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Experts Tell Us the Best Books To Learn Computer Science

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This article showcases our top picks for the Books To Learn Computer Science. We reached out to industry leaders and experts who have contributed the suggestions within this article (they have been credited for their contributions below). We are keen to hear your feedback on all of our content and our comment section is a moderated space to express your thoughts and feelings related (or not) to this article This list is in no particular order.

Get Coding! By Young Rewired State

This product was recommended by Louisa Smith from Epic Book Society

As a blogger, I find it is really useful to learn a little bit of CSS coding to make my website pop. I had bought a few coding books in the past, but they were all written with a wall of text, talk about very complicated tasks, and were usually targeted at people who had a little bit of knowledge already. The only code I knew, was how to make my font a different colour. When looking in the kid’s section of a book store one day, I found a book called ‘Get Coding!: Learn HTML, CSS & JavaScript & Build a Website, App & Game’ and it was exactly what I wanted – each section explains how to do simple coding to your website using cut diagrams, tons of imagery, and annotated examples. Sure, it’s aimed at 9-12-year-olds, but everyone learns differently, including adults, and I am definitely a more visual learner. As a complete novice at coding, this book was really useful, and it was fun, too!

Invitation to Computer Science By G.Michael Schneider

This product was recommended by Olivia Tan from CocoFax

I consider Invitation to Computer Science to be a modern classic when it comes to introduction to computer science books. A textbook offering a contemporary overview of computer science, it wasn’t a chore to read (unlike so many other college textbooks). It’s also PACKED with information. Written by G. Michael Schneider and Judith Gersting, this is a non-language-specific book that uses an algorithms approach. This book will help you learn a specific programming language.

The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software By Charles Petzold

This product was recommended by Alina Clark from CocoDoc

Seriously, if you are the kind of person who needs to understand where things came from to really understand them, this is a great book. It is truly a book on code, and not just how to code or what to do with code but what on earth is code and where did it come from. It explains computers and computing in more usable terms than more technical books on the same subject because it focuses on history and scope rather than technical depth. For a reader like me, who asked every teacher from elementary school through college why do we count to 10 and clung to the best answer of it’s arbitrary – it’s just how it’s always been done until reading this book (and who struggled to convert binary to base ten), this book was gold. Pure gold.

Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship By Robert C. Martin

This product was recommended by Sally Stevens from FastPeopleSearch

I’ve been programming about 17 years and consider myself above average programmer. Yet, this book made me feel like I’m actually horrible coder. I’ve always gotten my tasks done but I didn’t pay attention on refactoring to clean up the code. I’m already behind and got a demo coming up in few days. As I’m reading my guilty verdicts on all his ‘bad code’ examples, it inspire me to care about ‘coding’ yet again. It can be fun and it’s not all about getting the job done. What’s sad about the reality is that ‘bad code’ will continually increase over time because people don’t realize what ‘bad code’ can do in the long run. Every programmer regardless of experience should read this book.

Explorations in Computing By John S. Conery

This product was recommended by Gary Beckham from MetalicCards

It is ideal for alternative lecture styles, such as flipped classrooms, and is designed for CS0 and CS1 courses.*This text is a revised and updated version of the author’s Explorations in Computing: An Introduction to Computer Science, with two major differences. It now employs Python rather than Ruby as lab software, allowing students to seamlessly transition from introductory projects to more advanced studies in later courses. The book also introduces Python programming, *giving students enough programming skills to implement their own programs*. Practical, Step-by-Step ProjectsThe interactive lab projects in each chapter allow students to investigate key concepts in computer science, specifically how algorithms provide computational solutions to problems.

Types and Programming Languages By Benjamin C. Pierce

This product was recommended by Jonathan Brockman from Brockman Injury Lawyer

Although it’s a bit chewy, this book is very helpful for learning the different computer languages that you need to know – it’s accessible enough to newbies that it won’t completely confuse you, whilst still having all of the relevant information.

Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science By Grant Smith

This product was recommended by Laura Jimenez from Ishine365

This book is an amazing book that is very educational. The information in this book is very easy to understand and is presented in a very engaging way I’d recommend it for anyone who wants a clear basic explanation of coding/computer science. This entire series is wonderful. This book is very easy to read, follow, and retain info being taught. I love the organization of the books as well.

