Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Top 5 Books for Programming/Coding Interviews - Best of lot

If you are preparing for Programming Job interviews and looking for some of the best books for programming questions, then you have come to the right place. In this article, I am going to share a couple of good books to prepare coding, software design, and data structure algorithm questions, which are essential for any coding interviews. Though a programming interview also explores other areas of software development, e.g., the programming language, you would be mainly used in your project, like, C++ or Java. The database and SQL based questions, the operating systems, and UNIX related questions, some of the software design and object-oriented design pattern questions, and much more, but coding based questions form the core of programming interviews.

This article solely contains books for coding interviews, but if you are interested in finding good books on other topics, like concurrent programming or Java and other topics, then just look at those links and some more I have shared at the end of this article.

Books for Programming/Coding Interviews

This is the second article in the series of must-read books for preparing programming job interviews. In the first article, I have shared books, especially for Java interviews, but after receiving lots of good feedback and request about general programming interview books, I decided to write this article.

I have also not included 10, 15, or 20 books on this list as it would be challenging to consult or refer to too many books. Instead, I always like to have a core group of 3 to 4 best books on a topic; hence, I am only sharing 5 books on Programming/Coding interviews.

1. Programming Pearls 

This is one of the best books to prepare for coding interviews. The Programming Pearls (2nd Edition) by Jon Bentley focus problem solving, algorithm design, correctness, and performance. The book is old but still worth reading, and it will prepare you well for any type of programming interviews.

Some of the questions discussed in this book are simply an excellent resource for programming interviews. Don't believe you can decide yourself:

Find all sets of anagrams in the given dictionary.

How to sort 10 million unique non-negative integers, all of which are less than 107 in 1.25M memory?

The question doesn't end here; you have follow-ups like, What if we have only 1M (or less) memory available? What if our integers are not unique, but the number of occurrences of each value is limited?

Good knowledge of computer fundamentals like Data Structure and Algorithms are required to answer this questions, If you need a refresher, I also suggest you join Data Structures and Algorithms: Deep Dive Using Java course on Udemy, one of the best course on algorithms.

good book for preparing programming job interview

One more similar questions are:

You have a file with 4 billion 32-bit integers. Find an integer that is not in the file.
With follow-ups like How would you do it if you have an ample amount of RAM? What about the case when you have only a few hundred bytes of RAM, but you are allowed to write temporary files?

This book also has a sequel called More Programming Pearls: Confessions of a Coder, but that's not really about programming interviews or algorithm design, nevertheless a good read for any programmer.

2. Elements of Programming Interviews 

This is one of the excellent books on Programming interviews by Adnan Aziz, Tsung-Hsien Lee, Amit Prakash, who have already authored a couple of books like Algorithm for Interviews, which is aimed to prepare programmers for most robust programming job interviews with likes of Apple, Uber, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.

Best book for coding and programming interviews

In short, this is one of the best books to prepare for onsite, face-to-face coding interviews, which might require you to code on the whiteboard. It can also be used as a companion to The Coding Interview Bootcamp: Algorithms + Data Structures course, which contains basic questions more suitable for the face-to-face round of interviews.

3. The Algorithm Design Manual

This is another excellent book to prepare the algorithm design. The Algorithm design manual is written by Steven S. Skiena and also one of the famous algorithms design books too. The only problem is it's hard to read and follow.

If you are like many programmers who find it hard to read books with a lot of theory, then I recommend starting with interview questions and refer to this book when encountering algorithmic concepts. This way, you won't be bored by just reading the theory, and you will also learn the key algorithms.

Though, if you have forgotten fundamental data structure and algorithms which were taught to us in computer science classes, then I strongly suggest you first go to a revision course like  Algorithms and Data Structures - Part 1 and 2 courses on Pluralsight to quickly get up-to-speed. Otherwise, you will have to do a lot of back-and-forths while solving problems from this book.

good algorithm book for programming interviews

4. Cracking the Coding Interview

This is your general-purpose coding interview book. Gayle Laakmann McDowell has shared his insights on programming interviews and what tech companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, or Apple look on the candidate when they hire for Programmers.

These books give essential basic knowledge by covering all crucial topics of programming interviews, like Data structure, algorithms, SQL, Java, Networking, Database, Operating System, and general guide of how to prepare code interviews.

This book is also a massive collection of common programming questions, which is the most important reason I recommend it.

best book for coding interviews

5. Programming Interviews Exposed

This is the book I first read on the topic of a software engineer or IT interview. It's so good that I can't refrain myself from recommending this one, the only problem is it's necessary for experienced programmers, but if you want to read your first programming interview book, this should be the one.

It explains in detail how to solve a problem with the pros and cons of different approaches and also covers essential topics for Programming job interviews, like puzzles, string, array, coding, algorithms, binary trees, networking, computer science, etc.

must read books for programming/coding interviews

That's all in this list of top 5 books for Coding or Programming interviews. All the papers I have mentioned here are the best of the best, and you can further shortlist depending upon your goals and companies you are going to interviews. For example, if you are targeting Google, then Elements of Programming Interviews and Algorithmic design manual is a must-read, but for most of the programming job interviews, Cracking the Coding interview book will do the job as it covers most popular questions.

Recommended Articles
If you a book nerd like me, here are a couple of more articles to explore some of the best programming books and their useful resources:
  • 10 Books Every Programmer Should Read (list)
  • My favorite free courses to learn Algorithms and Data Structure (courses)
  • Top 5 Data Structure and Algorithm books (list)
  • 10 free courses to learn Java Programming in 2019 (courses)
  • 10 Courses to Crack Programming Job Interviews (courses)
  • 5 Books that will Make ou a Rockstar Developer (list)
  • 10 Algorithm Books Every Programmer Should Read (list)
  • 5 Object-oriented design, patterns, and best practices books (list)
  • 10 Courses to learn Data Structure and Algorithms (courses)
  • 6 Books to Learn and Master Programming (list)
  • 10 free courses to learn Python Programming in 2019 (courses)
  • 50+ Data Structure and Algorithms Problems from Interviews (questions)
Thanks for reading this article so far. If you like these Java Data structures and Algorithms courses, then please share it with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions or feedback, then please drop a note.

P. S. - If you are looking for some Free Algorithms courses to improve your understanding of Data Structure and Algorithms, then you should also check these list of free Data Structure and Algorithms courses which are entirely free of cost

P.P. S. - Are you ready for the Interview? Take TripleByte's quiz and go directly to the final round of interviews with top tech companies like Coursera, Adobe, Dropbox, Grammarly, Uber, Quora, Evernote, Twitch, and many more.


Anonymous said...

No doubt "Programming Pearls" is a good book but "Algorithm Design Manual by Steven S. Skiena" is a gem, probably the best algorithm book you need for programming interviews. If you are preparing for Google, this is the must read book. My favorite part is "war stories" which is very interesting. The second part of the book also contains huge catelogue of algorithmic problems. Going through them will help you to find the pattern in actual interview. If you understand the art that a certain class or problems are best solved by certain data structure and algorithms, you are in very good shape for your interviews.

Unknown said...

FYI Gayle Laakmann McDowell is a woman!

Broken_Window said...

The questions about number finding and sorting seems aimed to find a developer that knows about algorithm optimization

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