Top 10 basic books for developers

Improvement in development is not only to write clean code, but also reading about how to create it.

That’s why we made a selection of  Top 10 Developer Books we’d like to share with you.

1. Cracking the Coding Interview 

We recommend this book to those who wish to prepare thoroughly for an interview.
The author, G. Lakman McDowell, an experienced software engineer, was both an interviewer and a candidate. It will teach you to find hidden details about issues, to break up problems into small pieces, and to improve learning skills.

2. Code Complete 

This Steve McConnell’s book is one of those books that every programmer has probably read at least once.

It is a comprehensive analysis of software design, well written and demanded by the industry. The book covers topics such as design, code writing, debugging, and testing.

This book is likely to be the most profitable investment for developers with professional experience from one to three years. But this edition is also recommended to newcomers, as it helps start software development.

The main conclusion is that developers must manage complexity and write code that is easy to support and read to themselves and others.

3. Clean Code 

Robert Martin’s book “Clean Code” is one of the most popular books in programming. It was written to train software engineers in the principles of writing pure software code. 

The book contains many examples of how to refactor the code to make it more readable and supported. 

But it is worth taking into account that the edition is aimed specifically at Java. Although some of the templates and techniques extend to general programming and other languages, the book’s main audience is Java developers.

4. Refactoring 

The second edition of Martin Fowler’s book explains what refactoring really is, as did the first edition, released 20 years ago. After reading the book you will find answers to the following questions:

  • Why would I refactor my code?
  • How can I recognize a code that needs refactoring?
  • How can I successfully refactorize my code?

By reading this book, you will understand the process and general principles of refactoring, which can be applied immediately to your code. You will also learn to detect «issues» in the code of your teammate that require refactoring.

5. Head First Design Patterns 

This book, with four authors, teaches you the design templates and best practices used by other developers to create functional, reusable, and flexible software. 

If you want to know about things like factories, singletons, introductions of dependencies, etc., this book is a great choice. Examples are written in Java, so it would be nice to know this or any other object-oriented language.

6. Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture 

Another great book by Martin Fowler is about corporate apps development. After a short guide, Martin proposes more than 40 templates as a solution to common problems in corporate application development. 

The book contains a huge number of UML visualizations and examples of code written in Java or C#.

By reading the book, you will be able to divide corporate applications into levels, know basic approaches to business logic organization, use MVC templates to organize web applications and manage parallel processing of multiple transactions.

However, the book is quite old, so modern concepts such as REST, cloud, or JSON are not mentioned. This is good material to study.

7. Working Effectively with Legacy Code 

In the book, the author offers strategies to deal with large, uncovered tests of legacy-code bases. Of course you will say “It is 2021. Legacy code is no longer a problem because we have clean, supported code and microservices.” 
But we assure you that this is not fully true. Legacy code remains one of the most difficult problems for many companies.

By reading this book, you will be able to understand the general mechanisms of software changes, such as adding features, fixing bugs, optimizing performance, and improving design. 

In addition, you will learn how to prepare inherited code for testing and where to change it.

The book contains examples written in Java, C++, C and C #, as well as tips on how to work with legacy code that is not object-oriented.

8. The Clean Coder 

Another book by Robert Martin that teaches the techniques, practices and tools of real mastery in software. It provides practical advice on project appraisal, code writing, refactoring and testing.

By reading this book, you will learn to cope with conflicts, difficult timings and irrational managers; 

Learn how to fight constant pressure and avoid burnout; learn how to manage your time, how to write the code quality and help to create an environment in which developers and teams can grow.

This book is pretty popular. It contains many stories from life and hypothetical conversations, which in most cases lead to the conclusion that the developer is ultimately responsible for what he does. 

Sometimes such passages go too far: in one of them, the developer whose code caused the error is asked to compensate the company for the financial losses.

Therefore, we advise you to read this book carefully and with a bit of criticism.

9. Introduction to Algorithms 

This edition –  is a mandatory guide to algorithms of various types. The book is very broad and is suitable for both beginners and professionals. The material is clear and explains the essence of the issue. But at the same time, the book is not quite simple.

It covers topics such as data structures, fast algorithms, polynomial algorithms for difficult-to-solve problems, graph theory, computational geometry, and more. Although the book contains several examples of a pseudo-doc, it is more “theoretical”.

10. The Pragmatic Programmer 

It’s one of the most serious books. The publication is full of both technical and professional practical advice, which will help you to work on various projects, as well as to pump your skills and become a better developer.

The book is very actual even in 2021, especially the latest edition. Here the author analyzes what it means to be a modern developer, exploring various topics ranging from personal responsibility and career development to architectural techniques.

When you read the book, you will understand what lifelong learning is and how important it is; learn how to write flexible, adaptable and dynamic code, how to solve competition problems, how to stand up for security, how to test “ruthlessly and efficiently”, and much more.