Best Books for Programmers (Updated 2021)


There are many books out there for programmers and no one can read every book out there. There are many more articles about programming books written too, but it is hard to find a good filtered list with books for programmers. In this article, I wanted to make a list that will help everyone to find particular books about programming topics that they are interested in to read. I selected this particular list of books not just to improve your coding skills and make you a better programmer, but would also help you to grow as a person in every way.

I have sorted the list by the types of books that I think are the most important. In this list about best books for programmers, you will find books that are foundational to topics in computer science that will introduce you to the major programming concepts, will improve the way you think and your problem-solving ability. You will also find books that will help you write clean code and structure your code greatly. On the list, you will find books that will help you to advance your career as a programmer. And lastly, you will find books that will help you to grow as a person and to achieve the goals you want to achieve in your life. Many of the books listed are also used as textbooks in many computer science and software engineering universities around the world.

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Foundational Programming Books

These programming books are about foundations in programming, some of them are mainly used in universities are textbooks. For people that are coming from other fields into software development, they are highly recommended.


Introduction to Computing: Explorations in Language, Logic, and Machines

This is a programming book that will introduce you to many concepts in software development and computer science. For the examples, this book uses the Scheme programming language, a functional programming language that is a dialect of Lisp programming language. This book is used in many universities such as MIT as a textbook. If you have a hard time using functional programming you can check the next book.

Explorations in Computing: An Introduction to Computer Science and Python Programming

This book is a great alternative to the Introduction to Computing, as it uses the Python programming language. If you are not with a computer science background, this book is one of the great books to get started. Same as the first one it is used in many universities as a textbook to introduce you to the coding concepts. If you are an absolute beginner this book is highly recommended.

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs - 2nd Edition

If you have solid foundational in programming you should read this book because this book is a bit challenging, it deals with functional programming and especially if you are coming from other paradigms. This book was written for the introductory programming course at MIT. This book also has great examples that are worth solving, which on the end will make you a much better programmer in the way how you approach and solve problems.

Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software

This is the most iconic book about the design patterns, it is also well known for its popular name: The Gang of Four. With this book, you will become familiar with the most common design patterns that you will ever use. I consider this book a must-read for every programmer, but as it can be a bit hard for beginners. In the end, this book will make you a much better programmer.

Head First Design Patterns: A Brain-Friendly Guides

If you are a beginner and you find the previous book about design patterns a bit hard, this book is for you. With this book, you will much easier understand the design patterns and then go back to the classic one to improve the understanding. Or if you have read just the classic one, this book is still great to renew the understanding.

Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

I highly recommend this book, because this programming book is one of the best you will ever read and will completely change the way you write code. Clean Code deals with some of the concepts like naming, functions, formatting, comments, error handling but on a higher level. This is the book that every programmer must have it.

The Art of Computer Programming, Volumes 1-4A

With its four volumes, The Art of Computer Programming is one of the greatest books about Computer Science ever written. This book is state-of-the-art as Bill Gates once said, “If you think you’re a really good programmer… read Art of Computer Programming… You should definitely send me a resume if you can read the whole thing.” I still have not read this book but it is high on my priority list.

Algorithms and Data Structures Programming Books

These books for programmers are about improving the way you think and solving-problems, also with these books you will learn how to solve interviews whiteboard questions. Some of these books are also used in universities are textbooks. These books are highly recommended if your goal is to improve logic ability.


Introduction to Algorithms, 3rd Editions

This book is considered to be the best book for learning algorithms and data structures. With this book, you will not just learn all of the important algorithms that are asked on interviews but you will also greatly improve the problem-solving ability as a programmer. It is a great book to have it under your belt.

Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions

This book is one of the top-selling book for programmers on Amazon because it is simply great. In this programming book, you will find great interview pieces of advice that will help you not only to get the job you want but also to make you a better programmer overall. As you read the book do the exercises as well, if you master the exercises it will be hard not to pass a programming interview.

Architecture-Based Programming Books

Books in this section are great for extending the way on how you think from the bigger picture of problem-solving. Architectural based books make you see from another angle, on how to design the program.


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

With this book, you will learn how to create maintainable architecture that is based on domain modeling. It is not the easiest book to read but it worth the effort. After you read this book you will think differently about software development architecture. This book is also one of the most recommended books about software architecture.

Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture

For programming any kind of enterprise application this book is one of the top books in software architecture and is extremely useful to read, here you will learn how to analyze, design and build enterprise applications from scratch to production-ready. You will want to have this book in your collection also as a reference every time you design and build an enterprise application.

