Learn about the best programming books to learn coding this year.
The desire to learn programming has exploded over the last few years. Part of the reason is the growth of technology and artificial intelligence.
Another reason is that software engineers are among the highest-paid professionals out there so demand for them has increased significantly.
This pushes more people towards coding, seeking to take advantage of this opportunity. As a side but passionate coder, I’ve been learning basic Html, CSS, and even python since 2014 (age 9). Like every coder, there were certain key books that helped me get to the point of knowledge I have today.
No doubt programming can only be learned through maximum real-time execution, but books are like helping hands on your journey when you are getting started.
Hence, you need to learn about the best programming books.
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In this list, I rank and review some of my favorite and the best programming books to learn coding in 2021.
Let’s get to the list.
Which Book is Best For Learning Coding?
Here are my top picks for the best programming books to learn to code this year:
Most of the best programmers are self-taught.
I am not the best (even I am nowhere near a good programmer) but I am also a self-taught programmer, and if I wish to move into the world of the programming profession, I definitely can.
And the truth is: it takes 10000 hours to master a skill. But, it isn’t true in the programming world. And, with a few basic knowledge, you can get hired (freelance) or get unpaid internships opportunities at any age (I have been).
Here’s the secret: Companies hire new developers as a point of investment. And, it’s relatively easy to get hired with the right approach. And, that’s where you gain real experience.
If you are a college student who passed out and just secured a job as a programmer, I bet you will face things that you never learned and implemented at college. That’s the point when you enter the real programming world. And, your college degree is just the entry pass.
That’s why I always recommend stop wasting time learning theoretical things and start working in real-time execution on developmental projects no matter at which point of your coding journey you are in.
Spent time on your college degree part time, and take real-time programming, building your professional presence online, as your mainstream work.
There is an immense difference between what is taught in universities and what is actually done in companies. And the programming you have done in college is pretty much removed from the real-world codes of today.
That’s why getting experience from the very beginning is the best thing you could ever do in your coding journey.
Coding is not something – that you will master counting hours. You really can’t. Because it has its own universe. It’s endless. It’s something to be explored and learned over time and not mastered.
And, that’s where the concept of “self-taught” comes in. It’s all about passion & experience. The more you go out, contribute, collaborate and take part in real projects, the more real experience you gain respectively of the knowledge you already have.
This book is neither for beginners nor for expert researches. It’s for students who don’t expertly know how to start learning to code but wish to be a software engineer, and more generally it’s for people like myself.
How do I start? With which programming language should I begin, C/C++ or Python? Can I start learning on my own? Will I be able to get a job? Could I make a living out of learning programming and freelance jobs only? If you find yourself asking any of these questions then this book is for you.
It’s one of those books that will not only help you to learn to code but will psychologically develop your life as a programmer in terms of finances i.e. making money as a programmer by landing a job easily.
You will be a professional in no time.
This book ultimately gives you a perfect foundation as a passionate coder from writing your first program to landing your first job – a journey from nowhere to a software developer in the programming world.
This book is perfectly divided into six main sections:
- Program in Python 3 and building your first program.
- Learning object-oriented programming and create a powerful program to get you hooked.
- Using tools like Git, Bash, regular expressions, and databases. Then, building a web scrapper using your new skills.
- Learning computer science fundamentals including computer architecture, data structures, algorithms, and network programming.
- Program for production: Covering the main software development processes, testing, and best coding practices.
- Finishing with tips for working with teams and landing your first programming job and transforming you into a professional.
Making a living as a programmer. Learning programming has been a goal of mine from the very start. In late 2017 (at age 12), I decided that programming is what I wanted to do at that point in my life and started from scratch.
Well, things changed. I shifted to something different as I found something more exciting than it. But, this book was worth reading at that time.
You’ve heard there are no silver bullets. Most of the time, this old saw is right… but not always. The Pragmatic Programmer shows you where you can find the silver buckshot that really does exist: in the syllable “prog,” in fact.
