Reading Time: about 3 minutes

In the world of software development, books can sometimes seem like an outdated medium. Trends often change in the development world faster than books can be re-written and printed, causing a lot of "continuing education" material to be hosted online instead. However, there are some books that are just meant to be read more than once — the classics that a developer can reference again and again when encountering new challenges that put their skills to the test.

Code Complete, Steve McConnell

This book stresses that construction is the central activity in software development and should therefore be taken seriously, with a detailed process to follow that includes: design, construction planning, coding and debugging, unit testing, integration, and integration testing. McConnell emphasizes construction above requirements and documentation because construction delegates how the software actually works, unlike documentation and requirements, which can both be changed. The author also shares tips for becoming a good programmer.

The Pragmatic Programmer, Andrew Hunt and David Thomas

Andrew Hunt and David Thomas wrote The Pragmatic Programmer with one thing in mind -- the central process of making working and sustainable code out of abstract requirements. Each chapter is a self-contained category that covers topics such as: dynamic code, exceptions, effective testing, and authentic requirements. The chapters also contain many real-world examples that make the book relatable and engaging to coders everywhere.

Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests, Steve Freeman and Nat Price

Test-Driven Development (TDD) is the central theme of this book, and Freeman and Price have delivered an exceptional publication on using test doubles to drive design. TDD is based on the concept of writing tests for code before developing the actual code. This book incorporates real-world examples for the processes and designs the authors present, along with extensive knowledge on how best to implement the process of TDD into actual software development projects.

SmallTalk Best Practice Patterns, Kent Beck

This book holds a special place among the esteem of the developers at CenturyLink, and rightfully so. One programmer describes it best as "the best book about patterns 'in the small' — at the level of functions, methods, and classes — as opposed to the 'design patterns' that involve multiple classes." Patterns are the crux of this piece, as Beck dives deeply into the "how's and why's" about the code he writes. As with all good development books, extensive examples are used to explain the theory behind structuring and patterning code and working with methods, messages, state, collections, classes and formatting for a more effective outcome.

Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code, Martin Fowler, Kent Beck, John Brandt, William Opdyke, and Don Roberts

The many authors of this book may look familiar to those in the developer community — this book is a true collaborative effort among many of the big authorities in the development game. As new and more efficient techniques and languages are developed in the coding community, there is an increasing number of code that will have to be re-factored in order to stay current with emerging technologies. An increasing and expanding part of a developer's job could easily be reworking code, so having a firm grasp on the easiest and most impactful ways to work with and change that code into an optimal application is a skill-set that is vital to any coder's portfolio.

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