5 Books Every Software Developer Should Read
Readers are leaders, books are surely one of the greatest sources of wisdom and knowledge. However, unfortunately, there are very few people who have it in their custom to read books on a regular basis. A developer reading books is a rather even rarer occurrence, with more focus being laid down on the internet search results to get their queries resolved and concepts explained.
As technology travels faster than any time in history, new programming languages, platforms and tools emerge every few months, and therefore a programmer should read more than code itself.
The best part about reading books is that tons of trees have already been chopped down and volume written on the topics you’re most likely interested in. You can simply pick up a masterpiece and leverage the extensive research done by the author to effectively get hold of the main topic and all related aspects, or sub-topics.
It takes years to write a bestseller, so no wonder there’s a wealth of information within. Here's a list of top 5 books every programmer must read:
1. The Pragmatic Programmer
A well-compiled and explained book! It’s not your regular programming book flaunting code, code and some more code. In fact, it’s has little to do with any particular programming language: as the abundant knowledge shared in this masterpiece applies to all programming languages.
The insights provided in this book cover a number of interesting domains such as "tracer bullets," an array of exploratory programming, collection of writing code that writes code, separating views from models, and tips on developing a great team, avoiding duplicate knowledge and managing expectations, etc. In-a-nutshell: it’s a complete bible for any aspiring programmer.
This book is destined to transform your coding habits, along with revamping your personality as a developer. It is packed with practical advice on fostering the best of both as a coder and a professional in the industry.
Also included is a brief pamphlet that summarizes important programming tips, tricks and checklists.
2. Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
Ever reviewed someone's code and went like "Oh My God, what is this?" Rest assured, that someone hasn't ever turned a chapter of Clean Code.
A purely monumental book dedicated to software craftsmanship. The comprehensive book not just tells you how to write a good code, but also provides an efficient way to approach and manage software development. It is, beyond doubt, good enough to change your viewpoints at work.
The book explains the principles, patterns, as well as practices of writing a clean code. Plus, the developers also get to read numerous case studies aimed at cleaning up code, which really comes handy for a programmer while actually coding at work.
Note that Java is used to cite all examples in this book; however, the learnings can effectively be applied to almost any programming language.
3. Working Effectively with Legacy Code
At some point in time, we all have to work with something mostly dislike - for most developers, it’s working with legacy code. There’s hardly anything more real in any work than legacy code.
How to modify legacy code? How to detect parts of the written code to refactor? How to break different dependencies between the code you want to refactor? How to ensure sure the new code written is doing things as expected? How to move step by step to refactor legacy code?
They are some of the key questions this brilliant book resolves. The essence of the book in-a-nutshell is like, "Write unit tests, refactor code, ensure tests are passing."
4. Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual
Again, this book has only little to do with programming. However, every developer should read it. A masterpiece on how to manage "other" aspects of a programmer’s life. It is about everything else there could be in your life other than coding – It is about your mind, body, career, life, and even – your soul.
The author, himself, follows the techniques enlisted in this great book and says there’ve been great outcomes of it. His website reveals that he was able to quit his job in his 30's itself. The author has largely culminated the experiences of his life in several finely divided brief chapters on Productivity, Finances, Fitness, Career, Marketing yourself, Learning and Spirit.
Each of the chapters in this book is brief and crisp enough to be read easily on your coffee break, and that’s what makes it a purely light read. You will sure be a much happier and satisfied individual if you follow the recommendations given in this book, not just as a developer, but as your complete individual self.
5. Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction
A big read, a must read for everyone willing to explore programming constructs and best practices. With 960 pages, it’s surely an encyclopedia! But then, don’t get discouraged by the length of it, you can easily consume it at your own fine pace. And i the end, you’ll surely appreciate yourself for having gone through it.
The book explains each aspect of software development in detail. Practical suggestions are available on everything spanning from variable method, class naming, code structure, code formatting, scaling all the way up to team handling and software development project management.
A wealth of additional material and references covering several specific topics are included in this book and they are certainly worth a read, too. Most software developers would have not read this book most likely, and therefore you’ll certainly have an edge over others if you read this one properly.
Any leading custom software development company would surely do well to recommend these book to their employees, as it will help them polish their skills and groom their talent, coherently providing a productivity boost to the company.
Even giant IT players, and legends, the likes of Bill Gates and Zuke are avid readers and dedicate a minimum of 5 hours to reading on a weekly basis, the more you do the better you get. Grab a copy of one of these gems of books today.
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