7 Best Programming Books for Beginners

programming books

Programming is an incredibly useful job skill in the present and the future alike. However, learning to program can seem like an intimidating and insurmountable task. There are lots to know and with a competitive job market in that space, keeping up with new trends, languages and tactics is very important.

While learning to code through tutorials or trial and error is fine, there are also many great books that can help you learn to program. This article is going to go through a list of some of the best and most helpful programming books for beginners.

1. The Self-Taught Programmer


Written by a self-taught programmer who went on to work at eBay, this is a great book for any beginner interested in learning to program. The book is a roadmap that will guide you throughout your journey.

It will teach you how to code a program, learn to use tools, and how to learn the fundamentals and best practices. In addition to telling you how to program, this book will also teach you how to successfully become a professional.

The book will cover things many other teaching methods may not cover such as how to interview for a programming job and how to work with a team. The path to success is outlined very clearly within this book.

2. Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software


Code is the “language” of a computer and programming is writing that language. This book seeks to introduce people to the idea of coding and programming by using simple and understandable language systems.

It can help you understand the inner workings of a computer, and what the code you write is actually doing. So while it isn’t a traditional programming book in that sense, it is full of very important information.

Not only that, but the book is very fun and engaging to read, unlike many in this space that are dry. It even includes helpful illustrations to keep you on the right track. Whether you are very tech-savvy or not, this book should be able to be read, understood and enjoyed.

3. The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master


When just starting out, learning to program in a way you understand if paramount. That is where the Pragmatic Programmer does a great job. The book looks at things realistically and sensibly, without making it too technical or difficult.

The book looks at the very core of what goes into writing good code that can be supported over time. It touches on a lot of different concepts and practices that most programmers (both new and old) should use.

Many other topics are also covered in this book including how to be more productive, accuracy of your code and much more. It helps you achieve a strong understanding of the core principles of programming, in a very pragmatic way.

4. Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs


Written for an introductory programming course at the legendary MIT, this book is a strong part of any programmer’s foundation. It teaches you the fundamentals and basic concepts of coding and programming.

The book is not only a great read, but also includes a variety of different examples and exercises to challenge and educate the reader. The book focuses on the Scheme programming language and uses it, but the lessons learned in the book can be used along with any language.

It is a somewhat challenging book for a beginner, but if you take time with it, it can teach you many valuable and important things about programming. After reading this book and completing the various exercises, you will be a much better programmer.

5. Think Like a Programmer: An Introduction to Creative Problem Solving


At its core, a lot of programming has to deal with problem solving. Building a successful program will likely come with a lot of coding issues or problems, and solving them appropriately is important to your success.

The book goes into how experienced programmers solve these issues, and (as the title would suggest) teaches you to think like a programmer. Being creative is an incredibly important part of coding, and this book helps you see that and harness creativity.

In addition to helping you solve problems, this book also covers topics like choosing the correct structure of data, develop helpful strategies and become proficient at using more advanced programming tools.

6. Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship


While even subpar code can often run and perform a function, the goal is to write clean code. Clean code is maintainable, can be read easily and can be changed simply if need be. Unfortunately, oftentimes subpar code is more common than clean code.

This book hopes to change that. Clean Code aims to teach you not only how to write code, but how to write it well. It has you read a lot of code, and try to identify what is good and what is bad about it.

Several things will be learned in this book such as how to transform bad code into good code, how to best format code and even how to handle errors. Simply put, the book helps you solve real problems and learn from the mistakes of others.

7. The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide


While some just want to take up coding and programming as a hobby, many want to make a career out of it. If that if a goal you have, then this book is for you. While having all of the technical prowess and knowledge is great, you often need more to land a job in the field.

This book is all about teaching you these additional skills that can help you succeed in the field. Which language to learn, how to answer interview questions, how to collaborate with co-workers and how to fill gaps in technical skills are all covered in this book, plus a lot more.

While this book is different than most that simply teach you to code, it is just as valuable and can certainly contribute to the life and career of any beginner in the space. The book can motivate you to better yourself and make yourself a better candidate for any programming job.

Each and every one of these books can provide you value if you are new to the world of programming. No matter what kind of coding or programming you’re interested in or how new you are to the space, these books will help.

Do you own or know of a great programming book for beginners that doesn’t appear in this list? If you do, don’t forget to let us all know about it in the comment section!

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