Refactoring to Patterns

Reading this book is not just a theory about design patterns, but it is focused on implementing them in practice. With this book, you will learn how to practically turn existing code into patterns and even how to move it out of patterns. If you are serious about design patterns it is a must-have book under your belt and into your collection for future reference.

Programming Language Related Programming Books

Here you will find books about learning programming languages, from the most popular one to the new kids on the block. With these books, you will not only learn another programming language like in youtube videos, but you will extend the way of thinking in a particular programming paradigm.


JavaScript: The Good Parts

If I have to choose just one book about JavaScript, that would be JavaScript: The Good Parts. With reading this book you will learn the core of the JavaScript programming language, and it will open you a door to the web development world. Although this book is missing some modern parts of the language it is still worth reading.

Thinking in Java (4th Edition)

This is the best book to learn Java programming language, and also maybe the best way to learn the object-oriented paradigm. This was the first book I have read about coding and I am still using this book as a reference about Java. I have written a special [*review*]( of this book if you want to learn more feel free to check it. I highly recommend you to get this book.

Effective Modern C++: 42 Specific Ways to Improve Your Use of C++11 and C++14

One more book that is focused on heavyweight programming language that ic C++. Effective Modern C++ is one of the best books for anyone who wants to learn C++. By reading this book, will improve you a lot as a programmer as you will learn object-oriented programming paradigm. It is a recommended book by many programmers for entering into the C++ world.

C# in Depth, 3rd Editions

This book about the C# programming language will make you dive deep into learning the language as its name says. It is mostly focused on the language itself instead of teaching you how to build applications. In other words, reading this book you will learn how to use various tools in the toolbox, but will not teach you how to build a house.

Learning Python: Powerful Object-Oriented Programming

Learning Python is a book that goes into tiny details about the language. It is a traditional book focused mostly on theory, and not a project-based book. So if you want to learn Python you can't be wrong with this book, it is good for beginners who start coding or even experienced developers who want to jump straight into the language.

Kotlin in Actions

Kotlin in Action is one of the best books about this young programming language which steps forward pretty quickly. With the Kotlin introduction to Android by Google a couple of years ago, this book has become most wanted if you plan to learn Kotlin. You will find the book also on the official Kotlin website ranked as the best book to learn the language.

Programming Elixir: Functional |> Concurrent |> Pragmatic |> Fun

If you want to dive into functional programming with Elixir, you are in right place. Reading this book will take you yo another level in the functional world and will shape the way you think and solve problems differently. Also, the Elixir programming language is on great rising trends like Kotlin with high job demand. Simply it is the best book about learning Elixir.

The Rust Programming Language

This book is the official book on Rust programming language, an open-source, community-developed systems programming language that runs blazingly fast, prevents segfaults, and guarantees thread safety. This book is a go-to guide written by members of the Rust team. This is one more book on rising trends, which worth reading.

The C Programming Language

This book is something I cannot skip, it is a legendary book about the C programming language, from the same authors which also designed and implemented the C language, as well as co-designing the Unix operating system. This book is regarded by many to be the authoritative reference on C programming language and with it, you will learn the language and also you will see how to program on the lower level which is very important for every programmer.

The Go Programming Language

This book will quickly get you started using Go effectively from the beginning, and by the end, which makes it the best book to learn Go programming language. Golang has become a lot popular lately with the rise of microservices in backend development. The Go programming language was completely designed by Google and it is worth learning it in the long run.

Soft Skills and Personal Development Programming Books

Lastly but not least important are the books that are targeting the improvement of firstly: the professional development of every programmer and the personal growth in the field of software development, and secondary: the soft skills not just about programmers but these books will help you to be successful in other fields of life.


The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master

This is a book about software engineering where does not present a systematic theory, but rather a collection of tips to improve the development process pragmatically. You will learn things like test, coordinate, release, debug, manage and support. The Pragmatic Programmer is a very influential book in the field of programming and it is used as a textbook in a lot of university courses.

The Clean Coder

This book is all about to make you a professional programmer, a lot of the developers will not like this book because it has some tough pieces of advice. But when we see that this book is from a Bob Marting (Uncle Bob) who is a veteran in the software developing industry, it says everything. You will found this book helpful in shaping your professional career and making decisions.

Soft Skills: The software developer's life manual

One more interesting book that will boost your soft skills greatly, it is everywhere on every list you will find out. This book will help you to improve from career to personal branding, blogging, learning, teaching, being productive, finances, and even a bit on fitness and relationships. If you lack soft skills and want to learn more about it, you can't be wrong with this book.

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Author: Aleksandar Vasilevski |