There are so many amazing programming books and computer science books out there.
Many of the best coding books are used by universities and professional developers to improve their skills. If you’re learning how to code on your own, there’s nothing to say you can’t independently pick up some top books on programming and do the same.
You might look at this list and think “How do you learn programming from books?” Actually, books on computer science can be just as fun and helpful as a course. Many of the best programming books have hands-on challenges and projects to help you implement what you’ve learned. Plus, at least reading coding books for beginners gives you a break from staring at a screen!
The best books to learn coding for beginners (and beyond) can vary based on what language you’re pursuing, so the sections below are divided accordingly. Without further ado, here are some of the best books on coding every programmer should read.
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Table of Contents
Please note that information below may change in the future!
Which Coding Books Should You Start Out With?
If you’re a complete newbie to coding, deciding which programming beginner books to buy can feel a little overwhelming, especially since there are thousands out there.
It can be helpful to start with one or two coding fundamentals books and then an HTML/CSS book to get a good introduction to coding in general. From there, you can pick and choose based on the language or type of development you’re interested in (e.g., mobile dev, website dev).
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Coding Fundamentals: The Best Books for Computer Science Beginners
Not sure where to start? Here are some of the best books for computer science that beginners can read to start thinking like a programmer.
Author: Jon Stokes | Available on Amazon
The central processing unit, or microprocessor, is at the heart of programming, as it’s responsible for executing the instructions of a computer program.
This top programming book will help you understand the basics of modern computing by learning the different parts of computer architecture and what goes on behind the scenes of programming. It starts with fundamental concepts and covers all the way up to advanced.
Authors: Harold Abelson, Gerald Jay Sussman, Julie Sussman | Available on Amazon
This computer science book was written by the faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at MIT, and it’s based on the curriculum they teach.
As you might expect from prestigious academic authors, it’s fairly dense content that you’ll need to dedicate some brainpower to! If you do, you’ll gain deep and valuable knowledge of programming systems and procedures.
Authors: Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides | Available on Amazon
With an in-depth look at 23 different design patterns, this book will teach you how to create more flexible, elegant, and reusable programs. While the actual code written in the book might be outdated (it was published in 1994), it’s still one of the best coding books on object-oriented programming, as the concepts and approaches remain highly relevant even in 2022.
Author: Charles Petzold | Available on Amazon
You might know how to code and still struggle to explain what exactly code is. That’s what Petzold is demystifying in this programming book for beginners to tech. He uses familiar examples to pull you in and write a narrative that’s both educational and pleasant to read.
Authors: Gayle Laakmann McDowell | Available on Amazon
Although it’s popularly known as the ultimate tech interview prep guide, Cracking the Coding Interview is also an excellent code book for learning core computer science concepts and understanding how to break down problems into manageable chunks. The author really knows her stuff. In fact, she passed coding interviews at big companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple.
Author: Steve McConnell | Available on Amazon
This coding book is a highly popular guide to programming and software thanks to its clear, pragmatic writing style. It covers coding, debugging, design, testing, and more.
Authors: Jon Bentley | Available on Amazon
Similar to an algorithm and data structures textbook (but with witty descriptions that are fun to read), this book offers ideas for solving coding problems, including how to choose the right algorithm, how to solve problems effectively and how to think like a software engineer. This is a bit of an advanced algorithms programming book, so it may not be the right choice for absolute beginners.
Author: Andrew Hunt, David Thomas | Available on Amazon
This programming book combines useful information with entertaining anecdotes and examples, divided into easy-to-follow self-contained sections. You’ll learn core processes that enable you to be a better programmer and produce flexible, efficient code. And you’ll get tips for honing your career skills in other ways, from work ethic to common pitfalls to avoid.
Author: Max Kanat-Alexander | Available on Amazon
This programming book for beginners is the “KISS” of coding—going over principles you can follow to make your code simple and efficient no matter what language you’re using.
Good software development results in simple code. The coding book will show you how to “keep it simple, stupid!”
Authors: Jon Bentley | Available on Amazon
One of the best algorithms books for those also interested in psychology, this computer coding book offers a unique look at how computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives — from finding a spouse to finding a parking spot. Read this if you want to learn about the history and evolution of algorithms or want to understand what algorithmic thinking is all about.