Packed with dozens of time-saving tricks and practical tactics, The Pragmatic Programmer is a hands-on guide to building better software, and it’s effective regardless of programming language.
In this book, you’ll learn how to take advantage of a host of opportunities that will stretch your abilities and enhance your reputation as a rising software specialist in the programming world.
The Pragmatic Programmer believes there’s always a better way and introduces you to proven techniques for producing better designs, code, documentation, and tests.
The core tenets of this book are just as relevant now as they were 20 years ago. You’ll come to understand how imperative it is to get into the practice of continuous improvement, and the idea of feedback loops in development.
When I first read it in 2018, it literally made a major impact on the way I worked. This book was one of those books I read on software development, that opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about programming, namely through practices like test-driven development.
In Make Your Own Neural Network, you will discover the theoretical and practical foundations of neural networks. You’ll learn about a range of important concepts, from data representation and non-linear activation functions to strategies for training deep neural networks.
And you’ll learn to apply these concepts when building your own neural network from scratch. You’ll also develop a working neural network in Python from scratch based on this foundation.
This book will start you on a journey of discovery, and help you to build your own neural network that is capable of classifying handwritten digits.
You will learn intermediate and advanced mathematics that is used in the field of machine learning. The book starts off at a gentle pace and gradually adds more and more complexity as it goes along, so there is something for everyone.
This book is for everyone interested in physics, mathematics, and programming. You don’t need any background in math or coding to enjoy it. And if you do have such a background, this book will still be a pleasant surprise: the ideas of neural networks are explained with elegant simplicity.
A mathematician would call these ideas “toys” — simple mathematical models which capture the essentials of a complex reality in a way that can be understood by anyone.
Neural networks in particular are a toy that is easy to play with using a computer, at different points in the book you will get your hands dirty and typeset your own neural network in Python.
Starting with a discussion of how a single neuron can be used to solve a problem, you will shortly see how multiple neurons can be linked together into a network that is capable of solving more complex problems.
To do this, it builds a series of increasingly complex networks before at last creating one that is capable of learning from our input data. Along the way, you’ll learn about numbers and different ways to represent them as well as the basics of probability theory without being burdened by complex mathematics.
You don’t have to have any special knowledge other than being familiar with basic secondary arithmetic — you don’t even have to know Python!
4. Managing Humans.
Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager – One of the best books you’ll ever read in your life.
It’s the story of our lives, isn’t it? We know we must lead; we want to lead, but we don’t know-how.
Michael Lopp’s long and windy road to manager has distilled a set of acerbic and profoundly human lessons he shares in this hilarious and always entertaining book.
Whether it’s hiring, firing, bug fixes, or performance reviews, the challenges he describes will be recognizable to anyone who has “perched precariously on the edge of Management.”
This book is for managers, engineers, founders, and even the occasional intern. It’s for people who aspire to lead others through code words or just their presence.
Managing Humans is filled with stories culled from Lopp’s experience as a manager in Silicon Valley startups and Fortune 50 companies.
This isn’t management theory; it’s the blood, sweat, befuddled serenity, terror, joy, headaches, successes, failures, flames, explosions, nights spent on the floor of his office trying to sort things out…all the emotions that come with building products and managing other people.
Written in Lopp’s signature style, an unapologetic mix of unflinchingly honest and darkly humorous prose, this collection of stories is at heart an examination of the highs, lows, pain points, fears, rivalries, triumphs, cock-ups, kindnesses, frustrations — and surprising joys — of the varied roles he’s played over two decades spent in the trenches of software development management.
Each story is intended to illuminate a facet of one elemental truth: managing humans is hard — and always will be.
Each tale contains an enduring lesson that imparts key principles of management — principles that are just as apt for making your way up the career ladder in a small startup as they are for reigning over a multinational corporate behemoth.
Though the price of the book may literally be high, it is worth buying if you want to learn about the corporate programming world and grow your career from just a team member to a team leader.
5. Clean Code.
Do you want your code to be clean…very clean? Do you want your code to be well designed, easy to understand, and free of bugs? Do you want to be a software craftsman?
