About the author
Deepak Singh is a former Senior Director of Product Management at Unacademy. He worked in product management at Flipkart, MX Player, and UpGrad. He graduated from IIT Kharagpur in chemical engineering. He was from a non-tech background. He struggled with “Tech” because of the readability of tech literature. Literature about tech was very technical, written by techies for techies. A non-tech person would find it extremely hard to understand. In the book “Tech Simplified”, Deepak attempts to explain tech concepts that someone from 8th Grade can understand. He divided the people into 5 levels of understanding of Technology.
Level 1– No clue about Tech
Level 2– Broad understanding of Tech
Level 3– Understand Tech and implications for a tech/digital product
Level 4– Understand every technical decision/trade-off in detail
Level 5– Write Code
I am a non-tech/ non-CS (Computer Science) person. From level 1, I can say I am somewhere between levels 2 and 3 after reading the book.
The book is divided into 10 sections.
Section 1- Computers
Here the author starts with the basics of computers, binary systems, and hardware of a computer (input, output, storage, and processing devices)
Section 2- Software
In this section, the author explains what is an OS (Operating System) and which are the operating systems in a computer and mobile phone. He explains what is software and what is open-source software.
Section 3- Internet
The author explains the Internet which is a network of billions of computers interconnected to each other. He explains how the internet reaches our homes. He explains ISP (internet service provider), Wi-Fi, Modem, Routers, and WAP. He explains internet protocols through a very easy-to-understand example of someone sending a book through the postal system to his/her friend. He also explains data encryption and VPNs.
Until now, we were just warming up. Now things get a little tricky and technical for a non-tech person. But the author has done a great job in using a language that is easy to understand. I understood the concepts. But to retain the information, I had to go through these chapters a couple of times.
Section 4- Websites
Here Deepak starts by explaining the worldwide web. Then the front-end and back-end technologies. Then we learn about SQL and NOSQL. By taking the example of how google.com works, the author explains pictorially (i) client-to-server, (ii) server-to-database-to-server, and (iii) server-to-client.
Section 5- Key Dev Concepts
In key dev concepts, we learn about APIs. APIs are something we hear every day in any tech product development. I had little understanding of API with the famous example of a restaurant and waiter delivering bringing food to a customer. The author uses the same example to explain API in this book. He also explains the types of APIs and REST APIs.
Section 6- Mobile Apps
Mobile apps have ensured we have everything we need-finances, entertainment, shopping, travel, socializing, etc, etc at our fingertips. The author starts with a comparison between Android and IOS mobile OS. Then he explains how to build a mobile website and a mobile app.
Section 7- DevOps
The author explains the software development process with the help of an example of a car manufacturing facility. He explains the dev environment, staging environment, and production environment in software development. He then explains the version control system, Git, and GitHub. Next, he explains the birth of DevOps, and why and how it evolved.
He then explains tricky concepts of CI/CD (Continuous integration and continuous delivery), setting up IT infrastructure, cloud computing, infrastructure as code, and microservices.
Section 8- System Design
Deepak starts this section with NFRs (Non-Functional Requirements). He explains concepts of Scalability, Load Balancing & Distributed systems, and performance through partitioning, Caching, Redundancy, and Replication.
Finally, he explains how to choose a database- SQL DB or No SQL DB.
Section 9- System Design of Popular Products
This is by far my favorite section. Here the author explains (i) building a URL shortener like Bitly, (ii) building a social media app like Twitter, (iii) building a marketplace like Airbnb (iv) building a mobility app like Uber and (v) building a messaging service like WhatsApp.
Deepak explains all the examples above in the following steps.
(i) Functional Requirements and NFR
(ii) HLD (High-Level Design)
(iii) Databases and API
(iv) Design choices for NFRs
Section 10- How to work with Tech
In this chapter, Deepak documents his conversation with Ankit Tomar (CPTO Bizongo, former PM at Microsoft). Here Deepak with Ankit, the general expectations from PM/product leaders, gaps in product leaders who don’t understand tech, etc.
Key Take Aways
1. Technology is everywhere: Deepak emphasizes that technology is everywhere and affects every aspect of our lives. Understanding technology concepts is important.
2. Technology is not rocket science: The author demystifies technology concepts by breaking them down into simple, easy-to-understand explanations. Technology is not rocket science, but rather a set of tools and processes that can be learned and understood.
3. Understanding technology and learning to code are not same: People assume technology means coding and coding means technology. To understand technology, one need not learn coding.
One of the strengths of this book is that it includes practical examples and real-world applications for each of the tech concepts. The book is also well-organized, with each section building on the previous one. The concepts are explained with easy examples and block diagrams and pictures. In the end, the author brings everything together with examples of architectures of popular apps described above in section 9. This makes it easy for readers to follow and understand the concepts covered in each chapter.
Tech Simplified by Deepak Singh is an excellent book for anyone looking to gain a better understanding of technology. The book is a great choice for both beginners and those looking to refresh their knowledge of technology. I strongly recommend this book for beginners and non-tech people who want to learn and understand technology.
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