Author: Robert C. Martin | Available on Amazon
With case studies and examples in Java, this programming book challenges you to make your code as clean as possible, and explains the principles and best practices you can use to accomplish that.
Author: V. Anton Spraul | Available on Amazon
Programming is more than memorizing principles of coding languages; it’s learning to think outside the box and solve problems creatively. That’s the focus of this coding book, which goes over one programming concept in each chapter. Along the way, it gives open-ended exercises for you to try yourself and implement what you’ve learned. While you can apply what you’ve learned in any language, examples are in C++.
Authors: Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, Clifford Stein | Available on Amazon
Algorithms are ways of efficiently solving problems, and they’re absolutely key to a developer’s day-to-day tasks. This code book is accessible to all levels and covers many different types of algorithms. You’ll be going through one of the best algorithms books used by universities and working professionals.
Authors: Dr. William M Springer II, Nicholas R Allgood, Brit Springer | Available on Amazon
This coding book is written by a senior developer at a major software company with a PhD in computer science. It takes you through what you would have learned while earning a four-year computer science degree, so it’s one of the best IT books for beginners who are self-taught. The coding book covers topics like algorithms and data structures, graphs, problem-solving techniques, and complexity theory.
15. Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide
Authors: Grant Smith | Available on Amazon
Although it’s technically a CS study guide for middle schoolers, this code book breaks down CS topics into easy-to-understand concepts. Includes mnemonic devices, definitions, diagrams, and doodles to help you understand computer science.
Authors: Wladston Ferreira Filho, Raimondo Pictet | Available on Amazon
This code book offers a walkthrough of computer science concepts you must know. Covers discrete math, common algorithms and data structures, and the principles that make computers and programming languages work.
Authors: DK | Available on Amazon
This isn’t just a good computer science book for kids and parents! It’s a great visual intro to computer science for adults, too. This IT book for beginners condenses computer science topics into an informative, understandable format with clear, colorful pictures and concise definitions.
Careers in Tech: Books Every Career Techie Must Read
Do you have your sights set on a long-term tech career? Here are some good computer science books that shine a light on what it’s really like to work in tech.
Authors: Tom DeMarco, Tim Lister| Available on Amazon
Some of the major difficulties that software engineers face aren’t about tech at all—it’s human decisions and communication! This best software development book is great for both engineers and managers who want their team to run smoothly and be productive.
Authors: John Sonmez | Available on Amazon
Being a software developer isn’t just about coding; it involves dealing with clients, coworkers, managers, and more. This is one of the best books for software developers that covers all of the social and soft skills developers need to truly excel in many areas of life, including career, productivity, personal finance, and relationship advice — all from the perspective of a developer.
Author: Steve McConnell | Available on Amazon
This book for coders focuses on time-management aspects of software development. It goes over efficient strategies and best practices you can use for an efficient workflow.
Authors: Peter Seibel | Available on Amazon
Through a collection of 15 interviews with accomplished software developers, you’ll find out how big names in the field learned to program and what they’ve discovered along the way. This programming book offers tons of different perspectives and viewpoints on the world of coding.
Author: Steve Krug | Available on Amazon
In a funny and down-to-earth way, this programming beginner book covers how to design websites so they’re easy and pleasant for users to navigate. It contains illustrations to help you visualize concepts.
Authors: Chad Fowler | Available on Amazon
In this book for coders, you’ll learn how to build your software development career step by step, “following the same path that you would follow if you were building, marketing, and selling a product.” A perfect read for junior programmers or those feeling unmotivated in their career.
Author: Michael Feathers | Available on Amazon
Legacy code can be frustrating to work with if it’s clunky and difficult to change. This programming book goes over strategies for working with legacy code and make changes as necessary so you can focus on what matters instead of getting bogged down.
Author: Cory Althoff | Available on Amazon
What are the other best coding books for beginners and courses not telling you? That’s what this programming book aims to cover. It starts with teaching you how to code Python, use various tools, learn CS fundamentals, etc. At the end, it goes beyond tech knowledge to cover job-search/interview tips and advice for working with a team.
