best web developer books in 2021 [for beginners] with dark background with faded cartoon computer

12 Best Web Developer Books in 2021 [For Beginners]

When putting together our list of best web developer books in 2021, we had one goal… To give absolute beginners everything you need to start learning web development.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average web developer salary is $73,760 per year.

So today we’re looking at everything from how to think like a programmer to getting your first job in web development.

With this in mind, buckle up and read on for the ultimate must-have list of 12 best web developer books in 2021.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you buy something. Read my disclosure for more details.

TLDR: 12 Best Web Developer Books in 2021
[For Beginners]

💸 Best Value 💸
Think Like a Programmer

🔥 Best JavaScript Book for Newbies 🔥
You Don’t Know JS Yet: Get Started


🚨 Best Book for New Freelance Devs 🚨
Freelance Newbie

12 Best Web Developer Books in 2021

1. Think Like a Programmer

Programming is all about solving problems.

You can read as many books and take as many courses as you want. And you can learn all of the syntax.

But if you don’t know how to think like a programmer, you won’t get very far.

At last, that’s where Think Like a Programmer comes in.

For instance, you’ll learn how to:

  • make problems easier to solve
  • reuse code
  • master advanced programming tools

And more.

Each chapter covers one programming concept such as:

  • classes
  • pointers
  • recursion

And beyond.

Linked list lesson in the book Think Like a Programmer

In addition, you’ll work on various open-ended exercises.

Examples are written in C++, but the concepts are universal.

Think Like a Programmer topped our list of best web developer books for beginners (best overall value).

🔥 Pick up Think Like a Programmer 🔥

2. How to Get a Job in Web Development

hands on keyboard with code snippets in background as part of how to get a job in web development book cover

Getting a web developer job isn’t always easy. Sometimes we need help getting pointed in the right direction.

How to Get a Job in Web Development is geared towards web developers who are:

  • self-taught
  • coding bootcamp graduates
  • college grads

Or a combination of those things! It was written to help devs get to the next level on their journey: a job in web development.

But to do this, you need to know things like how to:

  • craft your cover letter, resume, portfolio and GitHub account
  • deal with follow-up emails and phone calls
  • prepare for phone, video and in-person interviews
  • strategically apply to jobs

How to Get a Job in Web Development covers all this and much, much more.

Resume Revamp in How to Get a Job in Web Development

This book has helped hundreds of developers land web developer jobs.

And by showing you the right steps to take when applying for jobs, it can help you too.

🔥 Pick up How to Get a Job in Web Development 🔥

💡Did you know that How to Get a Job in Web Development has a companion video course on RealToughCandy.io? Check it out here.

3. Professional JavaScript for Web Developers

An exhaustive, robust, elaborately detailed JavaScript resource.

Laura Gates, Amazon customer

Coming in at over 1200 pages, Professional JavaScript for Web Developers is not for the faint of heart.

First off, it covers ECMAScript updates through 2019 such as:

  • classes
  • async/await
  • iterators
  • proxies
  • promises

And much more.

In addition, you’ll learn web development fundamentals such as the document object model (DOM), error handling and web animation.

Also, you’ll learn about advanced browser APIs.

Finally, you’ll work with hundreds of code examples to reinforce concepts.

But keep in mind, JavaScript for Web Developers is for intermediate or advanced programmers, so we recommend reading Jon Duckett’s JavaScript and jQuery first (see below). Or if you prefer, taking a beginner JavaScript course on a place like Educative.io.

🔥 Pick up Professional JavaScript for Web Developers 🔥

4. Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Web Graphics

Learning Web Design is another banger book. It made our best list of web developer books because it’s so user-friendly.

With this step-by-step guide, you can build a web page with no prior experience.

You’ll start with the basics like how web pages work.

Also, you’ll learn how JavaScript is used in web design.

Setting up a grid lesson in Learning Web Design

In addition, you’ll learn how to:

  • build HTML pages with links, images and beyond
  • use CSS for colors and backgrounds
  • create and optimize web images
  • become familiar with the command line and Git

And much more.

