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10 Books to Improve Coding Skills in 2024

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Hello devs, Coding is one of the most essential skills for programmers, so much so that they are commonly referred as coder also, and if you want to survive as a programmer, you must improve your coding skill.

In the past, I have shared best courses to learn Coding as well as Refactoring and in this article, I will share best books you can read to take your coding and programming skill to next level.

Gone are the days when you can get a software development job without having you write a single line of code and then somehow survives in the role by doing support, coordination, and other non-coding activities.

Today, Companies, both big and small, are increasingly testing the coding skills of candidates before hiring. It's widespread for programmers to pass a coding test before a telephonic round of interview.

Some of the companies even hire websites like HackerRank, CoderPad, and online platform to conduct coding interviews to check the coding skill of potential candidates, many others also give candidates to take home coding tests. In short, companies have a lot of focus on the coding expertise of potential hires.

This may be the result of several criticisms about how programming interviews are different then actual jobs. For example, In the past, people complain a lot that you can become a programmer without knowing programming and a non-programmer can also get a programming job because he just needs to remember theoretical questions like the difference between an array and linked list or some technical problems, like reverses a linked list and all done.

Now, it's not that easy. You need to solve a more complex problem than finding a loop in a linked list or designing a vending machine. You not only have to write proper code but also unit tests.

The interviewer also focuses on your ability to write production quality code, like whether you are validating inputs or doing proper error handling or not, especially if you are writing APIs or doing integration work.

To overcome this challenge and improve your coding skills, you also need to put a lot of effort from your side, and there is no better way to do it than by reading some books, which helps you to write better code.

In this article, I am going to share some of those titles which have helped in the past, and I still read them whenever I get some time. Btw, if you nowadays prefer online courses over books then you can also check out courses like the Clean Code by Maximillian Schwarzmuller on Udemy to learn practical coding tips.

best Udemy course to improve coding skill

My Favorite Coding Books for Programmers of All Levels

Here is my list of some of the best books every coder should read. These books will not only help you to improve your coding skills but also teach you how to write code, which are both easier to read and maintain.

These books are also independent of the programming language, but you will learn more if you choose the book where examples are given in your favorite programming language.

For example, Clean Code is excellent for Java programmers because examples are given in Java while Code Complete is best for C/C++ programmers because examples and advice follow C/C++ programming language.

1. Clean Code

One of the best books to learn principles of object-oriented programming, e.g. SOLID principles. This is the book that taught me how to write professional code, like code, which can be read and maintained by a fellow programmer.

One of the must-read books for coders of all levels. If you haven't read it yet, this should be the first book you read this year.

If you want, you can also combine this with an online course for better learning. Just to let you know that Mosh Hamedani, a famous Udemy instructor also has a course on the Art of Writing Clean code, I found it quite awesome a good companion for this book, you may want to check that out, btw examples are in the C# programming language.

best book to learn clean coding

2. Code Complete

Another classic book on coding by Steve McConnell. This book is similar to the above text, but it's mainly for C and C++ developers while Clean Code is for Java developers.

There was a time when startups give this book on every new hire, and that was probably the best thing I have seen in my career while working for startups.

If you need a course Learn Advanced Modern C++ course by James Raynard on Udemy is also a great course to take your C++ coding skills to next level

best coding book for C++ developers

3. Pragmatic Programmer

There is a saying that if you learn from your own experience then you can only learn a few things and you have to pay a higher cost, but if you learn from other's mistakes, you can learn a lot without paying a heavy price.

This book will teach you what it takes to become a professional programmer; basically, it will turn you from an amateur coder to a professional developer.

If you need a course to join along with reading this book, Clean Code with Java: Learn Simple Design, Refactoring & TDD course by Ranga, fellow Java blogger and one of Udemy's best instructor course is definitely worth checking.

best book for software engineers

4. Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code

Another classic book on improving your coding skills. Refactoring is probably the most critical practice of improving the code quality of the existing project, and Martin Fowler has given so many useful techniques to make your current code better without breaking it.

