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Sunday, April 7, 2024

Top 5 Books to Learn Core Java for Beginners - Best of Lot

Hello guys, I have shared a lot of books related to Java and related technologies in the past, like books and online courses to learn Spring, Hibernate, JVM internals Java Performance tuning, Multi-threading, and Concurrency, Design patterns, Data structure, and Algorithms, etc., but I haven't shared books for core Java books for beginners yet. Even though I have mentioned a couple of popular titles every now and then, I really didn't have a complete compilation of essential core Java books for beginners. Since Java is one of the most popular programming languages and very useful for getting a job as a Software developer, it has become a choice of programming language to start learning coding and application development, it makes sense to start well with core Java.

This article contains books that will teach you how to code using the Java programming language. In the gone by era, when C and C++ ruled the academics and also the first language Engineers and Programmers used to learn how to code, we usually have some good recommendations to start with, like The C Programming Language by Dennis Ritchie himself.

The Head First Java book serves the same purpose for many years for Java programmers, but does it still relevant now? Particularly in the era of Java 21? Well, we'll find about that in this article shortly.

More importantly, I have shared 5 of the best core Java books for beginners. I have chosen these books on three parameters, first readability, second examples, and third content. These books are great for someone who is new to Java but also good for someone who has 1 to 2 years of Java experience and wants to fill the gaps in his learning.

I also suggest you combine one of these books with an online course like The Complete Java Masterclass, this works really great to not only understand important concepts quickly but also learn them in-depth and these days, online courses are also less costly than books.

5 Best Core Java Books for Beginners

Here is my collection of some of the best books to learn core Java, especially for beginners who have no or very little experience in programming and Java. These books will not only teach you fundamentals of Java programming language, but also many important classes from Java API, like String, Java Collection Framework, Thread, Java Executor Framework, Java IO, Java Networking, etc.

This list of books is also useful for anyone who has only learned Java in school and colleges or have a couple of experience in programming. These will help you to fill the gaps in your understanding of Java language, and it's rich API.

1. Java: How to Program by Deitel and Deitel

This is another great core Java book for beginners. It effectively combined what Cay S. Horstmann has done in two volumes of Core Java, which we have discussed in the last section. I love this book for its examples, programming error warning messages, and easy to understand languages. 

It is also one of the most comprehensive books written in Java, covering even advanced topics like JDBC, AWT, Swing, etc.

The 11th edition of books covers all the new features of Java 8 like lambda expression, Stream API, Optional API, Date and Time API, and language enhancements like default methods, static methods on the interface, etc.

It also covers new features introduced in Java 9 like static factory methods in Collections, List, Set, and other interfaces, HTTP 2, JVM improvements, and others. 

If you are curious about more Java  8 and 9 features, along with other features introduced in Java 10, 11, 12, and Java 13 now,  take a look at this Java New Features (Java 12, Java 11, Java 10, Java9 & Java8)  course on Udemy. It covers all important new features a Core Java developer should learn.

2. Core Java For the Impatient

One thing which I have found about beginners is that they are slightly impatient, i.e. they want to learn things quickly. Even myself, when I start with something absolutely new, like playing a new musical instrument, I want to learn scales, chords quickly to play full songs.

That's why I put the Core Java for the Impatient at the high place when it comes to recommending a core Java book to beginners. As the name suggests, it explains essential core Java concepts, leaving out less important details and including more recent details, like Java 8 lambda expressions, and Streams.

In the era of Java 13 and Java 14, this was probably the best Java book for beginners, but if you want comprehensive coverage, Core Java Volume 1 and 2 by the same author provides that.  If you want, combine this book with my favorite The Complete Java Masterclass course from Udemy to get the best of both worlds.

Top 5 Core Java Books for Beginners

3. Core Java, Volume 1 and 2 by Cay S. Horstmann

The great Cay S. Horstmann is one of my favorite authors for Java books. I really love the way Cay explains things and put so much content in so little word. He not just explains concepts but also explains what to do and what not to do.

If you are coming from C and C++ background, then this book has an additional incentive for you. It explains and compares C++ features with relevant Java features, like constructors, templates, and generics, etc.

