6 classic books every developer should read

We know, we know. Time is money and you are swamped in projects, all the time. But, what if, you had balance in your work and personal life? Utopia you might say.

We agree, but bear with me. What if in a parallel universe you would have time to go to the gym, work on that personal project and even finish that book you started?

This article is not about that idealistic, almost impossible on the long term, lifestyle. It is about taking that personal time and using it for your professional growth. We have created a list of must reads for every developer.

1. The pragmatic programmer

books developers

We start our list with this gem because it is that one book that you buy, read and keep in your library as a reference. You can get back to it many times during your career and be sure to learn something new each time. It is a textbook used in university courses about software engineering. It is not just a collection of tips. Although if you are a senior developer you are familiar by know with a lot of terms from this books, such as the rubber duck debugging and code katas.

This book will change your coding habits and orient you into gaining the qualities of a pragmatic programmer, such as inquisitiveness and critical thinking. This book present a lot of short stories and makes analogies present development methodologies. This way it is very easy to read and remember by presenting it this way.

2. Refactoring 

books developers refactoring

Refactoring is the process of restructuring existing computer code, without changing its external behavior. Fowler’s book has been a guide to every passionate coder that is preoccupied with constantly improving the design, while maintaining the code.

This book describes refactoring in detail, talks about the motivation behind it and presents us how to do this safely and simple. If you have not read the book yet, we leave you with this classic quote from the author:

“Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.”

3. Don’t make me think

krug books developers

For people working in Web design this book is a must. Steve Krug’s book on Web usability entertaining and full of practical advice for beginners and senior. The main point of this book is that a good software program of website should allow users to accomplish their tasks as easily and directly as possible.

This book is recommended to anybody involved in web projects, not just developers. It is a great material for managers and designers. The book itself is meant to be an example of concision writing. Even the goal of this book was to make a text that could be read by an executive on a two-hour airplane flight.

“Another needless source of question marks over people’s heads is links and buttons that aren’t obviously clickable. As a user, I should never have to devote a millisecond of thought to whether things are clickable — or not.”  Steve Krug

4. Herding Cats and Coders

cats and coders books

This book is great for those who are building their own product.It is also a great book for both programmers and non-technical people. It is written by a CEO and senior partner, so Greg Ross-Munro is an expert in large-scale system design for enterprise organisations. He is also involved in a lot of different projects from software startups to business models. 

Herding Cats and Coders gives us tips and examples on Software Development, but also on how to relate to people working in programming. Explores different personality types that one might come into contact with in an IT company. 

5. Head first design patterns

design patterns books

This book walks you through the best design practices and experiences people have gone through in order to get the best out of software design. Just like in real life, an idea you have someone might have had it at one point in, it can be the same with design problems. Having the possibility to solve your problems in the spare of the moment just by reading about them in a book would win you precious time.

This book studies a complicated topic in a fun and enjoyable way  It is entertaining and edifying at the same time. It is a great book to have on your reading list and get back to it from time to time.

6. Clean Code

books clean code

There is programming and then there is good programming. The first one does not necessarily imply the second one. Even a bad code can work, but it takes time and resources to make that program good. A lot of hours and money are being lost because of poorly written code. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It is never too late to start caring for your programs and start writing clean code.

Author Robert C. Martin presents Clean Code. His book is a must read for any developer, software engineer, project manager, team lead, or systems analyst with an interest in producing better code.

The list above is a list of books we found as recommendations in most visited articles and reading lists. Imagine that while you are reading, you are actually having a private conversation with the author of your book. It gives you the opportunity to learn from different experiences others had and inspires you to explore areas you didn’t know would be interesting for you.

We can’t stress enough the idea that reading a book is like consulting an expert on the matter. So take advantage of what is already out there and use everything to your advantage. You have other good classic books that you would recommend? Please leave a comment of write us


  1. This book like the previous one, is a must to read to every programmer. It will improve dramatically the way you structure and design your software, to achieve high levels of maintainability and correctness in your product.

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