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Should programmers read books?
Reading programming books that teach you programming languages and frameworks is more often a waste of time, there is far much better content on youtube in that regard and websites will provide better content than books.
There are very few developers who learn programming from books, this is partly because very few books do a great job to keep the learner engaged. Compare that to learning through a video tutorial where you can see changes as they happen.
Books generally take a long time to write and publish, by the time the book hits the market, some of the features would soon be deprecated and the book will soon become outdated.
The Software Engineering Industry is a fast-paced industry, with new technologies and frameworks emerging nearly every day. Books have done a terrible job to keep up with these changes.
Pick any recent book on say, the Angular Framework, you will see how far behind it has trailed.
Videos on the other hand have done a great job to keep up with the changes, and websites can easily be updated. Books are simply not the best way to learn programming.
Programmers should not waste time reading books that teach a framework or a programming language.
However, every programmer must endeavor to read books that teach the fundamentals and principles of programming.
Learning programming is not about mastering the syntax of a programming language, it’s about understanding the underlying principles of software development and solving real-life problems using code.
When you understand the principles and fundamentals of software development, you will most likely program in any programming language without much difficulty.
There are great books that teach the fundamentals and principles of programming in a way that will give you a deeper understanding of software development, such books are the ones that programmers should read.
Reading such books will give you a broader understanding of the software development industry, and you will learn different approaches to problem-solving and best programming practices.
Note: some of the links in this article are affiliate links, I will earn a small commission at no cost to you if you buy through these links.
Some books like THE INFINITE RETINA will help you understand some of the projects big companies are working on and how these projects will impact Business, sports, finance, education, transportation, healthcare, etc.
Such books will give you great insights into real-world projects and the future of software development, you will also stay abreast with recent developments and future projections.
This helps you to stay relevant as a developer in a rapidly changing industry.
SHOULD I BUY PROGRAMMING BOOKS?
YES, but you should only buy programming books that will teach you the fundamentals and principles of software development. Such books will help you to learn more than just writing code.
You need programming books that will help you become a better software developer. The best software books are timeless, they do not focus on programming languages, frameworks, or IDEs.
The best programming books will teach why, not how. These are books programmers ought to buy, books that will not be outdated in a few years, and books that push the boundaries of your creativity. If you own such a book, you own a great book.
WHAT BOOKS SHOULD PROGRAMMERS READ?
In light of what we have looked at, there are some great books that programmers must read to gain a different insight into software development.
Make sure to have these books on your shelf, you will not regret it.
THE INFINITE RETINA: This book focus on Spatial Computing, Augmented Reality, and other new technologies and how they will affect businesses and individuals.
The book presents seven visions of the future in which Spatial Computing has the most influence – Transportation, Technology, Media and Telecommunications, Manufacturing; Retail, Healthcare, Finance, and Education.
ALGORITHMS TO LIVE BY: THE COMPUTER SCIENCE OF HUMAN DECISIONS: From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one’s inbox to peering into the future, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.
Game theory, Optimal Stopping, Networking, etc. are some of the topics covered in this book.
Reading this book will help you with algorithms, which are great for developer job interviews, especially in big tech companies.
THE PRAGMATIC PROGRAMMER: Covers topics ranging from personal responsibility and career development to architectural techniques for keeping your code flexible and easy to adapt and reuse.
It discusses automation, best programming practices, developing a team, avoiding duplicate knowledge, and more. You can’t read this book and be the same programmer.
CLEAN CODE: A HANDBOOK OF AGILE SOFTWARE CRAFTSMANSHIP: Clean Code is one of the best books that will teach you the value of clean code and how to write clean code. Though the examples are in Java, the principles apply to all programming.
This book covers technologies like; Computer technology, artificial intelligence, space travel, Internet-enabled contact lenses, cars that fly by floating on magnetic fields, nanorobots, virtual healthcare, and more.
It talks about companies and researchers working on these technologies, the limitations, expectations, and the success so far. It is an insightful book, one that is hard to put down. It’s a must-have book this one.
This is not an exhaustive list of books that programmers should read, but it gives you a general idea of what kind of books you need to read as a programmer.
If you focus on reading such books and practicing the insights provided, it won’t be long before you set yourself apart from the rest of the developers.
Reading good books is generally beneficial to everyone, it helps us to learn more, be entertained, improve our vocabulary and our writing skills, improve our attention span, and more.
In conclusion, do not bother about buying programming books that focus on frameworks and programming languages, rather, buy books that teach the fundamentals and principles of software development – I cannot overemphasize that one.
You will get more value from the books that teach you the WHYs of Software Development than the HOWs.
If you would like to improve your programming skills, check out our article TIPS TO BECOME A BETTER PROGRAMMER.