So you’ve finally decided that this is the year you’re going to learn to code. You’ve done the research, you’ve chatted with colleagues who are software engineers, and you’re ready to dive into a new career field.

Software Engineers are in high demand, so you've made a smart choice. And we know exactly where you should start.

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In order to get you prepared for a new career and become a coder, we wanted to equip you with some resources for your toolkit.  

Below are five books to read when first starting to code. You'll learn some valuable coding best practices, as well as get a better understanding of what coders do on a daily basis. (Plus you'll have a perfect conversation-starter when you start networking with other Developers).

Read on for our must-read books on coding.

1) Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

Steve Krug’s guide to common sense web usability in Don’t Make Me Think is one of the most recommended books for coders just starting out in the field. Originally published in 2000, the revised version of the book includes updated material on the foundational principles of intuitive navigation and information design.

You'll get a strong foundation in coding skills that will set you up for long-term career success. And since this is considered essential reading among many programmers, you'll have to read it at some point. So start now, at the beginning of your career, and learn good habits that will help you learn new coding languages more efficiently for years to come.

2) Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science

Python Programming by John M. Zelle, Ph.D. gives a great overview of the foundations of computer science, problem solving, design, and programming. It was created for intro computer science university courses, but in no way is this book a traditional textbook.

You’ll gain insight about programming through the lens of Python, but don’t think that Python is all you’ll learn––you’ll truly get a crash course into the entire world of computing. If you're new to the coding scene and just finding your bearings, this book is an ideal introduction.

3) Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

Want to know the difference between good and bad code? Look no further.

This book isn't just about how to code. It helps you understand the differences between so-so coding, and advanced coding that's clean, efficient, and easy for others to understand. And that's one of the key differences that could help you excel in your career.

Robert C. Martin’s Clean Code breaks down the importance of good, clean code and the significance of bad code that doesn’t function. First you’ll learn the principles, patterns, and practices of writing clean code. Then you’ll dig into real case studies, followed up with a list of heuristics to use to write clean code in your sleep.

4) Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code

As a coder, a lot of your job will consist of rewriting existing code to improve a product. It's not all about generating your own ideas; you'll also have to make sense of someone else's work and improve on it, just as they'll have to do for your code.

That’s where Refactoring by Martin Fowler and Kent Beck comes in. You’ll learn the principles and guidelines for refactoring code to make it easier to comprehend and change. You’ll also learn how to recognize refactoring trade offs and how to manage obstacles that may arise.

5) The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master

“The Cat Ate My Source Code” is one of the first sections in the Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas. So you don't have to worry about a dry introduction to the history of programming. You can look forward to real-life practical tips and even engaging story-telling: a combination that's often hard to find, especially among techies.

This book gives you a deep dive on how to harness the power of basic tools, write adaptable, bullet-proof code, all while being more precise. If you want the keys to coding pragmatism, here they are.

Ready to start coding for real? Your next step is a coding certificate, or better yet: a coding course that prepares you to land a job. Check out our Software Engineering  bootcamp if you're serious about switching careers and getting hired as a Developer.

Art by Rachel Knobloch.

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