Author: Frederick P. Brooks Jr. | Available on Amazon
Originally published 40+ years ago, this influential tech-career book is updated with new insights on project management within software engineering. It covers how to structure work groups, communication tips, and more.
Author: Martin Fowler | Available on Amazon
Refactoring is the process of improving poorly designed, inefficient programs so they are simpler and easier to maintain. This coding book breaks down the refactoring techniques you need to know — especially if you’re working with a large legacy code base. The author starts off with a “messy” sample application and goes through the process of refactoring it to make it as efficient as possible.
HTML and CSS: The Best Books to Learn HTML and CSS
These are a few of the best books to learn HTML and CSS.
Author: Jon Duckett | Available on Amazon
Reading about code can be boring, but not with this book! Illustrations, photography, and an accessible writing style make this easy for anyone who wants to learn HTML and CSS. It’s one of the best programming books for beginners to coding.
Author: Jennifer Robbins | Available on Amazon
Combining information with exercises and quizzes, this book for programming beginners lets you immediately practice the skills you’re learning. You’ll start by learning foundational skills like how the web works. By the end, you’ll be able to create your own mobile-friendly website.
Author: Marijn Haverbeke | Available on Amazon
Author: Kyle Simpson | Available on Amazon
Java: Java Programming Books You Need in Your Library
Next, we’ll look at the best Java programming books, which take a variety of approaches to help you learn Java thoroughly.
32. Effective Java
Author: Joshua Bloch | Available on Amazon
Learn the subtleties and best practices of Java with this computer coding book nicknamed the “Bible of Java programming.” You’ll learn what to do, what not to do, and explanations of why.
33. Head First Java
Authors: Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates | Available on Amazon
Thanks to several forms of gamification that keep you engaged with learning Java objects, this may be the best object-oriented programming book for beginners. Puzzles, mysteries, illustrations, and interview-style info combined with key concepts to help you learn quickly and have fun.
Author: Brian Goetz | Available on Amazon
Concurrency, or multi-threading, is the ability to run several tasks or programs at the same time, and it’s something that Java programmers should know. This Java programming book goes over techniques and patterns to help you build great concurrent programs.
PHP: The Top Books to Learn PHP
PHP is alive and well in the modern world! Learn it with the best PHP books on programming.
35. Modern PHP
Author: Josh Lockhart | Available on Amazon
Best for those who have a beginner understanding of PHP, this computer science book takes you further into all the features and techniques to use for PHP application architecture and planning, databases, security, testing, debugging, and deployment.
Author: Lynn Beighley, Michael Morrison | Available on Amazon
You’ll learn all the essentials of server-side programming with PHP and MySQL so you can build dynamic websites. The coding book engages you with puzzles, exercises, quizzes, and other interactive elements.
Ruby: Become a Ruby Master with These Books
These are some of the best web development books for those coding with Ruby.
37. Eloquent Ruby
Author: Russ Olsen | Available on Amazon
This programming textbook teaches you how to think in Ruby, which will enable you to write elegant, expressive Ruby code and intuitively solve problems.
Author: David A. Black | Available on Amazon
Whether you’re a newcomer or you’ve worked with Ruby before, this computer coding book explores topics from foundational to sophisticated. The tutorial will take you through your first Ruby program.
Python: The Python Programming Books Every Coder Should Read
Check out these Check out these best books to learn programming quickly with Python.
Author: Eric Matthes | Available on Amazon
This practical Python coding book is written to get you programming in Python quickly, teaching programming basics before introducing real projects. You’ll build graphs, charts, an interactive web app, and even a simple video game.
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Author: Paul Barry | Available on Amazon
One of the best programming books for visual learners, thanks to its illustrative format. You’ll quickly grasp Python concepts and build your own web application.
41. Learn Python 3 the Hard Way: A Very Simple Introduction to the Terrifyingly Beautiful World of Computers and Code
Author: Zed A. Shaw | Available on Amazon
Think of this less as the “hard way” and more as throwing yourself in the deep end of the “hands-on” way. This is one of those programming textbooks you can actually work on, not just sit down and read through, with 52 exercises driving concepts home.
