Becoming a good software engineer is a challenging task. You need to be focused and determined. You need to sit in front of your computer, download the tools you need, and start coding. But do you know what else you have to do? You need to study! Not only you need to read the code of other developers but also read books. Books hold the knowledge that you may not be able to obtain even later in your career. Books are written by experienced professionals and can change your technical knowledge and way of seeing software development in general. This is why it is worth reading this article to know my picks for the best software engineering books.
1. The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide
by John Sonmez
The first book I have in my picks is “The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide: How to Learn Programming Languages Quickly, Ace Your Programming Interview, and Land Your Software Developer Dream Job”. The writer John Somnez is a person I have been following for quite some time on his Youtube channel Bulldog Mindset and on his blog https://simpleprogrammer.com/. He has offered so much value to me and to many other developers as well as to other people in general through his articles and videos.
To start with, this is not a technical “how to learn a programming language” book. This book is mostly about the career of a software developer. It is a manual about how to excel in your career. It tries to help developers with any level of experience advance in their career and surpass blocking obstacles The author analyzes important subjects like how to balance life and work, how to deal with micromanagement, how to succeed in an interview, and many more.
Basically, it is a long and great book covering almost everything a developer may need. John Somnez has an easy to follow way of writing that keeps you interested along the way. This book will make you a better developer, but in the end, as mentioned in the book, you have to take action!
2. Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
Clean code is a classic. It is written by the famous “Uncle Bob” who brings experience of several decades to show us what is clean code. It is true that if developers write bad, or the opposite of clean, dirty code, someone will pay it in the future. Most probably the company will pay the price hiring experienced developers who will struggle to understand what the heck is going on in this method. We have all faced this code fear of being worried to change a piece of code you don’t understand. You are afraid of breaking the whole system.
The goal of the book is to make the difference between good and bad code. It helps you write good code and transform bad into good code. It tells you how to name your classes, functions, and objects. Furthermore, it even teaches you how to handle errors and practice test-driven development.
Any developer can learn from this book. However, you have to keep in mind that it is an Object-Oriented Programming style of software development book. Also, an important thing is that the examples are in Java so developers who are more comfortable in other languages with a different programming style may not be able to understand the concepts very well. Haters will say that this book is aging or that it is obsolete but if you ask me, no-one should diss that kind of classic!
3. Head First Design Patterns: A Brain-Friendly Guide
Every developer faces design problems that have been solved before. Design patterns are reusable solutions to repetitive problems developers encounter often. These patterns are widely considered the right way of designing solutions. Moreover, they are so important that they are asked in job interviews to check the analytical and design skills of the candidate.
Head First Design Patterns explains the most common design patterns in a rich and understandable way. It explains these patterns that every developer should understand and be able to apply at any point in his career. This book makes complex programming concepts easy to read and grasp. The style of writing is humorous and entertaining, something that makes it a pleasant read. Finally, I have to say that the examples are in Java and focusing, eventually in Object-Oriented Programming. However, even if you are not very familiar with the language, you will be able to understand the concepts.
Design patterns are a must for a software developer; the content of this book, the examples, and the entertaining way of presenting the concepts definitely put this item in the best software engineering books list.
4. Effective Java
by Joshua Bloch
I read this Effective Java a long time ago, in my first steps as a software developer. It was recommended by a colleague who was a senior developer already. He had said, “it is a must, you have to read to get better”. Well, it was exactly what I did.
The author, Joshua Bloch, formerly employed at Sun Microsystems and Google has written a very well structured book to learn one of the most popular languages still today. You will learn about objects, classes, methods, generics, lambdas and so much more. The most recent version of the book integrates the functional way of programming with Java. Moreover, what is important with this book is that you not only learn how but also why you have to do it. Alright, indeed a java developer with ten years of experience may not need to read this book. They should already know most of that stuff. However, it is always a good practice to perfect your craft, right?
Especially for me who has spent most of my career programming in Java, this is one of my favorite boooks. It is a definite member of the best software engineering books.
5. Python Crash Course, 2nd Edition
by Eric Matthes
With the rising popularity of Python, I consider it indespensible to include a book of this programming language in the list of the best software engineering books. Python is an easy to learn language, yet powerful, with a huge community and frameworks. Moreover, the recent years, it has gained traction with the rise of machine learning. In this domain Python is the king. It is also a language offering enterprise solutions with frameworks like Django. Enough said for Python, we understand its value!
Python Crash Course is a great book to get you into programming. It is a very well explained and rather fast way of learning programming and Python. You’ll go through basic concepts like such as variables, lists, classes, and loops and get to learn to practice them. You will learn exciting things like how to use libraries, develop games, how to use data and display it, develop web apps, and more.
If you are a beginner or wannabe developer you should read this book. It can offer you great insight and practical value.
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