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Simon Barker
Simon Barker

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5 Best books for software developers

The best books for software developers is a hard list two write, there are so many excellent books for software developers across so many domains that it's almost hard to find any bad books. That being said there are some clear standouts that people hold in very high regard and they are books that all software developers should read at least once, if not many times, in their career.

So, if you're looking for top books for software developers to improve your skills and knowledge, no matter where you are in your career, then here are the 5 books that have had the most meaningful impact on my career as a software developer.

1. The Phoenix Project

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Learn DevOps in this fun fiction book, it’s a really enjoyable book even before you consider all the great lessons it teaches around DevOps and how you modernize an old and failing system to become a positive force for a business.

Follow our intrepid new head of IT operations as he navigates a disastrous release, gets the teams work in progress under control and learns the 3 ways of DevOps from a strange, almost mystical outsider. 10/10, I have recommended it many friends and colleagues and all have enjoyed it, even those that aren't software developers.

2. Clean Code

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As relevant today as the day it first came out learn about Bob Martin's career and how he has improved his developer skills through multiple companies and projects. Some of these ideas are now mainstays in the software developer industry and many developers have adopted his practices to great success.

My particular favorite suggestion is having known sections of code that you can produce on demand that can be used as daily practice, he calls them Code Katas and they can help get you into the coding mood when you are perhaps struggling to get going.

3. The Unicorn Project

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Sibling to The Phoenix Project that happens roughly in parallel. This focuses on how a developer, new to a failing project, begins to get a handle on things. Our senior developer uses automation, functional programming and strong team work and collaboration to set up new systems and upgrade legacy code to support the future growth of the company.

Software developers of any level will appreciate the problems that she has to deal with and some of it might ring a little too close to home. Another page turner, although much more specific to software development than The Phoenix Project.

4. The Imposters Handbook

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Delightful summaries of CS concepts for every level of software developer. I'm self taught and so, like every self taught software developer, I have some gaps in my knowledge that is considered standard for people who have done a computer science degree.

If you want to get a high level understanding of the concepts taught on a software developer focussed degree then this book can form the cornerstone of that. Written by a self taught developer who set out to fill in his own blanks, this is an enjoyable book that will make you a better software developer.

5. The Pragmatic Programmer

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If you've ever heard the terms "Rubber Ducking" or "DRY" when talking to other software developers and wondered where those terms came from then this is the place. This book is probably one of the most famous and iconic books on software development. This book is a series of tips and examples collated together for you to dip in and out of throughout your career.


There we have it, the 5 books for software developers that have had the most impact on my career. If you are starting your journey to becoming a software developer or perhaps you are already in a software developer role and looking at how to get ahead then these books are the best places to set your career in the right direction.

Note: some of these links are affiliate links and if you purchase the book I may get a small commission, which is pretty awesome and a great way of supporting what I do at All The Code, joining my newsletter is another great way to support me 😄

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