As a programmer, your life doesn’t have to be all about coding. You should also try to be an ardent book reader. For ages, books have remained to be a great source of knowledge. You will get new information not only about programming but also other things that can help you to be a better programmer. So, which books should I read? Here is a list of the 10 books that every programmer should strive to read.

Best Programming books to read

1. The Pragmatic Programmer

Just as the title says, this book will change your view and personality towards programming. It will tune you into becoming a better programmer. Funny enough, “The Pragmatic Programmer” does not focus on any particular programming language. Instead, the knowledge in it can be used for all the programming languages.

The book covers critical areas that any serious programmer should take seriously. They include exploratory programming, separating models from views, choosing the best design tools, team management, minimizing duplication among many other topics. The book will end up transforming both your personality and your coding habits.

2. Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

While the primary aim of coding is to come up with a solution that will run, are you proud of your code? Is it something that you will always yearn to look at? If the answer is no, consider getting the “Clean Code” book.

This is a handbook that will teach you the tricks and patterns of writing good and clean code. It will also teach you the best ways of approaching software development. The book gives practical examples of how to rewrite clean codes. Although the content of the book may appeal to Java programmers, most concepts in the book are applicable to other programming languages such as C++ and Python.

3. The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers

After reading the Clean Code, the next book that you should consider reading is the Clean Coder. It is ideal for someone who wants to view programming from a professional angle. It covers hot topics that are usually ignored by most professional programmers. They include:

  • What is a professional programmer means?
  • How to carry yourself as a professional programmer.
  • Time management tips for programmers.
  • How to resolve conflicts as programmers.
  • Tips for expanding your skills

The story-telling style of this book will make you yearn to read it. It will feel like the author is talking to you.

4. The Mythical Man-month: Essays on Software Engineering

Many in the software world tend to compare this book with the Bible. This could be because of its writing style and the issues that it talks about.

Basically, The Mythical Man-Month book covers important topics such as project management, software development, mistakes to avoid, software tools, quality controls, among others. It is a must-read book for someone who is aspiring to be a project manager in the software industry. The content of the book is delivered in the form of a collection of essays.

5. Working Effectively With Legacy Code

There are things that most programmers hate. One of them is working with legacy code. This is an executable code that no longer runs on the latest versions of the operating system. However, most programmers have no option but to work with this code. This book will equip you with the easiest tricks of working with legacy code.

You will learn how to identify parts of the legacy code and how to modify them. You will learn the basics of legacy code refactoring and how to use the new code that you have refactored.

6. Refactoring by Martin Fowler

It is not enough to write functional code. You need to ensure that the code works effectively to the optimum levels. The main goal of refactoring is to improve the nonfunctional attributes of a code. In this book, Martin Fowler takes time to teach you the principles and practices of code refactoring. He starts by explaining you the importance of refactoring and why every programmer should do it. From there, you will learn how to improve your codes. Here is a summary of the topics that are covered in the book:

  • Signs of flaws in your code
  • Logical structuring of classes and objects
  • Moving features from one object to another

You will also learn the effective tools that you can use for refactoring.

7. Head First Design Patterns

This is a friendly book that has minimal technical jargons. It contains doodles, pictures and other graphical material that are visually appealing. It approaches programming from a softer angle. It has done a good job in covering different design patterns that every programmer should know.

The book goes ahead to highlight the pros and cons of different design patterns. By knowing different patterns, you will be in a perfect position to create functional software.

8. Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction

This is an information-rich book that is useful to anyone who wants to get all the information about programming. You can easily confuse it with the programming encyclopedia as it has more than 900 pages. But, you don’t have to worry about the number of pages as you can read it at your own pace.

The author has tried to explain every important aspect of software development. There are also lots of references for those who would like to get more information.

9. Soft Skills: The Software Developer’s Life Manual

This is another important book that every programmer must read. Although it is not about programming, it will help to shape your life as a software developer. It covers other critical aspects of a developer’s life that most people overlook.

Some of the topics that the book addresses include finances, career, marketing, productivity, fitness, and spiritual development.

10. Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams

This is another book that is important to programmers despite the fact that it is not about programming. It is all about managing and even motivating programmers. The author highlights factors that can demotivate developers and provides solutions to these problems. It is a perfect book for managers who are managing a team of developers and programmers.

Even as you learn how to write actual code, take some time off and learn other things that are related to programming. The above are the 10 books that every programmer should read. Have you come across other books that are good for developers? Feel free to suggest them.


Cleophas Mulongo is a writer specializing in technology and internet marketing. He has a degree in Computer Science and has 5-year work experience.

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