Logic, Mathematics, and Computer Science By Yves Nievergelt

This product was recommended by Steven Walker from Spylix

This work exposes the reader to logic, proofs, sets, and number theory. It’s also a great resource for educators and independent study students. This second edition adapts Foundations of Logic and Mathematics: Applications to Technology and Cryptography (2002 Birkhuser) to introduce the foundations of logic, mathematics, and computer science.

A Programmer’s Guide to Computer Science By Dr. William M Springer II

This product was recommended by Phillip Villegas from Three Pedal Mafia

It is highly suggested that you read A Programmer’s Guide to Computer Science. This book is essential reading for anyone who is self-taught, has graduated from a bootcamp, or even has a degree. This is a well-distilled book for individuals looking to master the principles of computer science, whether you’re a coding newbie or aself-taught developer.

Introduction to the Theory of Computation By Michael Sipser

This product was recommended by Mike Ward from The Finances Hub

I wish I could go back in time and hand my younger self this book. Anyone wanting to pursue a Computer Science degree should read this book, particularly chapter 0. It explains what will be expected of you to go down this path. And the level of math you need to prepare for. Michael’s clear language makes even the harder concepts easy to understand. The later chapters do get a little wordy, but you can stick to the book’s first half and inch forward as you start grasping the concepts. But be assured, all the ideas are put in a friendly manner allowing one to focus on the concepts and not get lost on big words.

Programming with Scala By Bhim P. Upadhyaya

This product was recommended by Denise Muteiwa from Dehumidifier Depot

This reader-friendly textbook provides a succinct and easy-to-understand overview of Scala. Scala is an excellent first programming language since it supports many programming paradigms and allows developers to work more efficiently with new computing infrastructures like networked environments. The structure of this book (Programming with Scala – Language Exploration) is excellent. The topics are evenly distributed, and the duration is appropriate for a working professional. This book can be finished in a week if you are a fast reader. In addition, the author provides complete examples so that you can run the program quickly.

Practical Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science By Paul Gries, Paul Gries and Jason Montojo

This product was recommended by Denise Muteiwa from Dehumidifier Depot

This Practical Programming book, even at its elementary level, is a terrific resource for anyone new to programming or a seasoned professional looking to learn the popular Python language. You’ll learn about key computer science principles including design, algorithms, testing, and debugging in this book.

Computational Thinking for the Modern Problem Solver By David Riley & Kenny Hunt

This product was recommended by Kathleen Ahmmed from USCarJunker

Computational Thinking for the Modern Problem Solver uses a number of examples and analogies to show readers how computer science concepts can be applied to other fields. And with a focus on both foundational computer science concepts and engineering topics, the book does a good job of covering aspects like abstraction, graph theory, logic, numeric modeling as well as fundamental concepts of programming like sequential execution, data organization, and more. This makes it one of the best books for those looking to improve their competency in computer science.

Computer Science Illuminated By Nell Dale

This product was recommended by Alex Bryce from Weinvoice

Why I am suggesting this book: In my opinion, Computer Science Illuminated is the best introductory book for those beginners seeking to find in-depth knowledge of the subject. From a language-neutral perspective, the book attempts to teach all essential components of the field, including hardware, operating systems, programming, applications, communications, etc. Moreover, it also introduces the readers to prominent areas such as cloud computing, systems security, and cyberspace. Finally, the book uses pseudocodes to prepare the readers to handle real-life problems. Therefore, the introductory chapters on languages like Java, C++, and Python are of much value for a new learner.

Python for Everybody By Dr. Charles Russell Severance

This product was recommended by Bob Scott from Sell Land

This book gives you a simple, digestible and readily applicable introduction to programming and computer science. Python is considered the most popular programming language for data science. As we all know now, ‘Data is the new oil’, and anyone looking to dig in search of this oil will benefit greatly from this book. The author is Dr. Charles Severance, a Clinical Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. He teaches online courses at Coursera, edX and FutureLearn; check him out, he knows his stuff.

Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science By John Zelle

This product was recommended by Shiv Gupta from Incrementors Inbound Marketing

John Zelle Python programming: an introduction to computer science has been updated to include Python 3. It’s designed to be used as a primary textbook for college-level courses, similar to Invitation to Computer Science. As a result, it’s perfect for students that learn best through academics. First, you’ll learn about computer science’s essential skills, such as problem-solving, design, and programming. All of these issues are addressed using the Python programming language. Throughout the book, there are numerous images, examples, and practice problems. True/false and multiple-choice questions are also available. However, don’t expect to acquire a thorough Python education. Instead, you’ll learn Python as a tool for addressing computer science issues.

Algorithms to Live By The Computer Science of Human Decisions By Tom Griffiths

This product was recommended by Alex Bryce from Weinvoice

In an era where computers are programmed to accomplish a wide range of tasks, it’s imperative to have an in-depth understanding of how this is achieved which is why this book shouldn’t miss on your shelf if you’re looking forward to learning and perhaps building a career in computer science. The authors give an in-depth guide on how computer algorithms can be applied to solve problems in the most elementary way. I recommend this book since it features practical advice on a wide range of things such as how to effectively use time, how to optimize productivity, etc.

SQL Performance Explained by Markus Winand

This product was recommended by Aaron Hammer from Splury LLC

It is absolutely essential for any developer trying to understand how to write SQL without getting too much into the weeds. It helps explain database performance and why and how queries execute. It provides background knowledge to help you speed up any stubbornly slow queries. I’ve personally been the hero at work before for understanding how queries run thanks to this book. Not knowing how SQL can be a huge determent in your career. It is one of the most popular languages and is found at nearly every company. If you have to read any book on SQL, this is the one you should read.

Computer Science Distilled By Wladston Ferreira Filho

This product was recommended by Richard Lubicky from RealPeopleSearch

For those who want to get started in the study of computer science, the book Computer Science Distilled by Wladston Ferreira Filho is a great starting point. He teaches the fundamentals of the area, through simple and accessible language, inviting even those who are not very familiar with the subject. The reader will understand what computer science is all about: the solution of computational problems, with the help of mathematical tools and strategies that the author approaches didactically. He introduces variables and other operators, the basics of programming, as well as equations useful in solving problems, from the simplest to the highly complex. Even if your forte isn’t exact, don’t worry, as the author introduces the concepts at a pace that won’t leave anyone stranded. In a short time, the reader will understand what algorithms are, their function, how they behave under different inputs, among other fundamentals. Anyone who is already a programmer will also benefit from the teachings found in Computer Science Distilled. It is a complement to the practical knowledge and will equip the reader with tools that will help you solve computing problems more accurately and quickly.

The Self-Taught Computer Scientist By Cory Althoff

This product was recommended by Stephen Curry from Coco Sign

This is a great book for those who want to learn more about the computer science field but don’t have a solid background. It provides a detailed explanation of data structures and algorithms, which are two of the most important concepts in computer science. I found this book extremely helpful in generating new ideas for my own projects. The book begins by explaining basic concepts related to data structures, such as lists, stacks and queues. It then takes a look at the concept of an algorithm — a set of instructions for solving problems such as sorting. Algorithms are put into practice using the Ruby programming language, creating the foundation for the rest of the book.

Code Complete: A Practical Handbook By Steve McConnell

This product was recommended by Colin Barker from FilterSmart

The book is a great practical guide to programming. This classic book is now updated with all new code samples, which illustrate the science and art of software construction. You can learn from this book no matter what level of experience, environment, or project size you have. It will strengthen your thinking and help you build the best code. It will teach you to be at the top of all new trends in the field of computer science.

Soft Skills: The Software Developer’s Life Manual By John Sonmez

This product was recommended by James Brooks from Costumes Heaven

The Software Developer’s Life Manual’ is a book which gives you complete knowledge of computer science. All the concepts are explained in detail with lots of examples and good samples. After reading this book you can easily learn computer science and you will become able to solve any problem or will be able to write any program in life without any difficulty. The knowledge that you gain from this book is necessary for all the developers who want to make their career in the software industry.

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