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Jerod Santo
Jerod Santo

Posted on • Originally published at

8 great reads for aspiring JavaScript devs 📚

Divya, Emma, and I had a gab session on BOOKS during the final segment of JS Party #73.

The list of recommended reads from that convo was too good to only exist buried in the episode's show notes, so here they are: some must-read books for aspiring JS devs!

1. Refactoring UI

The pitch:

Learn how to design beautiful user interfaces by yourself using specific tactics explained from a developer's point-of-view.

Emma recommends. Divya adds her +1, saying:

It's excellent. For people who don't consider themselves designer, but want to learn more. It's sooo good.

2. The Pragmatic Programmer

An absolute classic by Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas. The pitch:

Straight from the programming trenches, The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master cuts through the increasing specialization and technicalities of modern software development to examine the core process—what do you do, as an individual and as a team, if you want to create software that’s easy to work with and good for your users.

What Jerod says about it:

A spectacular book that every developer would do well to read.

3. The Mythical Man-Month

The pitch:

A book on software engineering and project management by Fred Brooks first published in 1975... Its central theme is that "adding manpower to a late software project makes it later". This idea is known as Brooks' law, and is presented along with the second-system effect and advocacy of prototyping.

Jerod says:

It can be summarized in a single sentence. "9 pregnant women can't have a baby in 1 month." Take that sentence and apply it to software development.

4. You Don't Know JS

The pitch:

A book series exploring the parts of JavaScript that we all think we understand but don't REALLY know.

Emma says:

Kyle Simpson is one of the most prolific teachers I've found.. all of his books are free, which is incredible... it wasn't until he explained closures that I understood it.

5. Professional JavaScript for Web Developers

The pitch:

This book provides a developer-level introduction along with more advanced and useful features of JavaScript.

Emma says:

This is quite a BIG book. I pieced through it, and enjoyed it.

6. Learn JavaScript & jQuery

The pitch:

We understand that all kinds of people build websites these days (and that they don’t all have a degree in computer science). So, if you want to use JavaScript to make your web pages more interactive, interesting, and usable, we can help. Even if you have never done any programming.

Emma says:

This one is more for beginners... I only read the JavaScript portion. They use these beautiful graphics to explain concepts like scope and event delegation. It's extremely beginner friendly.

7. Code Complete

The pitch:

A software development book, written by Steve McConnell and published in 1993 encouraging developers to continue past code-and-fix programming and the big design up front and waterfall models. It is also a compendium of software construction techniques, which include techniques from naming variables to deciding when to write a subroutine.

Divya says:

One of the books that I always come back to when I think about the overarching philosophy of decisions I make. It's a long read, but is available online for free.

8. Learning JavaScript Design Patterns

The pitch:

Design patterns are reusable solutions to commonly occurring problems in software design. They are both exciting and a fascinating topic to explore in any programming language... In this book we will explore applying both classical and modern design patterns to the JavaScript programming language.

Emma says:

Highly recommend if you want to learn more about designing code in effective ways.

Divya adds:

That was my goto Bible, so to speak, when I wasn't using frameworks. I was just doing things vanilla style... that book helped me understand what a singleton is.

There's your rundown. ✊

Interested in the people behind these recommendations? Want to know how to talk about books that you haven't read? Curious how Jerod made it through half a dozen books in two-weeks time? Listen to the entire episode right here 👇

play pause JS Party

Of course, if you dig this show you'll probably like all of our podcasts. Check out our Master feed where you can get every episode we publish (including exclusive master-only content). 💚

Top comments (10)

rferromoreno profile image
Ricardo Ferro Moreno

My suggestions to complete your list (all JS related)

  • Speaking JavaScript (Axel Rauschmayer)
  • JavaScript: The Good Parts (Douglas Crockford)
  • Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja (John Resig/Bear Bibeault/Josip Maras)
  • The Modern JavaScript Collection (SitePoint)

If you're looking for proficiency on JS, those are a must read!

brianjenkins94 profile image
Brian Jenkins

Crockford has a new book: How JavaScript Works

cipriantepes profile image
Ciprian Tepes


gypsydave5 profile image
David Wickes • Edited

Aspiring JS developers? I know some seasoned JavaScript developers who could do with reading these books. Heck, most developers I know could do with a read of The Mythical Man Month. Then, after they've read it, they should put it on the top of the desk of the nearest manager they can find.

These books are all great - it's got some classics of weighty code (MMM, Code Complete, PragProg) along with some JS specific stuff.

Aren't you a bit worried that some of these books are a bit too, well... BIG. Code Complete is a ruddy doorstop of a book. I'm not saying that they're not worth reading, but if you're an aspiring developer then surely you'd be better focusing on cracking on with writing some JavaScript rather that wading through a book about project management for an IBM operating system in the 80s (and I say that as someone who loved MMM)?

Anyway, to be hypocritical let me add to your list...

If I were recommending one book for someone who wanted to completely flip and level up how they write JavaScript, I'd go for The Little Schemer.

Wait, a book that's not even about JavaScript? You're mad Dave.

What you'll get out of The Little Schemer is a good introduction to functional programming. That's the best way (imho) to write JavaScript, and a real skill for life as a programmer.

It introduces a simple language - Scheme - and shows you just how much you can achieve by using nothing but functions to program with. You'll quickly work out how to apply the techniques and ideas from the book to JavaScript programming (and any other language for that matter).

It's short, it's simple, it's really sweet (cute elephant pictures) and it's written in a style unlike anything you'll ever read.

And it will blow your mind.

betheackers profile image
Beth Ackerman

A great list. Code Complete is a hard slog, but so much goodness in there.

I'd add Eloquent JavaScript by Marijn Haverbeke to this list ( A great introduction to JavaScript! It's an online book with interactive exercises. You can also buy it in hard copy.

curiousdeveloper profile image
Prashant Rawal

Eloquent javascript is not for beginners IMO. But it's definitely one of my favorite

emmabostian profile image
Emma Bostian ✨

Woooo thanks Jerod!

codestaintin profile image
Isioye Mohammed • Edited

Thanks for the amazing list, I recommend this as well

anthonybronkema profile image
Anthony Bronkema

Awesome list - I think it would have been a nice consideration to include the authors’ names with the title. Some of them are called out in the pitch (nicely done), some not. Just a nitpick on an otherwise fantastic resource. Thank you!

namstel profile image

Thanks for this awesome list. Looks like I've got some more reading material for my vacations. :)