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. We couldn’t be more ecstatic about your choice.


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In order to get you prepared for a new career in tech as a coder, we wanted to equip you with some resources for your toolkit. Books have always been a great source of knowledge, and with the tech industry it’s no different. Below are five books to read when first starting to code.

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.

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.

3) Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

Want to know the difference between good and bad code? Look no further. 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. 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. 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 with Thinkful? Check out our Software Engineering Flex and Engineering Immersion courses.

Art by Rachel Knobloch.


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