Finally you’ll build a simple, mobile-responsive site.

🔥 Pick up Learning Web Design 🔥

5. Web Design with HTML & CSS and JavaScript & jQuery book set

Here we have a one-two punch by author Jon Duckett: the HTML & CSS and JavaScript and jQuery book set.

Both books use beautiful, full-page color illustrations and photographs to explain concepts.

open book JavaScript & jQuery by Jon Duckett showing color pages and code

HTML & CSS is an introduction to the basics of HTML and CSS.

You can read the book start to finish or jump into random chapters to learn a concept.

This book is ideal for beginners with little or no programming experience.

JavaScript & jQuery requires knowledge of HTML & CSS as a prerequisite.

It covers:

  • basic programming concepts
  • core elements of JavaScript
  • how to write scripts from scratch
  • how to recreate techniques like sliders, content filters and form validation

And more.

🔥 Pick up Web Design with HTML & CSS and JavaScript & jQuery 🔥

You can also order Jon Duckett’s newest book, PHP & MySQL: Server-side Web Development.

6. Portfolio Surgery

Remember, your portfolio is the most important asset as a new software developer. Make it count!

RTC, author of Portfolio Surgery

Portfolio Surgery is another top-rated book by RTC.

But she already talks about portfolios in How to Get a Job in Web Development.

So how is this different?

How to Get a Job in Web Development offers valuable insight on what to include in your portfolio.

However, Portfolio Surgery will show you how to make that portfolio POP!

First of all, we’re talking about starting with a massive overhaul of your portfolio.

Then you’ll learn 5 methods to completely transform your projects.

Finally, you’ll gain a problem-solving skill set in the process.

RTC is a fantastic instructor. Her passion shows in everything she puts out. Everything is explained in a very understandable way for aspiring and established developers and she knows her stuff. Great job!

– Brad Traversy, Traversy Media

🔥 Pick up Portfolio Surgery 🔥

💡Did you know that Portfolio Surgery has a companion video course on RealToughCandy.io? Check it out here.

🔥 Geena’s Hot Take:

Portfolio Surgery is the most unique book in this list of best web developer books. And the most desired for many aspiring web developers.

We haven’t found any other book that’s completely dedicated to making your portfolio stand out from the pack.

Not only will you learn what to change, but you’ll learn how to change it.

Plus there’s a companion video course.

The Portfolio Surgery video course only has a couple hours of video. But don’t be fooled.

For every ten minutes of video, you can expect to spend 3-6 hours revamping your portfolio.

7. PHP and MySQL Web Development

PHP and MySQL are open-source technologies that are used for developing database-driven web apps.

Using real-world examples, PHP and MySQL Web Development will teach you about:

  • web-based email
  • user authentication
  • social media integration

And more.

In addition, you’ll learn:

  • storing and retrieving data
  • designing and creating your web database
  • error and exception handling

And advanced MySQL concepts.

Furthermore, you’ll have access to free features like online exercises and interactive quizzes.

This book pairs well with the Codecademy Pro course Learn SQL.

🔥 Pick up PHP and MySQL Web Development 🔥

8. Visual Studio Code: End-to-End Editing and Debugging Tools for Web Developers

Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a free, open-source code editor. Additionally, it’s used by over 50% of developers.

Visual Studio Code aims to help users become familiar with all aspects of VS Code.

It’s geared towards beginners or developers looking to transition to VS Code from another code editor.

You’ll learn how to:

  • install VS Code
  • use VS Code for full-stack development
  • expand knowledge of tools and expansions

And more.

It covers essential components such as:

  • workspace features
  • code refactoring
  • key binding
  • integration with Grunt

And beyond.

🔥 Pick up Visual Studio Code 🔥

9. Web Design Playground: HTML & CSS the Interactive Way

Web Design Playground is a play-by-play approach to learning HTML and CSS.

Full-color illustrations keep learning interesting, engaging and fun.

In addition to the book, you’ll work on a customized, interactive online workspace.

Here you’ll design:

  • websites
  • product pages
  • photo galleries

And more.

