Best 17 Books for Programmers in 2021

Published by Piotr Blachnio on

There are many books for programmers out there but let’s start with a basic question. Why is reading books so important? First of all, there is an unlimited amount of knowledge you can grasp. Imagine that you read 1 or 2 books a month while your competitors read occasionally or not at all. It’s a really huge advantage for you! What’s more, reading can inspire you when you feel bored, and give you many ideas along the way. Apart from that, your concentration will certainly thank you!

While picking software engineering books, I usually prefer to focus on general concepts rather than individual technology or language. However, if you’re interested in learning more about specific programming language check out my Top 10 Programming Languages article.

There are so many books for software developers out there. And as you’re probably aware, time is one of the most important things in our lives. So, what can I do to limit the time spent and maximize gained knowledge? The answer is fairly simple – prefer quality over quantity. I’m here to help you with that. Therefore I’ve prepared the list of the best books for programmers of all time. Enjoy!

1. The Pragmatic Programmer

The Pragmatic Programmer

Author – Andrew Hunt, David Thomas
Publication date – 1999

This book is one that you should read at least once a year. It covers a comprehensive range of programming topics and topics that aren’t the norm for programming books, such as career development and personal responsibility while developing software.

–> Get this book <–

2. Algorithms to Live By

Algorithms to Live By

Author – Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths
Publication date – 2016

The author explains many computer science algorithms and how they can be helpful in our everyday lives. What’s great about this book is that you don’t need to have much knowledge. The barrier to entry is pretty low, and even beginners can easily understand its concepts.

–> Get this book <–

3. Clean Code

Clean Code

Author – Robert C. Martin
Publication date2008

Honestly speaking, it’s one of the most popular programming books out there. It shows you lots of good practices and paradigms in software engineering. Clean Code can be used as a handbook for the entire developing process. There are also many useful refactoring tips that will help you maintain a decent code quality for your project.

–> Get this book <–

4. Cracking the Coding Interview

Cracking the Coding Interview

Author – Gayle Laakmann McDowell
Publication date – 2008

Cracking the Coding Interview shows you multiple interview questions with the use of many programming algorithms. It’s an excellent book for every person trying to get a job. And even if you aren’t preparing for an interview, you can still apply those techniques in the real world’s projects. You’ll definitely benefit from that.

–> Get this book <–

5. Head First Design Patterns

Head First Design Patterns

Author – Elisabeth Freeman, Kathy Sierra
Publication date2004

As the title suggests, by reading this book, you’ll learn tons of popular design patterns. Everybody encounters different problems while programming and the solution for many of them are design patterns. No matter what you do, you’ll probably take advantage of them either way. What’s more, Head First Design Patterns is really beginner-friendly, and even newcomers will be able to learn from it.

–> Get this book <–

6. 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know

97 Things Every Programmer Should Know

Author – Kevlin Henney
Publication date – 2010

Ninety-seven stories that will teach you many aspects of programming. It’s not a technical book but rather a behavioural one. It won’t make your code look better that much but will definitely help you develop yourself as a programmer.

–> Get this book <–

7. The Clean Coder

The Clean Coder

Author – Robert C. Martin
Publication date – 2011

The author dives deep into the good practices of creating software. He describes many practical concepts in programming, such as clean code, refactoring, and testing. What’s more, this book will teach you the right attitude the programmer should have.

–> Get this book <–

8. Code Complete

Code Complete

Author – Steve McConnell
Publication date – 1993

This book will definitively change the way you think. It’ll show you how to write a better code, structure it properly and use some programming algorithms on top of that. Moreover, Code Complete teaches you about low-level concepts such as naming methods, variables, organizing classes, etc.

–> Get this book <–

9. Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

Author – Gerald Jay Sussman, Hal Abelson
Publication date – 1985

The classic book that’s pretty popular among older computer science students. It’ll give a different perspective on programming and software development in general. What’s more, the author included many creative exercises that will help you practice while you’re reading. However, many of them are somewhat tricky and I’d recommend this book to more experienced developers.

–> Get this book <–

10. Refactoring


Author – Martin Fowler, Kent Beck
Publication date – 1999

By reading this book, you’ll learn how to refactor your code and make it look professional in a short period of time. It’ll teach you how to detect code smells, refactor effectively, make code extensible and modular, etc. Making the code better is a massive part of software development, and the principles included there are timeless.

–> Get this book <–

11. Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software

Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software

Author – Eric Evans
Publication date – 2003

It solves many problems that we face in terms of software design and architecture. What’s more, there is a large number of concepts about the clean structure and proper ways to write code. It’ll definitely move you to the next level as a programmer, yet it can be a bit complex for beginners.

–> Get this book <–

12. Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture

Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture

Author – Martin Fowler
Publication date – 2002

This book shows you various real-world examples of building high-quality software. You’ll learn about multiple enterprise patterns, when to use them, and when not. Once you understand and feel them, you’ll be prepared for many vague cases in programming.

–> Get this book <–

13. Programming Pearls

Programming Pearls

Author – Jon Bentley
Publication date – 1986

If you carefully study all the concepts in this book, you’ll be ready to ace most of the programming interviews. It’ll give you tons of creative and clever solutions to many computer science problems. Furthermore, you’ll also find some helpful career advice there.

–> Get this book <–

14. The Productive Programmer

The Productive Programmer

Author – Neal Ford
Publication date – 2008

The author teaches you how to be more efficient and effective as a programmer. In the first part, you’ll read about many ideas and tools that will help you become a productive programmer. The second part demonstrates core concepts and principles in the software engineering world.

–> Get this book <–

15. Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

Author – Charles Petzold
Publication date – 1999

To be honest, this book is really enjoyable to read. It gives you a different perspective on many things that self-taught programmers might not be aware of. Have you ever wondered how code, computer, or CPU works? If so, this book is absolutely for you.

–> Get this book <–

Skill up. Online courses from $9.99

16. Agile Software Development Principles

Agile Software Development Principles

Author –Robert C. Martin
Publication date – 2002

In this publication, Robert C. Martin describes things from a high-level view. The book presents many practical programming concepts such as TDD, SOLID, Agile, etc. Apart from that, you’ll see a detailed description of a complete software design for reusable programs in C++ and Java.

–> Get this book <–

17. Pragmatic Thinking & Learning

Pragmatic Thinking & Learning

Author – Andy Hunt
Publication date – 2008

Pragmatic Thinking & Learning helps you understand that the entire process of software development happens in your mind. This book is really helpful because it’s crucial to understand how our brain operates and how we learn new things.

–> Get this book <–

If this article gave you some value, don’t forget to share it with other people. Thank you!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *