Best Books To Learn Coding For Beginners

Learning to code can seem like a daunting task, especially when you aren’t sure which language or book to start with. While coding can be a very exciting and useful skill to learn, the many different languages you could learn and the many different teachers and skills you can learn from can make choosing and starting on a path to coding feel overwhelming. These problems can be especially prevalent when you aren’t even sure what kind of coding you’d like to do – front end, backend, or full-stack. 

  • As a beginner, to start with something easy, go for books on Python 
  • If you want to make apps for mobile, books on Java 
  • If you are looking for a transferable foundation, choose books on C 
  • For front-end development, you’ll want books on JavaScript 
  • Books on Ruby are best to program a startup 

In this article, we will explore books for programing languages best suited for beginners. These beginner languages include Python, Java, C, JavaScript, and Ruby. We will recommend four books in each language so you can be sure to find one that fits your learning style. We’ll dive into which language might be right for you, as well as the defining qualities in each book that might make them perfect for you. Read on to find the best books for your beginner coding needs. 

Python Books For Beginners

Python is a great programming language to learn first. Because it reads similar to English and gives you the knowledge of basic coding practices, it’s a great place to start. While other languages may require you to be obsessed with details that are small, Python sticks to the foundational basics. Below we list some books to help you get started.  

Head-First Python (2nd Edition)

According to, Head-First Python is both an easy and quick fix for learning the programming basics of Python. While working with data structures and built-in functions, you will be able to rapidly grasp the language fundamentals. This book discusses the concepts of: 

  • Data wrangling
  • Exception handling 
  • How to build your web application 

If you are a visual learner, this book will be especially helpful as it uses a visual format to deepen your understanding instead of a text-based approach. 

This easy-to-grasp book by Paul Berry is a reliable source for new coders. As a lecturer at the Institute of Technology and with 10 years of working experience in the I.T. industry, Paul Berry is a great place to start to build a comprehensive understanding of Python. 

This book can be found here on Amazon.

Python Crash Course 

For those looking to create useful programs through Python in no time at all, Python Crash Course is the book for you. If you want to dive right in and be writing real programs sooner rather than later, this book is your golden ticket. Python Crash Course will walk you through:

  • Django 
  • Libraries 
  • Matplotlib 
  • Plotly 
  • Pygame 

You’ll also be working with data to create interactive visualizations. 

While this book is quite long, it can be divided into two parts.

Part one focuses on Python basics and the concepts of: 

  • Classes 
  • Dictionaries 
  • Lists
  • Loops 

In this part, you are taught how to create readable and clean code and interactive programs. 

Part two takes an approach that’s a bit more practical. Your knowledge is tested with three projects: 

  • A Space Invaders inspired arcade game
  • A web app you can deploy online
  • Data visualizations with Python’s libraries

Python Crash Course’s author, Eric Mathes, teaches an introduction to Python high school course. This, along with the fact that’s he’s been coding since the mere age of five, makes him an excellent teacher for those just starting to learn Python programming. 

This book can be found here on Amazon.

Learning Python (5th Edition)

An in-depth introduction to the Python language’s core, Learning Python by Mark Lutz, is a comprehensive guide for those who wish to learn and excel in Python. From both developers who are just beginning through professional coders, this book is for everyone. Learning Python explores the major built-in object types, including: 

  • Dictionaries 
  • Lists
  • Numbers

Additionally, you will learn to organize statements as well as about code redundancy. 

For advanced programmers, these topics are discussed in-depth and in detail: 

  • Descriptors
  • Metaclasses 
  • Unicode processing decorators

As a beginner, you will foster an understanding of more general concepts like development tools and exception handling.

According to Orielly, Mark Lutz is hugely responsible for the widespread use and popularity of the Python language. In addition to having written multiple other well-respected Python books, including “Python Pocket Reference,” an object-oriented programming language, Lutz has had 20+ years of experience teaching Python to new programmers. Lutz’s experience with Python makes his books an excellent staple in your Python library. 

This book can be found here on Amazon.

Learning With Python (How to Think Like a Computer Scientist)

Learning with Python serves as a Python introduction for beginners who want to create real-world programs. With 20 sections, the book starts by discussing how the program is made up as well as its basics. The book then moves into the concept of: 

  • Conditionals 
  • Fruitful functions
  • Functions
  • Iteration
  • Variables 

Lastly, the book dives into: 

  • Debugging
  • Inheritance
  • Lists
  • Objects 
  • Queues 
  • Stacks
  • Trees 

This book by Is filled to brim with valuable information for new coders. Its Author Allen Downey is trusted by many in the world of computer science as a professor of the subject at Olin College in Needham, MA. Also, the author of Think Python, Think Bayes, and Think Stats, he is a well-established source of knowledge for computer scientists everywhere.

This book can be found here on Amazon.

Java Books For Beginners

Java is a programming language that is: 

  • Feature-heavy
  • In high demand 
  • Object-oriented

With a cross-platform, any device promise, Java is known as a “Write once use anywhere” program. With employers like IBM, eBay, and Amazon being top Java employers learning this language will result in a lucrative programming career as it’s one of the most desired languages in business.

If you are looking to build mobile apps, Java is a great choice. Android’s operating system is run by Java, and so are its apps. Similarly, iOs apps are also developed with Java. 

Although Java is a multi and widely used language, it’s a high-level language, so it is going to take beginners a bit longer to learn. Despite the time it will take to learn the language, it opens a lot of opportunities for employment and in app design. So, let’s discuss some books that might help kickstart your Java Career.

Java: Programming Basics For Absolute Beginners (1st Edition)

Written for beginners, this book provides you with a thorough step-by-step guide through its first program. It also shows you the inner workings of Java’s runtime climate and development kit. Programming Basics for Absolute Beginners gives readers examples that illustrate each topic, including: 

  • Constants 
  • Data Types 
  • Decision Making 
  • Loops
  • Operators 
  • Type Conversion 
  • Variables

With Nathan Clark’s book, you will learn Java’s key topics, and in no time, you will be solving problems and writing programs. With 20 years of experience in software and a Master’s from MIT, Clark has extensive knowledge of software development. He is an expert in the software industry, fit to teach any aspiring programmer.

This book can be found here on Amazon.

Core Java Volume I – Fundamentals (11th Edition)

According to geeks for geeks, if you are looking to understand Java fundamentals at their core, this book is what you need! With examples that reflect modularization, which demonstrates easier to evolve and easier to manage code, you’ll receive in-depth education about API and Java. 

The topics in this book range from basic to advanced concepts, discussing things like: 

  • Data structures
  • Variables
  • Objects 
  • Classes 
  • Lambda expressions 
  • Collections
  • Concurrency 
  • Generics
  • Functional programming 
  • Swing design

As a professor of computer science at San Jose State University and a choice speaker at conferences for computer science, Cay Horstmann’s expertise in Java programming is unmatched, making him a most reliable Java language teacher. 

This book can be found here on Amazon.

Java: The Complete Reference (11th Edition)

If you are looking for a basics approach to learn Java, Java: The Complete Reference is a great source. With real-world Java programming examples, this reference is a well-structured tool for both beginners and more experienced programmers looking to get back to the fundamentals. It covers Java’s: 

  • keywords, 
  • syntax, and 
  • basic programming principles. 

It also covers the more complex Java topics such as: 

  • The concurrency utilities 
  • Java API library
  • JavaBeans
  • Swing 
  • Servlets

Labeled one of the world’s foremost programming authors by International Developer Magazine, Herbert Schildt has 30+ years’ experience of programming writing under his belt. While he is interested in all areas of computing, his primary focus is languages, making him one of the best places to go to learn Java. 

This book can be found here on Amazon.

Thinking in Java (4th Edition)

With a thorough guide, this hands-on book will help you write Java code in the most efficient way using its best features. This book starts with an object-oriented introduction then leads into the topics of Introduction to: 

  • XML
  • Design patterns 
  • Concurrency

In its 4th Edition, with 500+ programs and 700+ compiling files, it will always be a relevant source for Java coding.

Author Bruce Eckel’s aim is to write for programmers with little to no experience who are looking to dive into the world of programming. With an M.S. in computer engineering and hundreds of presentations delivered around the world, Eckle is “The Author” for new coders.

This book can be found here on Amazon.

C Books For Beginners

C is a great first language to learn because it implements all other programming languages. That being said, it is also one of the more difficult to learn languages. C is great for learning how computers function because it’s more of a machine-level program. 

Software developers describe C as learning the anatomy of a computer before operating with it, similar to what you would do as a doctor. This makes it the most efficient way to code. 

In this next part, we will discuss books that will help you dig into the anatomy of the C language.

C Programming: Absolute Beginners Guide

According to guru99, this book dives into the basic concepts of C language in easy and clear steps. The guide explores: 

  • Operators 
  • Functions
  • Pointer variables
  • i/o 
  • Many other C language topics 

This book also dives into methods you can use for organizing programs.

Author Greg Perry has taught programming to thousands both in the classroom and through lectures. With two million books sold internationally and 20 years of programming experience, he’s written for P.C. World and Data Training magazines. Additionally, he’s written many books in the “Teach Yourself Beginning Programming in 24 Hours” series and “C By Example.” With this much experience in programming, Greg Perry is not an author you will want to bypass. 

This book can be found here on Amazon.

C Programming In Easy Steps (5th Edition) 

This book serves readers as an easy-to-follow tool for C programming. C Programming in Easy Steps is a top choice for students studying C programming in universities as well as in high schools. If you are looking to further your understanding of procedural programming on a fundamental level, this book is ideal. It’s a great starting point for those who want to pursue a career in computing. 

An established author with extensive computer language knowledge, Mcgrath is a well-founded source for easy-to-understand coding books. As a contract developer for companies around the world, McGrath is trusted by many. 

This book can be found here on Amazon.

Head First C: A Brain-Friendly Guide

Head First C is an in-depth look at C language. This book helps you understand how you can become a great programmer with an approach that goes above and beyond the how-to’s and syntax to turn you into a great programmer. 

This book tests your abilities and skills with projects that go in-depth by covering areas of:

  • Dynamic memory management
  • Pointers 
  • Pointer arithmetic 
  • Language basics

With his knack for programming beginning at the age of 12, David Griffiths writes code for computers and programming magazine articles. As a consultant and writer, Griffiths continues to be a go-to for coders looking to learn and grow their programming skills.

This book can be found here on Amazon.

C Programming: A Modern Approach

This book is a great starting point for a programmer with zero prior experience. C Programming: A Modern Approach gives learners a comprehensive look at C programmings concepts. 

With the use of easy to understand language by author K.N. King, you’ll go from beginner to advanced in no time. With extensive updates and revisions, this book has an abundance of exercises and programming projects. Additionally, if you are looking to use the Standard C Library, this book offers all the information you’ll need to use it.

As an Associate Professor in computer science at Georgia State University with a Ph.D. from The University of California, K.N. King is a leading source of knowledge for new programmers. 

This book can be found here on Amazon. 

JavaScript Books For Beginners: Small Details

Instagram, Gmail, Spotify, Twitter, and Facebook all rely on Javascript. It’s an enormously popular language, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. 

It’s a front-end development essential, as it’s a must-have for websites with interactivity. Although it may seem difficult at first, it is by far not the most challenging, and, while across browsers, it can be interpreted differently, you don’t have to download it because all browsers have it built-in. 

In the next section, we’ll explore some books that will help you use this easily accessible programming language.

Eloquent JavaScript: A Modern Introduction to Programming (3rd Edition)

Recommended by experienced developers, this book is a great introduction to JavaScript for beginners. This book is packed high with extensive examples, exercises, and programs that give readers hands-on experience. With this book, you will not only have the chance to practice and write an application, but you can also create your own. 

Additionally, according to Career Karma, this book includes updated methods of Javascript that are reflective of its current state in browsers. 

Author Marijn Haverbeke, described as a programming language enthusiast, has written a wide range of open-source software. Having won the JS1K—JavaScript Demo in 1024 Bytes contest, he is more than qualified to be introducing programmers to the JavaScript language in a hands-on way. 

This book can be found here on Amazon.

JavaScript: The Good Parts

If you are in the market for a JavaScript crash course, look no further than JavaScript: The Good Parts. As JavaScript is a widely used language across the board, it’s going to have its pros and cons, so it’s important to have an understanding of both its good parts and the parts you might want to stay away from and how to do it.

It’s in this book that the evolution and history of JavaScript are covered as well as its well-intentioned and most elegant parts. Topics explored include: 

  • Functions
  • Inheritance 
  • Methods
  • Regular expressions
  • Syntax
  • And more

Douglass Crockford, the creator of Tilton, the macro-processor, is most notably known for discovering that there are, in fact, good parts to JavaScript’s complex scripting language. So, if there is anyone you’d want to learn JavaScript from in the most efficient and painless way, it’s Crockford. 

This book can be found here on Amazon.

Effective JavaScript: 68 Specific Ways to Harness the Power of JavaScript, David Herman

This book is a deep dive into the best practices of JavaScript for all skill levels. Writing effective code is made easy with Herman’s experience and realistic examples displayed in this book. If you are just starting programming, you will learn all the tricks and gain an understanding of how to produce effective, maintainable, and reliable code.

If there is anyone you want to learn JavaScript from, it is David Herman. Herman Serves on Ecma 39 ( International Technical Committee ), a  committee that standardizes, maintains, and evolves JavaScript. His committee status, along with his Ph.D. in computer science, makes him a more than trusted knowledge source for those looking to master JavaScript.

This book can be found here on Amazon.

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide: Activate Your Web Pages, David Flanagan

Experienced programmers have long recommended this book for the basics as well as web platform API and JavaScript features for web application development. With new web development practices along with HTML5 and ECMAScript5, this book is all-encompassing. If you are looking to master web programming languages, you must have this book. 

David Flanagan is the author of many popular Java and JavaScript books including, “Java In a Nutshell.” His Experience as a JavaScript writer, as well as his degree in computer science, shows his ability to effectively break down Java and JavaScript complexities for those wishing to learn more about the language. 

This book can be found here on Amazon.

Ruby Books For Beginners

Similar to Python, Ruby is best for absolute beginners. This is because it’s one of the easiest languages to learn. There is no need for programming vocabulary or commands, and it has a wide variety of tools and libraries. 

Ruby is great for those small business owners looking to design their startups’ websites, although it can be a challenge to scale. The books in this next part will help you rapidly increase your understanding of the Ruby language.

Learn Ruby In 24 Hours

Through the use of practical examples and detailed instructions, fundamental aspects of Ruby programming are presented in this book by Robert Dwight. In only 110 pages, this book encompasses: 

  • Inheritance 
  • Objects loops 
  • Classes

Updated with Ruby 2.x, it covers both new features and the basics. 

Robert Dwight is the author of many other well-known books in the 24-hour coding series including, Learn PHP, Learn JavaScript, and Learn Python in 24-Hours or Less. This series shows Robert Dwight’s commitment to serving beginner coders with the most knowledge in the most efficient and least time-consuming way. 

This book can be found here on Amazon.

Intro to Ruby Programming Beginners Guide

The ins and outs of Ruby programming are walked through in this step-by-step guide.    

Methods, hashes, variables, loops, array, if statements, math, and much more are learned in this book. Additionally, practice exercises are placed at the end of each chapter to ensure your understanding. 

According to Books On Code, this guide will polish your Ruby skills with: 

  • String manipulations
  • Multiple conditionals 
  • More advanced concepts like methods and hashes

Author John Elder is the founder of both Banner Clicks, The Advertising Network, and Codemy, a site that teaches people to code through online video courses. Students of Elder say he’s a brilliant teacher with great flow from one concept to another.

What better author to learn Ruby from than one who founded an entire website dedicated to teaching new coders the ins and outs of various coding languages, including: 

  • Java 
  • Ruby
  • Python 
  • Many more

This book can be found here on Amazon.

Ruby For Beginners: Your Guide To Easily Learn Ruby Programming in 7 Days

This book from icodeacademy is expertly crafted for novice programmers. This book gives new programmers confidence through practice and experience as it covers:

  • Flow control
  • Iterators 
  • Loops
  • Methods
  • Variables
  • And much more 

This book’s use of ample practice programs ensures you don’t move onto the next concept until you’ve understood the basics. As a guide with both basics and advanced concepts, it’s a top choice for newbies.

Icodeacademy is an online school dedicated to providing students with the fundamentals of medical coding and getting rid of the coding career crisis. Icodeacademy’s passion for training coders for the betterment of the healthcare industry makes them a great place to get reliable coding knowledge. 

This book can be found here on Amazon.

The Well-Grounded Rubyist

With topics like reflection threading and recursion, this book takes sophisticated concepts and turns them into an easy-to-read walk-through. Written casually, the book incorporates exercises of high value for you to practice and hone your skills. With three parts, this book dives into the foundations of Ruby modules’ built-in classes and Ruby dynamics. This book is great for coders and programs that are intermediate and new to Ruby. 

David A Black, a well-known software developer with a deep connection to the Ruby language, has contributed to many popular Ruby books, including “Ruby in Practice.” Multiple-time lead organizer at the Gotham Ruby Conference, Joseph Leo III, is the founder of NYC-based software engineering consultancy. Both authors’ passion for the Ruby language makes them excellent sources for learning the Ruby language.

This book can be found here on Amazon.


Learning how to code can be challenging. It’s hard enough to figure out which language you should learn, but finding the right resources to learn from is a whole different question. Luckily, these selections will give you some insight into what type of coding is right for you, what language you might want to learn, and what books will be most effective for you as a beginner. 

Whether you want to start with something easy like Python, make mobile apps with Java, want to establish a coding foundation with C, focus on front-end development with JavaScript, or just learn to program your startups’ website with Ruby, there is a book that’s right for you. 


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