Even though most of the practices are already adopted by significant IDEs like Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA, it's still a great book to learn Refactoring.

If you need some help I also suggest you take a look at the Refactoring Java with the IntelliJ IDEA course on Udemy which shows some hands-on examples and live refactoring or Java code.

best book to learn Refactoring in depth

5. Test-Driven

The journey of good code starts with unit testing, which is also a primary trait of a good programmer. A code with unit tests is much better than the code without it because you can always refactor and change the code with confidence.

Those unit tests will ensure that existing functionality doesn't break, but unit testing is hard. Just knowing JUnit is not enough; this is where Test Driven helps. It teaches you practical techniques of unit testing your code.

If you are serious about code quality and writing unit, integration, and automation test, this is the book to read and if you need some more help and active learning, you can also joinLearn TDD in 24 hours course on Udemy to get the best of both worlds.

best Testing books for experienced developers

best book to learn unit testing and TDD

6. Working Effectively with Legacy Code

Every programmer has to work with legacy code at some point in their career, and that would probably be the most challenging time as well. The legacy code is those who are running in production, but you don't know much about them.

There is no documentation, and over-engineered code makes it hard to change the system. They have dependency all around, and whenever you add a new feature or tweak a setting, it breaks in production. This book gives you practical tips to deal with such code and find your way around.

And, if you need a course, Python Best Practices: Learn to Write Clean Python Code is another good course to learn how to write cleaner code using Python programming language.

best coding book for experienced developers

7. Code Simplicity

One of the famous principles of software development is KISS, yup Keep it Simple Stupid. Why? Because something simple is easier to understand and change, and there is only one constant in software development, change.

A code that is not simple is hard to understand and change, and much more error-prone. This book teaches you practical techniques to keep your code simple.

best coding book for programmers

8. Beautiful Code

Another great book on coding style and process. This book explains what goes into the programmer's mind while writing code and gives you some tips and tricks to keep your account in the right shape while writing code, like don't write code at 3 AM in the morning,

Don't write code on Saturday or Christmas week. These are the code you end up fixing the whole year.

best coding books for beginners

6.The Art of Readable Code

This is a great book to learn simple and practical techniques for writing better code. Some of you might ask me what the better system is mean here? Well, a better code is something easy to change and understand, i.e. it's much more readable than some secret code that does the same job.

Remember, you don't just write code for the compiler; you write it for a fellow programmer or teammate, which has to maintain it; hence, readability is of utmost importance.

best coding book for beginners

10. Dreaming in Code

The full title of this book is "Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software". The title itself says about this book. If you want to learn from other coders' experience, then this is the book to read.

best coding books for experienced developers

That's all about some of the best book covers of all levels should read. These books will not only help you to improve your coding skills but also help you to develop that coding sense, which tells you something is wrong when you are writing code. Books are good, but if you need more help, I suggest you check out theClean Code: Writing Code for Humans course by Cory House from Pluralsight.

It's also free for 10-days as Pluralsight offers a 10-day free trial and effectively compliments whatever you learn from reading this book. Btw, the most crucial advice to improve coding is to code, just code every day.

Other Programming and Tech Articles you may like

Thanks for reading this article, if you like these books, then please share them with your friends and colleagues as well. If you have any questions or feedback, then please drop a note.

P. S. --- If you like this article and hungry for more, check out my post 10 Things Every Programmer Should Learn, I am sure you will find it interesting.

Top comments (4)

sahilwebasha profile image

I wanted to take a moment to sincerely appreciate your recent blog post. It was not only informative and engaging but also provided valuable insights on this topic. Your expertise and thorough research were clearly evident, making it effortless for readers like myself to grasp and explore the subject further. The passion you have for the topic shines through your writing, and I eagerly anticipate reading more of your insightful posts in the future.

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richardflorance1 profile image
Richard Florance

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philipjohnbasile profile image
Philip John Basile

I bookmarked this :)

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Abror Khalilov

The same here :)