Top 10 Books Every Programmer Should Read

I’ve been interested in getting back into coding and have asked a lot of friends about what I should read. Here is a great reference for any of you who are wondering the same.

1. Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

  • Even bad code can function. But if code isn’t clean, it can bring a development organization to its knees. Every year, countless hours and significant resources are lost because of poorly written code. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Noted software expert Robert C. Martin presents a revolutionary paradigm with Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship .


2. The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master

  • The Pragmatic Programmer cuts through the increasing specialization and technicalities of modern software development to examine the core process–taking a requirement and producing working, maintainable code that delights its users. It covers topics ranging from personal responsibility and career development to architectural techniques for keeping your code flexible and easy to adapt and reuse


3. Code Complete

  • Widely considered one of the best practical guides to programming, Steve McConnell s original CODE COMPLETE has been helping developers write better software for more than a decade. Now this classic book has been fully updated and revised with leading-edge practices and hundreds of new code samples illustrating the art and science of software construction. Capturing the body of knowledge available from research, academia, and everyday commercial practice, McConnell synthesizes the most effective techniques and must-know principles into clear, pragmatic guidance. No matter what your experience level, development environment, or project size, this book will inform and stimulate your thinking and help you build the highest quality code.


4. Head First Design Patterns

  • At any given moment, somewhere in the world someone struggles with the same software design problems you have. You know you don’t want to reinvent the wheel (or worse, a flat tire), so you look to Design Patterns–the lessons learned by those who’ve faced the same problems. With Design Patterns, you get to take advantage of the best practices and experience of others, so that you can spend your time on…something else. Something more challenging. Something more complex. Something more fun.


5. Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code

  • As the application of object technology—particularly the Java programming language—has become commonplace, a new problem has emerged to confront the software development community. Significant numbers of poorly designed programs have been created by less-experienced developers, resulting in applications that are inefficient and hard to maintain and extend. Increasingly, software system professionals are discovering just how difficult it is to work with these inherited, non-optimal applications. For several years, expert-level object programmers have employed a growing collection of techniques to improve the structural integrity and performance of such existing software programs. Referred to as refactoring, these practices have remained in the domain of experts because no attempt has been made to transcribe the lore into a form that all developers could use… until now. In Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Software, renowned object technology mentor Martin Fowler breaks new ground, demystifying these master practices and demonstrating how software practitioners can realize the significant benefits of this new process.


6. The Art of UNIX Programming

  • This text reveals the software design secrets of the original Unix designers, showing how they produce software that is fast, portable, reuseable, modular and long-lived. Luminaries including Brian Kernighan, David Korn and Henry Spencer contribute to the book.


7. Working Effectively with Legacy Code

  • In this book, Michael Feathers offers start-to-finish strategies for working more effectively with large, untested legacy code bases. This book draws on material Michael created for his renowned Object Mentor seminars, techniques Michael has used in mentoring to help hundreds of developers, technical managers, and testers bring their legacy systems under control.


8. The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering

  • Few books on software project management have been as influential and timeless as The Mythical Man-Month. With a blend of software engineering facts and thought-provoking opinions, Fred Brooks offers insight for anyone managing complex projects. These essays draw from his experience as project manager for the IBM System/360 computer family and then for OS/360, its massive software system. Now, 20 years after the initial publication of his book, Brooks has revisited his original ideas and added new thoughts and advice, both for readers already familiar with his work and for readers discovering it for the first time.


9. How to Think Like a Cmputer Scientist: Learning with Python

  • “Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manual” is a unique guide, offering techniques and practices for a more satisfying life as a professional software developer. In it, developer and life coach John Sonmez addresses a wide range of important “soft” topics, from career and productivity to personal finance and investing, and even fitness and relationships, all from a developer-centric viewpoint.


10. Soft Skills: The Computer Scientist Life Manual 

  • “Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manual” is a unique guide, offering techniques and practices for a more satisfying life as a professional software developer. In it, developer and life coach John Sonmez addresses a wide range of important “soft” topics, from career and productivity to personal finance and investing, and even fitness and relationships, all from a developer-centric viewpoint.

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Bonus: Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software 

  • Capturing a wealth of experience about the design of object-oriented software, four top-notch designers present a catalog of simple and succinct solutions to commonly occurring design problems. Previously undocumented, these 23 patterns allow designers to create more flexible, elegant, and ultimately reusable designs without having to rediscover the design solutions themselves.

 

What do you think of this list? Am I missing any of your favorites?

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