Best Books for Beginners in Java

6 books that every Java programmer should read

If you’re just starting off as a Java programmer and are wondering how you can improve your coding skills, you’ve come to the right place.

As a novice programmer, it’s essential to do your research and discover a variety of topics, from syntax to semantics. Contrary to popular belief, one of the best ways to do this is by reading books on Java programming.

Practice is key, sure, but you can’t practice without learning theory at all. Then let’s explore a selection of books on the Java programming language and why you may need them.This list was compiled with the help of the article - books for beginners and advanced learners on Codegym.

Why Do Books Still Matter?

There are a few reasons why you should still be reading books even though you have tons of information available for every programming language on the internet.

For starters, since Java is one of the oldest programming languages in the world, a large number of these books are actually written by programmers with years of experience in the field. They can:

  • Tell you how to approach different complex subjects.
  • Share relevant examples.
  • Explain how you’ll be able to use certain programming concepts in real-life scenarios.

As authority figures in the programming world, these authors will also encourage you to actually play around with different challenging tasks and think outside the box to solve coding problems in different ways.

6 Books Every Java Programmer Should Read

Without further ado, here are six books for different levels of Java expertise that you may find useful.

1. Head-First Java

Authors: Kathy Sierra and Berth Bates

Audience: Beginners

Easily one of the best introductions to Java, this book is full of visual elements to ensure that you won’t lose interest or get too intimidated by programming. The best part about the book is that it is written in a conversational style instead of complex or boring language that could leave you uninterested.

While you won’t be able to start coding complex programs immediately after reading this book, you will certainly have a better grasp over the most important concepts of the programming language. Such an approach should allow you to start coding more comfortably. Unlike most books out there, the chapters in Head-first Java end with puzzles and exercises. You can immediately practice what you learned in the last few pages and refer back in case you’re having trouble with certain concepts.

2. Java: A Beginner’s Guide

Author: Herbert Schildt

Audience: Students and novice programmers

Java is a very broad language with some interesting concepts which can yet be a little difficult for beginners to understand. Especially if you haven’t used an object-oriented programming language before. This book aims to solve that problem by slowly and gradually introducing novice programmers to slightly more advanced topics and concepts in an easy-to-understand manner.

To make things even easier for programmers, Java code is also explained line-by-line in this book so that you can always refer back to the book in case you get confused. If you love a challenge, don’t forget to take the test at the end of each chapter to gauge your progress!

Now, even though the tone of this book isn’t as conversational as the first one in our list, the language is still plain enough for beginners to understand. Top that up with just the right amount of examples and you’ve got yourself one of the top 5 Java books for beginners.

3. Head First Design Patterns

Author: Eric Freeman

Audience: Beginners of design patterns and object-oriented programming

Aimed at programmers with some working knowledge of Java programming, this book is the perfect introduction to design patterns and object-oriented programming. Complete with memory maps and relevant exercises, this book will help you understand how design patterns can solve common problems in Java and how you can efficiently apply design patterns to solve problems faster.

4. Thinking in Java

Author: Bruce Eckel

Audience: Beginner to Advanced

As a programmer, it’s absolutely imperative for you to start thinking of the most efficient and practical solutions to common challenges and coding problems. If that’s what you’re interested in doing, this is the book for you.

Thinking in Java is the ideal book for beginners interested in improving their programming skills. Introducing readers to a variety of concepts including concurrency and XML, this is one of those books that you should always keep by your side no matter how many years you’ve spent coding in Java.

5. Effective Java

Author: Joshua Bloch

Audience: Intermediate level developers

When you’re learning how to code in Java, you’ll inevitably need a shift in perspective to solve more difficult problems. If that’s the level you’re at, then this is the perfect book for you.

Effective Java helps readers approach problems in a variety of ways by offering practical guides and explanations to solve both common and uncommon problems of Java programming. The book allows the readers to get a deeper level of understanding of the concepts involved.

6. Clean Code

Author: Robert C. Martin (aka Uncle Bob)

Audience: Developers with basic knowledge of Java

As the name suggests, this book focuses on writing code that’s efficient and ‘clean.’ The book is divided into a few different sections addressing everything from the best practices of writing clean code to case studies that explain how you can optimize your code to make it faster and more efficient.

As you progress further in the book, you’ll also see regular recaps of the concepts and best practices shared in previous chapters ensuring that you retain the information that was taught earlier on in the book.


And with that, we conclude our reading list for beginners and experts. While each of these books come with elements that make them unique, they all have one thing in common: they’re bound to help you improve your skills as a programmer.

So, which one will you read first?

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