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, like 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.



5 Best Books for Programming and 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. Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Mcdowell

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

Also, good knowledge of computer fundamentals like Data Structure and Algorithms are required to answer these questions, If you need a refresher, you can join Data Structures and Algorithms: Deep Dive Using Java course on Udemy, one of the best course on algorithms.


best book for coding interviews



2. Programming Pearls 

This is one of the best books to prepare for coding interviews. The Programming Pearls (2nd Edition) by Jon Bentley focuses on 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 interview.

Some of the questions discussed in this book are simply excellent resources 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?

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.

best book for preparing programming job interview




3. 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 the most robust programming job interviews with the likes of Apple, Uber, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.

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.


Best book for coding and programming interviews




4. 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.

best algorithm book for programming 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 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.

I also recommend you to join Grokking the Coding Interview: Patterns for Coding Questions, a text-based interactive course to learn coding interview patterns like sliding window, fast and slow pointers, merge interval, etc, which can be used to solve 100+ Leetcode problems. Knowing those coding patterns not only helps you in coding interviews but also makes you a better programmer. 


must read books for programming/coding interviews

And, if you find Educative platform and their Grokking courses like this one and Grokking the System Design Interview, or Grokking the Object-Oriented Programming interview then consider getting Educative Subscription which provides access to their 100+ courses in just $14.9 per month. It's very cost-effective and great for preparing for 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 the companies you are going to interviews with.

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)
  • 10 Best Courses to learn System Design for interviews (best courses)
  • My favorite free courses to learn Algorithms and Data Structure (courses)
  • Top 5 Data Structure and Algorithm books (list)
  • 10 Best Courses to learn Dynamic Programming (courses)
  • 10 free courses to learn Java Programming (courses)
  • 10 Courses to Crack Programming Job Interviews (courses)
  • 5 Books that will make you 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 (courses)
  • 50+ Data Structure and Algorithms Problems from Interviews (questions)
Thanks for reading this article so far. If you like these coding interview books, then please share them 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 this list of free Data Structure and Algorithms courses which are entirely free of cost

3 comments :

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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