Programming Books That Developers Must Read

Programming books are a source of useful information that developers can use if they want to enrich their personal knowledge and work skills. Therefore, the action of reading programming books has been always a subject of discussion between individuals who disagree on whether books are really that important. Half of the programmers think that they can get the mandatory knowledge for web, app, or software development through good practice and even better knowledge of the Internet. However, the other half of the programmers believe that it is necessary to read programming books if developers want to improve their knowledge and skills. 

Programming books are an essential part of the personal development and knowledge of individuals who want to advance in their fields of expertise. Knowing how to find a solution to a coding problem online is a very important skill when working on big projects, however, reading books for programming may also prove to be beneficial on a long-term basis. 

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Although the list of best programming books may vary based on personal preference, there are some books that are on the programmers’ “must-read” list. Developers need to start reading books in addition to the articles they read online if they want to call themselves professionals. Currently, the most popular “know-how” sources among software developers are the following five programming books:

The Pragmatic Programmer: Your Journey to Mastery by David Thomas and Andrew Hunt

“The Pragmatic Programmer” is one of those programming books that provide developers with fresh comprehension of coding and the ability to create better software. Regardless of whether programmers have experience or are beginners, this book will improve their personal productivity and job satisfaction. David Thomas and Andrew Hunt wrote the first edition of this book in 1999 with the intention to help programmers examine the core of software development, regardless of the programming language. Back in those days, this book helped in the development of a Pragmatic philosophy which produced a large number of books, audiobooks, screencasts, and success stories. 

The same book from 20 years ago re-examines the modern programming principles in the newest edition that came out in September 2019. This new edition of “The Pragmatic Programmer” tackles various topics interesting for modern programmers, such as personal responsibility, career development, architectural techniques for preserving the code’s flexibility, etc. In addition, reading this book will help programmers learn how to resolve potential problems with code, how to write adaptable and dynamic code, and how to guard against security exposure. Moreover, developers will discover how to implement the Pragmatic Starter Kit and build teams of Pragmatic Programmers. They will also know how to take responsibility for their careers by avoiding programming by coincidence and facing duplicate knowledge. Developers will learn all of these skills and will develop new habits that will guarantee success in their careers.

Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C. Martin

“Clean Code” is one of the three most important Robert C. Martin’s books for programming. The “Clean Code” book will help developers to write better code, to discover how to convert bad into good code, and to become better programmers. Robert C. Martin decided to write this book as a challenge to programmers to reassess their professional values and their work commitment. The “Clean Code” challenges developers to read lots of code and to think about what is right or what is wrong with the code in front of them. 

The “Clean Code” book is a must-read programming book for all developers, software engineers, and project leaders who want to produce better code. Programmers who decide to read this book will enrich their knowledge of coding and will be able to differentiate good from bad code. Moreover, they will learn how to format code and get maximum readability, as well as how to create good names, classes, functions in order to transform bad code into a good one. Furthermore, programmers will discover how to handle errors without covering the code logic, and how to practice test-driven development.

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The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers by Robert C. Martin

“The Clean Coder” is one of the programming books that Robert C. Martin wrote for improving software craftsmanship. Developers are encouraged to read this book if they want to get practical advice about coding and creating software. Martin published “The Clean Coder” in 2011 and expected readers to learn that programming is not only a simple technique, but it is also an attitude. The book teaches programmers how their self-respect must be high if they plan to approach software development and face difficult problems that require appropriate decisions. Therefore, programmers who are professionals in their work must treat the practice of creating a software as a craft. 

When reading “The Clean Coder”, readers will be able to learn what it is to be a true software craftsman and how to become one. This book will mainly teach programmers how to deal with conflicts, managers, and tight schedules, as well as how to avoid burnout and pressure from the big loads of work. It will also help developers learn how to deal with the so-called “writer’s block” and how to manage their time for a certain task. Therefore, “The Clean Coder” is a programming book that both beginners and experienced developers need to read if they want to become professionals in their jobs.

Clean Architecture: A Craftsman’s Guide to Software Structure and Design by Robert C. Martin

“Clean Architecture” is another of Martin’s books for programming, which discusses software architecture and its ability to help with the improvement of the developer’s productivity. Robert C. Martin wrote the “Clean Architecture” as an addition to the “Clean Code” and “The Clean Coder”, revealing the rules of software and helping programmers apply those rules in their work. Developers can learn which choices are critical for their success and which challenges they will have to make in order to finish their projects. “Clean Architecture” is one of those programming books that will come in handy to all software architects and managers, as well as to all system analysts and designers.  

Programming books may be useful not only for programming as a process but also for learning the software structure and design. “Clean Architecture” does exactly that. It teaches software architects what they need to achieve and which are the best practices and core disciplines for achieving the aim. Moreover, the book shows how programming paradigms restrict the developers’ tasks and impose discipline. It also helps developers to distinguish what is truly important and what is not, while discovering how to prevent failures in designs and architectures. Finally, “Clean Architecture” teaches programmers how to implement web structures, databases, console, and other embedded applications. Therefore, developers need to read this book if they want to master essential software design principles.

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Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C# by Robert C. Martin

The final choice from our Top 5 programming books is the award-winning book “Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#” that Robert C. Martin wrote in order to familiarize programmers with the Agile principles. This guide for Agile methods is especially useful to Java and C++ programmers because it illustrates the Agile fundamentals and moves from UML models to C# code. Developers who wonder which programming books contain the necessary knowledge of C#, Java and Agile software need to pay closer attention to this book. C# programmers, software development managers, and business analysts will get sufficient knowledge of Agile software and how to apply it in the .NET Framework.

The “Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#” displays the basics of the Agile movement as well as many source code examples proven in practice. Programmers who decide to read this book will learn the Agile designs and principles as well as 14 practices of Extreme Programming. They will also get familiar with five types of UML diagrams and will know how to use them. In addition to this, after reading this book, developers will be able to use all that knowledge in a real-world project through pair programming and designing.

These are only five of the numerous programming books that are published and available to software developers. If you think that we forgot to mention a book that is also useful for programmers, send us a message. Use that opportunity and tell us which is your favorite programming book.


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