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If you are a Java programmer and are wondering what to read to improve your knowledge of Java or become a better Java developer, then you have come to the right place.
In this article, I am going to share some of the best Java books ever written. These books have withstood the test of time, becoming more and more relevant as the years go by.
It doesn't matter if you read them in 2018 or plan on reading them in 2019, you will always have a lot to learn and that's why I think they are the greatest Java books of all time.
Personally, I am a big fan of reading books. I have hundreds of books and eBooks in my library. When I was young, I read a lot of comics, including Super Commando Dhruv, who was one of my favorite characters because of the scientific theme in his stories and how he usually defeats his more powerful enemies without any superpower and just by using his intelligence, acumen, and simple knowledge of scientific facts.
My passion for books continued when I became a programmer. The first Java book I read, apart from textbooks in college, was Head First Design Pattern. This book completely changed my knowledge of Java and understanding of object-oriented programming.
Until then, I didn't understand the real use of the interface. To me, they look useless, because you can't write code to do anything there. But, after reading the book, I realized how awesome they are in terms of reducing the coupling between different parts of your program.
From that point, I have read many programming books, mostly related to Java. Today, I am going to share the 10 best Java books that every Java developer should read. Even if some knowledge is out-dated, most of the stuff you learn will help build upon your knowledge and a lifetime career. Btw, I'll get paid if you buy any of these books or any of my recommended course.
Without further ado, here is my list of some of the most popular and important books for Java programmers.
If you have been doing Java programming for 2 to 3 years, then it's a good chance that you have read these books already. But, if you haven't, now is the best time to read them.
I am 100% sure that You will not regret investing your time and money on these books because what you will learn is worth much more than and last for years to come.
There should not be any surprise here. Effective Java by Joshua Bloch is hands down best Java book ever. This is a definite must-read book for Java programmers of any experience level. You will learn so much about Java and its API then you could imagine.
The fact that Joshua Bloch himself is the author of several key Java classes and API, like
java.lang and Java Collection framework, is enough reason to read this book. Along with that, his writing style is also fantastic.
You can read this book on a beach, while traveling, or just at your desk. It's awesome. There is no doubt that you would emerge as better Java programmer after reading this book.
And the best thing is that a new edition of Effective Java is available now, which covers Java 7, 8, and 9. There cannot be a better time to read this book.
Another timeless classic for Java programmers is Clean Code. As the title suggests, it teaches you to write better code, which is such a difficult thing to learn.
To be honest, it's easy to learn Java, but difficult to write better Java code which uses strong OOP principles and that's where this book helps.
Similar to Joshua Bloch, Robert C. Martin, also known as Uncle Bob, is an excellent author and shares a lot of his experience as a software developer, teaching you various programming techniques and practices that help a lot in your day-to-day job as a programmer.
If you follow Clean Code, there is also a course on Pluarlsight called Clean Code: Writing Code for Humans By Cory House which effectively complements this book.
Btw, you would need a Pluralsight membership to get access this course, which cost around $29 per month or $299 annually (14% discount).
If you don't have Pluralsight membership, I encourage you to get one because it allows you to access their 5000+ online courses on all latest topics like front-end and back-end development, machine learning etc.
They also provide a 10-day free trial without any commitment, which is a great way to not just access this course for free but also to check the quality of courses before joining Pluralsight.
Multithreading and concurrency is an essential part of Java programming. There is no better book than Brian Goetz's Java Concurrency in Practice to learn and master this tricky topic.
Even though the book only covers Java 5, it's still relevant and must-read books for any serious Java developer.
Some of you may find that some of the sections are a bit difficult to understand, especially sections 3.5.1 through 3.5.6, And if that's the case, I suggest you go through the Extreme Java --- Concurrency Performance course by Dr. Heinz Kabutz. This will help you to better digest and comprehend those topics.
Good knowledge of OOP and design patterns are important for writing any Java application. Head First Design Patterns is the best book for learning to do that.
As I have said before, this was one of the first books I ever read on Java, apart from textbooks. After reading this book, I was very impressed.
This is the book that taught me why Composition is better than Inheritance and how you can change runtime behavior of a class without touching the already tried and tested code.