The latest edition of this book, Core Java 11th Edition is fully updated to cover Java SE 8, 9, 10, & 11, which means you will learn all important new features like lambda expression, Stream API, Optional, Date and Time API from Java 8, Factory methods on Collections from Java 9, var for local variable from Java 10 and many more.

In case, you already know Java and curious to learn only new features of Java, you can check my list of courses to learn New Features from Java 9 to Java 12.  This book also contains relevant notes all around about similar C++ features, this makes it perhaps the best core Java books for C/C++ programmers.

Core Java Books for Beginners and Experienced

4. Head First Java

Whenever I mention Head First Java, the first question that comes to anyone's mind is whether this book was still relevant today or not. Since the book is not updated for Java SE 8, it is clearly not the most up-to-date Java book for beginners, but when it comes to choosing books for beginners, the learning style plays an important role, and Head First books score big there.

Another thing, which works in favor of Head First Java is that Java fundamentals haven't been changed a lot in the last decade or two. So, once you build the fundamentals, you can always update yourself by reading any decent Java 8 books or joining a course like What's New in Java 8 on Pluralsight.

Best Core Java Books for Beginners

In short, Head First Java is not the best core Java book, as it's not most up-to-date but still a good one for beginners. I really hope that the author and publication house realized that it's time to update the book for Java 8 and make it great again.

5. Java: A Beginner's Guide

If you are absolutely new to the world of programming and learn how to code by using Java programming language, then this is the book you should choose. The book starts at zero and then builds from there.

You will find lots of easy to follow examples accompanied by solid theory and explanation. In short, It is a straightforward and fantastic book for programmers with no coding experience. The best part of the book is that it has been kept up-to-date, the latest edition of this book, Java: A Beginner's Guide, 8th Edition covers up to Java SE 11, which is perfect.

When you purchase the book, make sure you buy paperback and eBook, this will give you the PDF version of the book, which you can read while traveling. The Kindle version is also available. I also recommend combining this book with a comprehensive Java course like The Complete Java Masterclass to learn better. The course helps with some active learning and the book provides an in-depth explanation.

The best book to learn Java - updated for Java 11

That's all about some of the best core Java books for beginners. If you are starting with Java programming, then this book will help you to understand the fundamental of core Java better. I strongly suggest to pick one of the books from the list and complete it twice to get most of them.

Once you have gone through a book twice, you understand all the basics of Java and its brilliant API. After that, you can choose more books to enhance your Java language and API knowledge, you don't need to read them word for word, you can skim chapters and details which you already know.

Since Java is vast and it's not enough to just know the basics, once you went through fundamentals and understand Java, you can explore the following list of books to truly become an expert Java programmer. Each list contains books to make you an expert in that particular area, like Concurrency, JVM internals, and Performance tuning, Unit testing, Spring, Hibernate, etc.

This list is particularly useful for experienced and intermediate Java programmers with a couple of years of real-world coding experience in Java.

Further Reading
Thanks for reading this article, if you have any suggestions, feel free to drop comments. If you like this article and recommended books, please share it with your friends and colleagues.

P. S. - If you are looking for some free online courses to kick-start your Core Java journey, you can also check out this list of free Core Java courses for beginners on Medium.

And, if you are preparing for Java interviews you can also check my Java + Spring Interview + SQL Bundle on Gumroad, it contains my books and PDF, on Java, Spring Boot, and SQL, use code friends20 to get a 20% discount also


Unknown said...

The article about Java 8 books contains only top 3, not 5 books.

javin paul said...

Hello Nicko, the article about Java 8 books was not about top 5 but just some of the best Java 8 books. Btw, if you want more books on Java 8 and functional programming then you can check out this article.

Unknown said...

Yes, but the link in this article says "Top 5" :)

atared said...

An excellent selection of books.
My favorite books are:
1. Beginning Programming with Java For Dummies
2. Head First Java by Kathy Sierra & Bert Bates
3. Java For Complete Beginners by Mohammed Abdelmoniem

Unknown said...

One more must read book is OOP Concepts booster. It's purely based on oops concepts and very unique that gives a deep understanding in Q&A format.

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