Downloading playground code in the book Web Design Playground

Web Design Playground will start you of by writing your first line of HTML. By the end, you’ll be able to build your own websites using HTML and CSS.

🔥 Pick up Web Design Playground 🔥

10. You Don’t Know JS Yet: Get Started

Maybe you have heard of Kyle Simpson’s book series You Don’t Know JS. It was 6 books covering different JavaScript concepts.

Well now, all of those books have been completely rewritten and updated.

The first book in the new series is You Don’t know JS Yet: Get Started.

This is an introductory book. You’ll learn all about the building blocks of JavaScript with plenty of theoretical info to keep your brain busy.

Then, you’ll learn how the other books in the series will help you deeply understand various JavaScript concepts such as:

  • scope and closures
  • ES6
  • async and performance
  • this and object prototypes
  • types & grammar

And beyond.

🔥 Pick up You Don’t Know JS Yet: Get Started 🔥

Read our review of Kyle Simpson’s You Don’t Know JS: Up & Going here.

11. Freelance Newbie

Freelance Newbie is similar to How to Get a Job in Web Development.

The difference?

With Freelance Newbie, you’ll learn how to work for yourself.

…This book is meant for people who have the skill and don’t know how to create their path forward. It explains how to navigate the world of freelancing while laying out the steps to become successful…

Kelsy, Amazon Customer

In this book, you’ll learn how to:

  • develop a business plan
  • generate quality leads
  • determine what services to offer
  • deliver stellar customer service
  • draft effective proposals and contracts

And more.

With this in mind, the purpose of Freelance Newbie is to lay a solid foundation to start your career in freelancing.

🔥 Pick up Freelance Newbie 🔥

💡Did you know Freelance Newbie has a companion video course on RealToughCandy.io? Check it out here.

12. Web Security for Developers: Real Threats, Practical Defense

Hacking is the last thing any developer wants to have happen to them. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon.

Web Security for Developers covers common ways websites get hacked.

Therefore, you’ll learn how to defend yourself from these attacks by:

  • adding authentication and shape access
  • locking down user accounts
  • implement encryption
  • manage vulnerabilities in legacy code

And beyond.

In addition, you’ll learn how to mitigate advanced attacks and get stronger at deploying secure code.

Diagram and HyperText Transfer Protocol lesson in Web Security for Developers

🔥 Pick up Web Security for Developers 🔥

12 Best Web Developer Books in 2021: Conclusion

Today we looked at 12 of the best web developer books for beginners in 2021:

1. Think Like a Programmer
2. How to Get a Job in Web Development
3. Professional JavaScript for Web Developers
4. Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Web Graphics
5. Web Design with HTML & CSS and JavaScript & jQuery book set
6. Portfolio Surgery
7. PHP and MySQL Web Development
8. Visual Studio Code: End-to-End Editing and Debugging Tools for Web Developers
9. Web Design Playground: HTML & CSS the Interactive Way
10. You Don’t Know JS Yet: Get Started
11. Freelance Newbie
12. Web Security for Developers: Real Threats, Practical Defense

Depending on where you are and what you need, we think some of these books may help you reach your web developer goals.

Up Next: Treehouse vs Codecademy Pro [Best Coding Platform in 2021]

  1. What are some of the best web developer books in 2021?

    While there are plenty of good web developer books out there, only 12 made it on our list. Some of our favorite web developer books include Think Like a Programmer, How to Get a Job in Web Development, and You Don't Know JS Yet: Get Started.

  2. What is the Think Like a Programmer book about?

    You can read as many books as you want. And you can learn all of the syntax. But if you don’t know how to think like a programmer, you won’t get very far. That’s where Think Like a Programmer comes in. You'll learn how to make problems easier to solve, reuse code and master advanced programming tools. You'll also work on various open-ended exercises. Examples are written in C++, but the concepts are universal.

  3. What are the 3 Jon Duckett books?

    Jon Duckett has 3 books… HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites, JavaScript & jQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development, and PHP & MySQL: Server-side Web Development.