Preparing for Java and Spring Boot Interview?

Join my Newsletter, its FREE

Top 5 Books to Improve Coding and Programming Skills - Must Read, Best of Lot

Learning a Programming language, like Java, Python, or C++ is easy, but learning to write good code is not. Writing good code is more Art than Science and also an important differentiating factor between an average programmer vs. a good programmer. Since most of the programmers often look for inspiration and resources to improve their coding skill, I decided to share some of the good books which can help them to improve their coding.  Since many universities, colleges, and training courses only teach programming languages but not the art of coding, it still remains one of the self-learned skills which many programmers acquired either in Job or working on real-world projects.

The internet has helped a lot to coders with several websites coming up to teach code, programming contest, helping to solve your programming interview questions and all, but IMHO, books are still vital for overall improvement.

In this article, I am going to share some of the great books written by both great authors and great programmers, which can certainly help you to write good code and become a better programmer. These are also the books that I wish I knew earlier because they have helped me a lot in improving my own coding skills.

It's also a good chance that you might have read or seen this book before but just knowing is not enough. The real value comes from reading and adopting their suggestions. For example, many developers know about Clean Code or Code Complete, two of the most recommended books to junior developers but very few of them have read them and even lesser people apply their teaching in the real world.

6 Books to Improve Coding Skill of Software Developers

Coding is an art, and like many arts, it takes a lot of practice, study, and self-discipline to become a good coder. In my childhood, I have read that "books are your best friend, keep them near to you," and that has been proved absolutely correct in the world of Programming and Coding.

Programming is a challenging field with new development happening every day, and knowledge quickly becomes obsolete, but good coding skill and self-discipline is something, which will never get outdated and help you throughout your career. Books have helped me a lot, and in this article, I am going to share 5 great books which will help you to improve your coding skill.

1.  Working Effectively With Legacy Code

This is the one book I recommend to every Programmer who codes. Since development and maintenance are the primary jobs of software engineers, and bad code is hard to maintain, but sometimes you have no choice but to live with that, this book will help you how to work effectively with legacy code.

This is also from the Robert C. Martin Series, the same series where "Clean Code" and other good books like "Clean Coder" belongs. If you need a course to combine with this book, I suggest Mosh Hamdani's classic Learn The Art of Writing Clean Code course on Udemy. Examples are given in C# but the technique he shares is equally useful for Java developers.

Book to become good Coder

2. Clean Code by Uncle Bob Martin

Clean code is one of the best books for java programmers, but any programmer can benefit from it. This book will help you to write better code. This book teaches you about code smell, function and data structure, object-oriented design principles, design patterns.

Uncle Bob Martin, who himself is a great programmer, has done a tremendous job of imparting his year of experience in simple words.

The title "Clean Code" aptly justifies advice, best practices given to the programmers in this book. If you have to choose just one book, then pick the clean code. If you want, you can also combine this book with the Clean Code: Writing Code for Humans By Cory House on Pluralsight for more active learning.

Best book to learn Coding in Java

3. Refactoring to Patterns 1st Edition by Joshua Kerievsky

This is one of the rare books where you will find the best combination of theory and practice. Refactoring is a process to make your working code more beautiful, and this book can help you there by leveraging already tried and tested patterns of the software development world.

This is one of the best books to learn how and when to use design patterns. Java developers have added advantage because examples are given in Java, but it's not a big problem for C++, Scala, or Python developers because examples are easy to follow and can be understood by anyone who knows how to read the pseudo-code.

Java's verbosity and English like language will also help a lot. And, if you need a course to combine with this book, I suggest you should check out Refactoring Java with the IntelliJIDEA course by James Richardson on Udemy. This course will teach you how you cause Intellij IDEA's powerful refactoring feature to create a clean code.

Good book to improve coding

4. Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code

Refactoring is a process of making a working code beautiful, refactoring helps to improve the design of working code. It is also one of the essential tricks of good programmers, more often than not good coders are also good at refactoring.

This book will teach you both the art and science of refactoring code. It doesn't matter whether you are a Java programmer, C++ developer, or a Python developer, every programmer can benefit from this book.

This book is a collective effort of some of the best authors in the programming world. A list of authors includes Martin Fowler, Kent Beck, John Brant, William Opdyke, Don Roberts, and forward by Erich Gamma. If you want, you can also combine this book with Refactoring to Design Pattern course on Udemy for better understanding.

Best book to learn Coding

5. Beautiful Code: Leading Programmers Explain How They Think

This is one of the great books to improve your coding skills because it offers you an opportunity to see how expert programmers approach a problem, how the written code and how do they solve the problem, and still able to keep their code beautiful.

This book is a collection of case studies that tells how those expert programmers, which includes, Brian Kernighan, Jon Bentley (author of Programming Pearls), Tim Bray, Karl Fogel, Michael Feathers (author of Working Effectively with Legacy Code), and many more great authors and programmers.  No matter which programming language you use for coding, like Java, C#, Python, or Ruby, you will find something interesting in this book.

If you want, you can also combine this book with the Design Pattern in Java course on Dmitri Nesteruk to learn about the modern implementation of classic OOP design patterns.

Great book to learn Coding skill

6. Test Driven Development: By Example by Kent Beck

Kent Beck's "Test Driven Development: By Example" is a classic in the field of software development, receiving a notable rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars from 534 reviews. In this foundational work, Beck introduces the concept of test-driven development (TDD) as a methodology aimed at eradicating fear in application development. 

Beck argues that while a certain level of fear can be constructive, excessive fear leads to tentative, grumpy, and uncommunicative programmers. 

By adopting TDD, programming teams can eliminate fear, fostering a positive work environment and enhancing their ability to tackle challenging tasks. TDD, as presented by Beck, emphasizes the continual testing and refactoring of code, leading to improved communication among team members and a proactive approach to handling constructive criticism. 

The author teaches these principles through practical examples, providing programmers with a valuable resource to enhance the quality of their work while maintaining a collaborative and fearless development process. You can also combine this book with the Practical Test Driven Development for Java Programmers for better understanding.

His new book Tidy First?: A Personal Exercise in Empirical Software Design is though not as good as this one but if you want you can also check that one, it contains all the known best practices around coding and test driven development in a condensed form which is great for beginners but experience developer may already know that. 

That's all about some of the great books to improve coding skills. Both beginners and experienced programmers can benefit from these books. In fact, these are the best resource for expert beginners which has experience but lack the knowledge to support those experience. It's a real shame if you have 10 years of experience but cannot write good code, and believe me, it happens.

You might have read some of them already, but they are worth reading again. I have always learned new things while reading a good book like Clean Code twice. They are must-read books for any Programmer who wants to become a good coder as well. They will also help you to do well in your Job, earn respect from peers and seniors, and also do well in job interviews.

If you are not writing code on a daily basis, not trying to improve, not introspecting then a number of years in the job will grow, but your programming experience will not. You will struggle to write good code and good unit tests, which is one of the essential traits of a good programmer.

It's never is too late, read some of this book to get back on track, if you are not sure which one to start, just read the Clean Code.

Hungry for more? Here are some more programming books and resources to explore

Thank you for reading so far, if you have any book to add to this list of object-oriented analysis and design pattern books, then please let me know via comments, and I'll add them for everyone's benefit.

P. S. - If you are looking for some Free Algorithms courses to improve your understanding of Data Structure and Algorithms, then you should also check the Data Structures in Java for Beginners course on Udemy. It's authored by a Google Software Engineer and Algorithm expert and it's completely free of cost.


Feel free to comment, ask questions if you have any doubt.