C#: Best C# Programming Books
These best books for C# programming will help you master key functions.
42. C# in Depth
Author: Jon Skeet | Available on Amazon
Learn core C# coding components, including asynchronous functions, expression-bodied members, interpolated strings, tuples, and more, with real-world examples to bring them alive.
Author: Joseph Albahari | Available on Amazon
This top C# book is correctly labeled a “definitive reference,” going from basics to advanced topics. It’s written for readers with some prior programming experience who want to learn or improve at C#.
C: The Best C Programming Books for Beginners
Read the best C programming books below, including content from the inventors of the language.
Author: Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie | Available on Amazon
This best C programming book for beginners was written by the developers of C, so it’s straight from the source! You’ll need some prior programming knowledge of basics like loops, variables, and functions. The code book has a reference manual you can glance at when you need help as you code with C.
Author: Steve Oualline | Available on Amazon
A clear, practical approach with no fluff teaches you how to program with C in a way that’s easy to read and debug. The best book on C programming for learners who like to get right to the code!
Objective–C: Don’t Miss These Objective–C Resources
These are some of the best computer science books to help you improve your Objective-C programming in an actionable way.
Authors: Aaron Hillegass, Mikey Ward | Available on Amazon
This programming book is based on the popular Objective-C Bootcamp from Big Nerd Ranch. It has an engaging style while covering C, Objective-C, and tips to work with Apple technologies.
Author: Matt Galloway | Available on Amazon
Divided into 52 sets of scenarios, tips, and shortcuts for Objective-C, this coding book is concise and practical. You’ll learn how to avoid little-known pitfalls and always choose the best, most efficient option possible.
C++: Best Books for Learning C++
Looking for good C++ books? Even if you’re new to the language, these top C++ books will get you coding in no time.
48. C++ Primer
Authors: Stanley B. Lippman, Josée Lajoie, Barbara E. Moo | Available on Amazon
This primer will help you learn C++ fast and start using it to write powerful code for modern applications.
Author: Bjarne Stroustrup | Available on Amazon
Written by the inventor of C++, this computer science book provides an introduction to programming in general and C++ in specific. The target audience is beginner programmers, and it’s often used as a programming textbook for computer science freshmen.
R: The Best R Programming Books on the Market
These best R programming books teach you how to use the language to analyze data and build software.
Author: Richard Cotton | Available on Amazon
Even coding newbies can learn how to start analyzing data with R, thanks to this best R programming book. At the end of each chapter, you can test yourself with a quiz and work on hands-on exercises. It also teaches you what to do with data after analyzing, e.g. publishing your results.
Author: Paul Teetor | Available on Amazon
There are over 200 practical R “recipes” in this “cookbook” for you to experiment with! You’ll do simple tasks like input and output, work with statistics, and more as you analyze data.
Author: Norman Matloff | Available on Amazon
You can also use R for software development, which is the focus of this best book for R programming. It’s accessible for hobbyist programmers, covering functional and object-oriented programming with R and going from beginner to advanced topics.
SQL: Handy SQL Books
These are some of the top programming books for the popular database language SQL.
Author: Ben Forta | Available on Amazon
This is a short-and-sweet coding book containing 22 ten-minute lessons, so it’s ideal for those who want to complete tasks in SQL quickly and methodically. From basic data retrieval to more in-depth topics like subqueries, table constraints, etc.
Authors: John L. Viescas, Michael J. Hernandez | Available on Amazon
This code book provides a clear, simple tutorial on creating reliable SQL queries for modern databases. It goes over every aspect of query writing so you can write effective ones of all types.
Android: The Top Android Programming Books
Pick up an Android programming book to turn yourself into a pro app builder!
Author: Barry Burd | Available on Amazon
This comprehensive guide is written to get you started developing Android apps. It goes over the key programming concepts you need to do things like program phone features, build and refine your apps, manage data, use the Android native development kit, and more.
Authors: Dawn Griffiths, David Griffiths | Available on Amazon
This is another “brain-friendly” guide with plenty of visual illustrations to help you learn and keep you engaged. The Android programming book will help you quickly build a working app and improve it with interactive design, cross-device functionality, and more.
iOS / Swift: Become an iOS Pro With These Books
Last but not least, these are some of the best coding books for aspiring Apple developers.
