With the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a slight decline of future job growth for computer programmers, it is important for students who are seeking programming degrees to sharpen their skills. Strong skills and extensive knowledge are essential when applying for jobs. These are five valuable books for becoming a better programmer.

1. The Pragmatic Programmer

This book is on every suggested must-read list for programmers, and it makes those lists for good reasons. The main reason to buy this book is its many valuable tips for software professionals. Although the book is rightly touted as one of the best resources for learning, it does not delve too deeply into any one subject. It is perfect for a college student or recent graduate who wants an eye-opening learning experience from a book. Another benefit of the book is that it teaches readers how to be stronger team players, and it also helps clarify the line between hobby work and professional paid work.

2. Release It!

As every programmer knows, most of the work in any project lies in code development. However, a program never becomes big or is appreciated fully until it actually launches. This book emphasizes the importance of that point and how to stay focused while making the launch a goal and getting to the goal. It shows readers how to monitor, log, health check and analyze applications for their operation status. Programmers also learn to stay focused and at ease while there are outages, load spikes or other interruptions.

3. Continuous Delivery

In preparing for the launch of a software program, many programmers make too many changes or wind up making mistakes because of nervous anticipation. This book highlights some common pitfalls and provides solutions for avoiding them in the future. For any programmer whose ultimate desire is to have a smooth and consistent pre-launch habit system, this book is essential. It is especially helpful for those who work with expanding current programs and building complex new programs.

4. Refactoring: Improving The Design Of Existing Code

When programmers are new graduates, they often try to pile in their codes quickly by hand. Entering in all of these characters can increase the risk of errors, and it is a time-consuming process. As they become more experienced, programmers learn to use refactoring to save time, structure their code better and never look back to their old ways. This book shows how to change code structure without sacrificing behavior for a better result. It divides the two distinct types of work involved in coding into clearer categories.

5. xUnit Test Patterns

This book is an absolute must when reading number four on this list. Unit testing is closely tied to refactoring and is essential for improving test structure. Although there are many books with information about xUnit testing patterns, this book compiles the information in a way that is easy to read and understand. It is also comprehensive with the way it teaches programmers everything they need to know about unit testing. From instructions on refactoring tests to showing readers the ropes with mocks and stubs, this book is a vital resource for best practices, instructions and explanations.

There are plenty of other great books for programmers. For the highest possibility of finding an ideal job after college, start reading these books as spare-time hobbies while still seeking a programming degree. The first and most important step toward a successful future in computer programming is finding the right degree program.