10 software development books to read this summer

Summer is here, which means a bit of travel and time away from screens. We’ve rounded up 10 summer reads to stick in your suitcase so you can keep up your development game, wherever you are.

1) Accelerate: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations by Nicole Forsgren PhD, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim

A book for technology managers and CIOs (or aspiring ones): This is the culmination of four years of research into software delivery performance, how to measure it, and what exactly drives it. The meticulous research carried out by Dr Nicole Forsgreen, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim used data collected from the State of DevOps Reports.

Accelerate lays out the proven methods that tech managers can use to streamline their own organizations—think Chicken Soup for the Soul but swap ‘Soup’ for DevOps and ‘Soul’ for software development performance.

2) The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick P. Brooks Jr

A fusion of software engineering facts and stimulating opinions by the legendary software developer Fred Brooks. Brooks worked on the IBM System/360 computer family and later for OS/360, its behemoth of a software system. He has turned those years of experience into a helpful guide on the challenges facing large programming projects versus small ones due to the division of labor. This classic has been revitalized with additional chapters in a new 20th anniversary edition.  

3) The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt

Want to become a pragmatic programmer and improve your career success? The Pragmatic Programmer is applicable to all levels of computing expertise, from new coder to experienced developer. It was first published in 1999 and is still popular, which is a testament to the strength of its advice. Hunt gives useful tips and tricks instead of an overriding methodology. He coined many of his famous software engineering theories in this book, including rubber duck debugging (try saying that five times in a row).

4) Clean Code by Robert C. Martin

A must-read for all people working in software development, this foundational book is all about how to write better and cleaner code. Robert Martin, AKA Uncle Bob, breaks down the method for writing clean code, from practical techniques to the mindset a developer should have. This book is particularly helpful for coding newbies, though a cursory knowledge of Java and Object-oriented programming is recommended before starting on this classic.

5) Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold

This book is a wild card. It isn’t strictly aimed at developers but developers seem uniquely equipped to understand and enjoy it. Charles Petzold takes a simple but often overlooked idea and turns it into something intriguing: code underlies many disparate systems and objects, from seesaws to black cats to Braille, and they all have something in common with computers. Code can be read by anyone at any level of computer science understanding.

6) The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers by Robert C. Martin

It’s Uncle Bob again, this time with ‘The Clean Coder’, a guide on how to not only get ahead in your software engineering career, but also how to get the most out of it. Martin writes about how to practice genuine craftsmanship in a development career.

7) Soft Skills: The Software Developer’s Life Manual by John Sonmez

John Sonmez has written the decisive life manual specifically for software developers. Sonmez is an experienced software developer and consultant who managed to retire at 35 and founded the website SimpleProgrammer.com, which aims to help software developers live happier and more successful lives. This book isn’t about coding or software knowledge; it covers the stuff a computer science degree won’t tell you about your career and life.

8) Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decision Making by Brian Christian

Unsure if you’re indecisive? This might be the book for you! Another wild card book that looks at how everyday human decision-making can be enlightened by the precise and simple algorithms used by computers.

Algorithms to Live By is the interdisciplinary brain child of critically acclaimed author Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths. In addition to being theoretically interesting, it’s also packed full of practical tips for how to make better decisions.  

9) The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide: How to Learn Programming Languages Quickly, Ace Your Programming Interview, and Land Your Software Developer Dream Job by John Sonmez

John Sonmez is back, this time with even more advice about how to get the most out of a career in software development with a combination of ‘soft skills’ and coding knowledge. This career guide is aimed at all levels of seniority, from new starters to senior devs.

10) Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson

Let’s cap this list with a book by Walter Isaacson, who famously wrote the biography Steve Jobs. This book is for those with more of a general interest in the technology industry and the “third industrial revolution” - the digital revolution. Walter Isaacson explores the interesting and eccentric lives of some of the most influential figures shaping the digital age, including Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing, and Bill Gates.

If you have any other recommendations you’d like to see added to this list, share them with us on Twitter: @DiffblueHQ