Books for Beginners

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Illustration of a baby's dummy, and a pink one at that!

I have organised this page into a common section for both Web and Desktop developers and individual sections for each path, these are listed in roughly the order I would read them if I was starting, although please note – you are not expected to read all the common books before starting on your chosen path. I personally would read the first one, C# Step by Step, in conjunction with the first out of the web or desktop list and then take it from there. Please refer to my posts for beginners for further information.

Please check back to this page in the future, as I expect it to develop with the blog.

For Absolute Beginners

Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and other Beginners

I can’t recommend the books I used to learn, because they are 30 years old and don’t do the job as well as this one. If you know nothing about programming and would like to learn what its all about, if there is one book you should read, its this one.

Hello World!: Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners

For both Web and Desktop

Learning C# 2013 Step by Step

This book covers most of the C# language and is a easy read on the subject. It can be read from start to finish, provided you take the time to do the exercises and work with the examples.

View on amazon.co.uk: Microsoft Visual C# 2013 Step by Step (Step by Step (Microsoft))

SAMS, Teach yourself SQL in 10 Minutes

This book lays the groundwork for working with relational databases. It only really covers half the story – in that it doesn’t show you how to design one. But it does give you the tools – SQL – to be able to query, insert, update and delete data. You also need to know a data access technology within .NET such as ADO.NET, Linq to SQL or Entity Framework, but in order to use these – you’ve guessed it, you need SQL. So this is the first book of at least three you will need to know about databases.

View on amazon.co.uk: SQL in 10 Minutes, Sams Teach Yourself

Headfirst Object Orientated Analysis and Design

Head First books have a unique teaching method that is good for developers of all levels of experience, that help you remember what is read. For me the other element is working with examples, and despite the examples being in Java don’t let that put you off. Download Eclipse and type in the examples – its not that different to C#!

View on amazon.co.uk: Head First Object-Oriented Analysis and Design: A Brain Friendly Guide to OOA&D

Soft Skills by Jon Sonmez

This book has only just been published, but it is a future classic – that tells you everything you need to know outside of the technical aspect of being a developer. Its an easy read, with many small chapters, which I read from start to finish in a few days, just couldn’t put it down.

View on amazon.co.uk: Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manual

Clean Code by Robert C Martin

This one is aimed at developers of all levels, not just beginners. In my view its worth reading alongside one of the OOD books, because between this and the OOD book, you will learn something about design that will stick. Apart from that, lots of practice and experience building systems is required.

View on amazon.co.uk: Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship (Robert C. Martin)

Pro C# by Andrew Troelsen

When your skills are starting to come on, rather than read the Learning C# Step by Step book again, I would recommend what I view as the C# programming bible. Its readable, definitely not just a reference guide. A must read for all C# developers. I can’t imagine anybody reading it cover to cover though – some chapters are definitely for intermediate/experts.

View on amazon.co.uk: Pro C# 5.0 and the .NET 4.5 Framework (Expert’s Voice in .NET)

Web

Professional ASP.NET MVC 5

If you are new to web development, while it might be worth spending a very small amount of time on web forms (possibly the chapter from the C# Troelsen book on web forms), just to understand what it is. However the majority of your effort should be on MVC. Future versions of ASP.NET will combine the two but in 2015, there is no real need to write new apps using web forms. This book is not just a beginners book, but does cover MVC really well for readers who have some prior knowledge of C# and webpages.

View on amazon.co.uk: Professional ASP.NET MVC 5

Desktop

Pro WPF in C#, by Matthew Macdonald

Matthew Macdonald is an excellent teacher. His books are always clear, concise and full of the essential details. This one is no different.

View on amazon.co.uk: Pro Wpf 4.5 in C#: Windows Presentation Foundation in .Net 4.5 (Professional Apress)

HTML and CSS

CSS and HTML Web Design

This is a good book for HTML 4 and XHTML 4/CSS 2.1. Watch this space for a recommendation on HTML 5.

View on amazon.co.uk: The Essential Guide to CSS and HTML Web Design (Essentials)

Databases

Programming Microsoft SQL/Server 2012

This book is an excellent overview/reference book for SQL/Server, which gives the developer a guided tour of its features.

View on amazon.co.uk: Programming Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (Developer Reference)

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