You might think that it's just another old book, but you don't need to worry, an updated copy that covers Java SE 8 was released a couple of years ago.
If you are serious about learning design patterns in Java, this is the book you should read!
The Design Pattern Library course on Pluralsight is also a nice resource to get yourself familiar with essential design patterns in Java and object-oriented programming. You can follow that course along with this book to get the best of both the worlds.
Sorry, but I have to include one Spring book, Spring in Action, in this list of classic books for Java programmers. Spring is the most popular Java framework ever and this is the best book to learn about the Spring framework, but --- to be honest --- this book is much more than a Spring book.
After reading the 4th Edition of this book, I realized so much about Java and writing better code that I can't begin to explain.
The books take a topic, e.g. JDBC, and explain where JDK went wrong and how Spring corrects that mistake, e.g. SQLException, a one-size-fits-all exception that says something is wrong but not exactly what is wrong or how to deal with that.
Like Josuha Bloch and Uncle Bob, Craig Walls is another great author and you will learn much more than just Spring by reading this book.
Great news is that now the 5th Edition of Spring in Action is also available, one of the books in my reading list.
Btw, if your goal is to learn Spring, I also suggest you join a great online course like Spring Framework 5: Beginner to Guru along with this book. You will learn quickly and better than many developers, who tries to learn by self.
Automation testing is an important skill. For developers, it all starts with unit testing. Java has been blessed to have the JUnit from the start, but just knowing the library doesn't make you a professional programmer who can write tests.
It takes much more than knowing a unit testing library, like JUnit or Mockito, and that's where this book helps. If you are serious about code quality and writing unit, integration, and automation test, Test Driven is the book to read in 2018.
If we talk about libraries, JUnit and Mockito are must for any Java developers. If you are not familiar with them, I suggest you go through this JUnit and Mockito Crash Course along with the above book to master the art of unit testing in Java.
Another aspect of becoming a better Java developer is knowing about JVM, Garbage collection, and performance tuning.
Even though it only covers until JDK 7, you will learn a lot about performance tuning and JVM in general, which totally justifies the time and money you will spend on this book.
How many of you started learning Java by reading this book? Well, I did. Just after I came to know about Head First Design Pattern, I also found this book, Head First Java, and I really enjoyed reading it. I learned a lot of Java concepts and many of my misconceptions were also corrected.
Though many feel this is an out-of-date book, I still feel its a great book for anyone just starting with Java because of its unique style and content.
Btw, If you like online courses and looking for some of the best Java courses to start your journey then The Java MasterClass on Udemy is simply the most up-to-date and the best course to start with.
Here is another "Head First" book in the list of the greatest Java books. Yup, they are simply awesome.
It actually complements Head First Design Patterns by explaining the techniques of object-oriented programming and design.
The most important technique that I learned from this book was coding for interfaces and how to encapsulate what changes. This book simply changed how I write Java code.
If you like courses, SOLID Principles of Object-Oriented Design by Steve Smith on Pluralsight is great and you can follow that along this book for better understanding of object-oriented design principles.
If you ever need a comprehensive Java book, this should be it. Even though the title says Java: A Beginner's Guide, it's one of the most complete books for learning Java.
Sir Herbert Schildt has also done a commendable job in keeping the book up-to-date, e.g. the 7th Edition of this book now covers Java 9.
Though, I don't know how he is going to keep this book up-to-date going forward, since Java's new 6-month release cycle which started with Java 10.
Btw, they have released a supplement to cover JDK 10 new features. I think that would be the way going forward.
There you go! These are some of the best books for Java programmers. If you are a passionate Java programmer, there is a good chance that you have already read most of these books.
But, if you haven't, then this year may be just the right time to read these books. They are absolutely awesome. You can choose the latest version of the book wherever possible, e.g. Effective Java 3rd Edition or the 7th Edition of Java: A Beginner's Guide.
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Thanks, You made it to the end of the article ... Good luck with your Java Programming adventure. It's certainly not going to be easy, but by going through these books, you will get some useful experience.
If you like this article, then please share with your friends and colleagues, and don't forget to follow javinpaul on Twitter!
P.S. --- If you like online courses and looking for some of the best Java courses to start your journey then The Java MasterClass on Udemy is the best course to start with.