Authors: Christian Keur, Aaron Hillegass | Available on Amazon
This mobile programming beginner book teaches you the foundations of iOS development and the tools and techniques you need to develop apps with awesome features yourself.
Authors: Matthew Mathias, John Gallagher | Available on Amazon
Swift is the language of Apple, and this guide will help you understand and use it effectively. From the hows and whys to the grammar and style of Swift, you’ll gain the knowledge and confidence to crush coding challenges and build better apps.
Typescript: Top TypeScript Books
Author: Boris Cherny | Available on Amazon
Author: Dan Vanderkam | Available on Amazon
This coding book guides you through 62 specific ways to improve your use of TypeScript. It helps you build mental models of how TypeScript and its ecosystem work and gives you the tools to avoid pitfalls and traps.
Author: Adam Freeman | Available on Amazon
This awesome TypeScript book shows you how to use TypeScript in realistic scenarios. It goes in-depth to give you the knowledge you need — starting from the nuts-and-bolts and going all the way up to the most advanced and sophisticated features.
Rust: Books to Help You Learn Rust
Here are some of the best coding books for beginners learning Rust, a multi-paradigm, general-purpose programming language designed for performance and safety.
Authors: Jim Blandy, Jason Orendorff, Leonora F. S. Tindall | Available on Amazon
This guide covers Rust’s fundamental data types, the core concepts of ownership and borrowing, how to write flexible, efficient code with traits and generics, and much more. Dives into both the how and why for a lot of the features and benefits of Rust.
Author: Jon Gjengset | Available on Amazon
This coding book is best for people who have already mastered the basics of Rust. It covers how to build and maintain larger code bases, write powerful and flexible applications and libraries, and expand the complexity of your projects.
Authors: Steve Klabnik, Carol Nichols | Available on Amazon
This programmer book is the official book on the Rust programming language, written by the Rust development team at the Mozilla Foundation. Comes with code examples and three whole chapters dedicated to building complete projects using Rust.
Kotlin: Books Books For Learning Kotlin
Check out these three Kotlin books that can help you write better Android apps.
65. Kotlin in Action
Authors: Dmitry Jemerov, Svetlana Isakova | Available on Amazon
Best for experienced Java developers, this book on coding covers the basics of Kotlin all the way through building applications to run on the JVM and Android devices. Topics include functional programming on the JVM, writing clean and idiomatic code, and combining Kotlin and Java.
Author: Ken Kousen | Available on Amazon
A great coding book for both experienced programmers and those new to Kotlin. Includes over 80 code examples paired with simple explanations. Learn how to solve problems with Kotlin by concentrating on your own use cases rather than on basic syntax.
Authors: Dawn Griffiths, David Griffiths | Available on Amazon
A complete introduction to coding in Kotlin. This programming book goes beyond syntax and how-to manuals and teaches you how to think like a great Kotlin developer. Written in a conversational way that keeps you turning the pages.
Go: Best Go Programming Language Books
Here are the top Golang books for people who want to learn Go, the statically typed, compiled programming language designed at Google.
Authors: Alan Donovan, Brian Kernighan | Available on Amazon
Starts from the basic concepts of Go, including the structural elements of Go programs (e.g., syntax, control flow, data types) and goes all the way to how to build, test, and maintain projects with Go. Includes hundreds of interesting and practical examples of well-written Go code.
69. Head First Go
Author: Jay McGavren | Available on Amazon
Great for visual learners, this beginner/intermediate level Go coding book features hand-drawn diagrams and clear examples.
Authors: Nathan Youngman, Roger Peppe | Available on Amazon
In this Go coding book, you’ll master Go syntax, work with types and functions, and explore bigger ideas like state and concurrency. There are also seven capstone projects featuring spacefaring gophers, Mars rovers, ciphers, and simulations to help you learn concepts.
With the help of the best books for computer science, you’ll be able to conquer any coding challenge ahead of you. Start your collection of the best books to learn programming today.
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