Then read, Clean Code.
Robert “Uncle Bob” Martin has teamed up with his colleagues from Object Mentor to distill their best agile practice of cleaning code “on the fly” into a book that will instill within you the values of a software craftsman and make you a better programmer — but only if you work at it.
In the first chapter, Robert C. Martin states how daunting it can be for a new programmer to jump into the world of programming and writing code.
He gives a brief and detailed explanation of how and why development and programming are so difficult and messy. Throughout the course of the book, he mentions this over and over again — that we as developers can do better, we just need to work at it.
Mainly divided into three parts. The first describes the principles, patterns, and practices of writing clean code. The second part consists of several case studies of increasing complexity.
Each case study is an exercise in cleaning up code – of transforming a code base that has some problems into one that is sound and efficient.
The third part is the payoff: a single chapter containing a list of heuristics and “smells” gathered while creating the case studies.
The result is a knowledge base that describes the way you think when you write, read, and clean code. This book will help you to write code that is clear, easy to read, easy to maintain, and—most importantly—easy to change.
Being a good programmer isn’t about syntax, it’s about how you think. It’s about your approach to problems, systems, and solutions.
It’s about whether you care about the craft of programming. It’s about whether you are clean or dirty. This book will equip you with the attitudes, knowledge, techniques, tools, and practices that make up “The Clean Coder.”
Whether you’re a new software developer or an experienced one, whether you’re new to the world of development, haven’t left it in years, or are thinking of changing careers, this book is for you.
Though written with software developers in mind, its lessons apply to any technical craftsman who works long hours at a difficult job.
Far beyond simple coding best practices, The Clean Coder is about principles, patterns, and disciplines that can make your work — and your life — richer and more rewarding in every way.
Based on nearly four decades of combined personal and professional experience, The Clean Coder offers valuable lessons (and laughs) for software developers at every level of experience.
Martin’s approach to software development draws not only from traditional approaches, but also from the latest trends in education, sports training, psychology, art, music, and even “extreme programming.”
Beginning with development basics such as source control management and static analysis tools, you’ll learn what it means to be a true software craftsman.
He also explains the complex internal politics of software projects so you can manage office politics to protect your time and productivity. The Clean Coder will help you strengthen your skills by improving your attitude toward writing more cleaner codes.
7. Coders at Work.
Instead of focusing on the business aspects of programming (marketing, sales, company building), Coders at Work focuses on techniques and technologies that programmers use to solve problems. Each chapter is an interview conducted by Peter Seibel with one noteworthy programmer.
Seibel makes Coders at Work an engaging read with his direct questions about coding virtuosity. The intelligent reflections each programmer contributes in return make the coders in Coders at Work more accessible to members of the lay public, in whom they serve as inspiring role models…
This book offers glimpses into the lives of programmers who are pushing the envelope on what is possible in software.
Seibel’s interviews are interesting not only because they are about how some of today’s most creative minds actually go about their work, but also because they shed new light on important aspects of programming itself.
It is the first book to offer an inside look at the professional lives of some of our industry’s most important programmers, revealing the roots of their creativity, the influences that started them on their careers, and the tricks of their trade. This book is about the craft of programming and its masters.
It’s a must-read for beginners especially school or college students or coding internees.
That’s it for my list of best programming books to read this year.
With the rapid change in the world, many of us are seeking answers on how to learn to code and how to improve coding skills. With that quest, there is no better way than reading some of the best programming books of the year.
Here is a final summary of my top picks:
- The Self-Taught Programmer.
- The Pragmatic Programmer.
- Make Your Own Neural Network.
- Managing Humans.
- Clean Code.
- The Clean Coder.
- Coders at Work.
So, which programming books you have read? Which one is your favorite? Are there other books that I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments.
Read more on ArghyaDas.com: To dig deeper into the python programming language, check out my guide on the best python books to read. And, to dive into java, read my guide on the best java books. And if you carry an interest in the cyber security field, check out my guide on the best hacking books.