Ever been to a book shop offering technical books in India? The titles that usually abound are things like “C++ in 24 days”, “Complete Java”, “C++ reference” etc. Substitute C++ or Java with the tool or language of your choice (PL SQL / ASP / XML / C#) and you have a rocking bookshop ready. At least thats so true about the normal shops i come acrss

My advice to folks who consume these edifices of knowledge in its entirety, stop – desist – nada. A good text about programming in general or designs or patterns is worth more, that twenty such books.  Knowledge about a new pattern or the body of programming in general would do you good in days to come, than a particular tool or specifics of  a particular platform, assuming of-course that you are into programming and not infrastructure or administrative line of work.

Knowing the isoterics of C++ parsing rules like even Bjarn Stroustrup cant get a question past  you is definitely cool. But thats where it ends. Its definitely not useful beyond getting hired in the sweat shops fuelled by the crazy IT era, where just muttering the word C++ can get you a high paying job. The same sweat shop style of interviews still exist, where the interviews get off the block by definitions of “interface” / “virtual” and all those keywords that gets a dedicated chapter in the interviewer’s favorite 24 hours technical book. They do it because most of them where hired in the same manner.

Since its books that we started off with, here are my recommendations.

  1. Programming Pearls
  2. The Practise of programming
  3. Heads up Design patterns
  4. Design Patterns – The Gang of four  book
  5. Refactoring : Improving the designs of existing code
  6. Code complete 2
  7. The Mythical Man Month
  8. The Elements of Programming Style
  9. The Design of everyday things

Books on project management, user interface, designs would also be well worth the read, depending on your requirement. Being able to creating working software, and knowing the trade-offs before you actually implement the code is more challenging and useful compared to all those esoteric syntax listed in the “24 days” book you will buy.