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8 Must Read Books Before Starting Your Computer Science Degree in 2019

Get ahead of the curve with these digestive yet informative books on computer science

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Computer science can sometimes be rather difficult to get started with. By giving yourself some time to get used to the content, you will feel much more confident by the time term starts.

These textbooks understand beginner struggles, and they have been written specifically for people getting started with computer science. See which one you like the most with our handy and quick to read descriptions under each book!

#1 Algorithms by S. Dasgupta

Algorithms by S. Dasgupta
The first chapters of Algorithms are a readable introduction to algorithms – the precise, mechanical, correct procedures we use to solve problems. “When I first read these chapters for a class at Cal”, writes Aaron Yoshitake from Pick a Kit, “it blew my mind to learn that basic arithmetic methods like addition (in which you start with the rightmost digit and carry values to the left) are simple algorithms, their run-times analyzable in Big-O notation, no different from the complex procedures that computer scientists write and analyze.”

The book goes on to introduce and discuss key strategies for solving problems: divide-and-conquer, graph traversal, dynamic programming, and linear programming. These are explained as clearly as possible, and while many require some background in mathematics, they don’t require foreknowledge of computer science concepts. Finally, each chapter includes exercises that start out as basic applications of the algorithms from the chapter, but escalate to deep challenges that are very satisfying to figure out.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#2 Cracking The Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell

Cracking The Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell
Cracking the Coding Interview contains real, practical questions that every beginner programmer needs to have answered. The book provides you with useful hacks, strategies for breaking down the programming process and solutions to some of the most demanding issues. It will walk you through the entire process and introduce you to the basics of computer science.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#3 Introduction to Programming in Java by Robert Sedgewick

Introduction to Programming in Java by Robert Sedgewick
This book gives a fantastic overview of the principles in an interdisciplinary way that makes it a lot more engaging than your standard textbooks.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#4 Head First Learn to Code by Eric Freeman

Head First Learn to Code by Eric Freeman
The entire Head First series of books are a really great place to get started because they do an exceptional job of helping you visualize challenging concepts and learn in a way that makes the concepts stick much better.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#5 Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Harold Abelson

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Harold Abelson
This book gives you far more information than your average course introduction to computer science, specifically programming, in a digestible and easy to read way. Through the five chapters you will start with the very basics and move on to discover new implementations of major programming systems, so whether you are new to the subject or already have some experience under your belt, there is something here for everyone.

You’ll get to sink your teeth into everything, from building abstractions with data to computing with register machines. Scattered throughout the book are exercises so you can keep your mind active, to make sure you are taking in all of this new information on programming in. In the later editions of the book, the new theme of how to deal with time in computational models is introduced, which shows the author’s intention to teach you how to practically apply your new skills to real life situations.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#6 Code Complete by Steve McConnell

Code Complete by Steve McConnell
There is something about a book that focuses on breaking down coding into short, easy-to-understand concepts. Stephen Foote’s book is definitely one of those. It gives practical guidelines, easy-to learn tutorials, and provides the whole package on programming.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#7 Beginning Programming For Dummies by Wallace Wang

Beginning Programming For Dummies by Wallace Wang
This book strips away all the glitz and technical details on programming, into very relative concepts. It was of the first books on computer science and programming I read and actually enjoyed. Besides being part of the critically acclaimed dummy series’, the book provides a perfect starting point on learning programming.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#8 Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Harold Abelson

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Harold Abelson
If the 48 rules of Power is a must read for politicians, this book is the Bible for computer scientists and programmers alike. It’s a bit boring to read.In fact, it needs some level of determination to get to the last page of the book. However,it comes packed with details, programming concepts and practical examples to understand, and interpret computer programs.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

Contributors to this article
Aaron Yoshitake from Pick a Kit

Nick Galov from Review42

Sam Gavis-Hughson from Byte by Byte

Clare Watson from Zolv

Nathan Finch from Aussie Hosting

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