The best book for software engineering beginners and professionals

best book for software engineering

  • The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (SICP) is a wonderful introduction to programming, computer science and—most importantly—abstraction. It does an incredible job of quickly covering basic CS, including the major different programming paradigms. Most importantly, it helps impart a true CS mindset and shows the inherent beauty and elegance of the subject. You can read it for free online.

  • Introduction to the Theory of Computation is one of the most readable texts I've come accross in any discipline. It gives a wonderful introduction to formal languages (not programming languages), computability and complexity. Apart from being a very accessible introduction to theoretical computer science, it also has an innovative structure for teaching proofs which I've found very valuable for learning to reason abstractly and formally without sacrificing clarity. It's well worth reading just for an example of how clear proofs can be.

  • Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (AIMA) is a strong introduction to AI. It covers the high level ideas necessary to approach the field as well as a nice covering set of basic AI algorithms. It's an incredibly popular text used in over 1200 universities.

  • Types and Programming Languages (TAPL) is a good overview of modern programming language design and theory. It's a good place to get a handle on the field as well as catch up with the last few decades of programming language research, much of which is only entering the mainstream now if at all. It's good as both a starting point for learning more advanced languages (like Haskell) and for understanding the design and trade-offs in more popular languages like Java.

  • Introduction to Algorithms is the standard reference on algorithms. It's good for both learning to design algorithms and just learning the standard set most programs rely on.

I actually learned algorithms with the prosaically named Algorithms by Dasgupta, Papadimitriou and Vazirani which was not too bad and is available free online.

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