What are programmers reading right now? These seven books are selected from a variety of DevMountain instructors and mentors, Amazon’s bestsellers in its programming category, and based on recommendations from popular coding blogs. Some of these books are new, and others are tried and true favorites among newbie and experienced programmers. Enjoy our list of seven best programming books for beginners.

7. Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

by Charles Petzold

Petzold is one of Microsoft’s Seven Windows Pioneers and has been writing about programming since 1984. First published in 2000, his book about code itself is a perennial favorite in the coding world thanks to its readable explanation of how programming and code are built into the fabric of everyday life. Petzold explains coding and assembly language for a general audience using familiar concepts such as Braille and Morse code. Better still, the book is illustrated, helping even those who don’t consider themselves code-savvy to follow along through the whole thing.

6. Hacking: The Art of Exploitation, 2nd Edition

by Jon Erickson

At its most basic, hacking is simply the art of problem-solving. Sometimes a problem calls for an unconventional solution, and sometimes that solution involves exploiting holes in someone else’s programming. Readers can gain an overview of the world of programming from the hacker’s perspective, including such techniques as hijacking network communications and exploiting weaknesses in cryptography. Using the included diagrams and easy-to-follow text, readers can try their hands at a variety of existing hacking techniques.

5. The Art of Invisibility: The World’s Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data

by Kevin Mitnick and Robert Vamosi

Mitnick, the author of the bestseller Ghost in the Wires, calls himself “the world’s most famous hacker.” His hacking career began at age 13 when he hacked a punch card system to ride the bus around Los Angeles for free. A former black hatter wanted by the FBI, he spent five years in prison for wire fraud and other crimes from 1995-2000. Mitnick now teaches the general public about invisibility in the age of Big Data. Those who are new to programming can follow along with the simple, step-by-step advice presented in this book. For more advanced readers, Mitnick and Vamosi present “elite” privacy hacks.

4. Learning Javascript Design Patterns

by Addy Osmani

Design patterns are useful in all languages and all code bases. If you don’t have a fundamental understanding of design patterns, this book is a great primer to help you start writing better code. At any given moment, someone struggles with the same software design problems you have. And, chances are, someone else has already solved your problem. Learning Javascript Design Patterns shows you the tried-and-true, road-tested patterns used by developers.

3. Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager

by Michael Lopp

Before he ran the Rands in Repose blog, Lopp worked for Symantec, Netscape, and Apple. His collected management experience with all of them informs this blend of memoir and guide. He gives readers a tour through what it’s like to work in Silicon Valley, managing what he calls “dysfunctional bright people.” Whether you’re on the management side or you’re one of the dysfunctional bright people, you’ll appreciate the wisdom of Lopp’s experience.

2. Make Your Own Neural Network

by Tariq Rashid

AI programming and neural networks are all the buzz right now. Although the more hands-on portions of this book focus on Python programming, at its heart this book is about the mathematics that underlies neural networks in general. Neural networks are the foundation of artificial intelligence and deep learning. This book introduces readers to the concept of neural networks with clear, easy to follow examples. After reading this book, even those without much exposure to programming will come away with a working knowledge of neural network implementation.

1. The Self-Taught Programmer: The Definitive Guide to Programming Professionally

by Cory Althoff

Althoff is a self-taught programmer who took a job at eBay, only to find there was still a tremendous amount to learn to be a professional programmer. This book is for beginners learning to program, but even more than that, it’s for all self-taught programmers to expand and polish their skills to a professional level. Topics include object-oriented programming, using coding to build a web scraper, the fundamentals of computer architecture and algorithms, and coding practices for software development.

These seven books provide a broad tour of the subject of programming from several different points of view. From Beginners to experienced coders looking to expand their circle of knowledge, managers, and even aspiring managers will all learn something from this to-be-read list. Looking to take a deeper dive than self-teaching through books, we invite you to come join us on a DevMountain campus and learn to code in 12 weeks.


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