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12 Best Programming Interview Books in 2021 [Plus Bonus]

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TLDR: 12 Best Programming Interview Books in 2021

💥 The Algorithm Design Manual by Steven S. Skeina
💥 Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell
💥 Cracking the Tech Career by Gayle Laakmann McDowell
💥 System Design Interview by Alex Xu
💥 Programming Interviews Exposed by John Mongan
💥 Grokking Algorithms by Aditya Bhargava
💥 Introduction to Algorithms by Charles E. Leiserson
💥 Java Coding Problems by Anghel Leonard
💥 Surviving the Whiteboard Interview by William Gant
💥 Algorithms (4th Edition) by Robert Sedgewick
💥 Programming Pearls by Jon Bentley
💥 Daily Coding Problem by Lawrence Wu and Alex Miller

💥 BONUS COURSE: Professional Communication for Junior Developers

This post is brought to you by RealToughCandy.io.
Escape tutorial hell.

It’s easy to find programming interview courses and other online resources.

But where are all the awesome programming interview books?

Right here.

Here are 12 top-rated programming interview books that will help you land the job.

1. The Algorithm Design Manual

The Algorithm Design Manual focuses on the design of algorithms, not analysis.

It’s separated into two parts:

Practical Algorithm Design: Here you’ll gain insight on methods for designing and analyzing computer algorithms.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to Algorithms: And this is a catalog of algorithmic resources and implementations.

There are hundreds of problems and full-color illustrations.

In addition, there’s full online support with lectures, slides and videos.

2. Cracking the Coding Interview

Cracking the Coding Interview book laying on dry cracked earth
Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell

With 189 programming questions and solutions, Cracking the Coding Interview is like the holy grail of programming interview books.

Problems range from beginner to advanced.

And for each problem there’s a walkthrough of the solution. In addition, there are hints on how to solve the problems if you get stuck.

Most of these problems are in Java. So if you’re not proficient in Java, Cracking the Coding Interview won’t be of much use.

But there’s more.

Not only does Gayle Laakmann McDowell give you 189 step-by-step coding problems, but she also has an entire section dedicated to prepping for the coding interview!

🔥 Geena’s Hot Take:

Buy this book!

It has helped thousands of programmers gain the skills they need to get (and pass) the coding interview.

It’s almost 700 pages of pure gold.

Want to know more about Cracking the Coding Interview? Read our full Cracking the Coding Interview review here.

3. Cracking the Tech Career

Cracking the Tech Career by Gayle Laakmann McDowell

Cracking the Tech Career is a guide to land a job at FAANG-level companies.

It’s different from Cracking the Coding Interview because there’s no coding interview prep. Instead it focuses on what these companies seek in their tech roles.

You’ll learn what companies want and how to show them your competence.

This includes honing your skillset and experience to fit the job role.

And how to make sure your resume doesn’t get deleted.

Most importantly, you’ll gain insight on how to set yourself apart from the pack.

4. Elements of Programming Interviews in Python

Elements of Programming Interviews in Python by Aziz, Lee and Prakash

Elements of Programming Interviews in Python is one of the few programming interview books offered in Python.

First you’ll learn the nontechnical aspects of interviewing such as soft skills, tips, and common mistakes.

Then there are over 250 coding problems similar to those asked at FAANG interviews. And there are hundreds of illustrations.

Coding problems range from basic to advanced data structures, algorithm design principles, concurrency and more.

Other books include Elements of Programming Interviews in C++ and Elements of Programming Interviews in Java.

5. Programming Interviews Exposed

Programming Interviews Exposed by John Mongan, Noah Kindler and Eric Giguere

You need to have technical chops for a programming career.

But if you aren’t able to effectively and efficiently demonstrate your skillset at the programming interview, you aren’t going to get hired.

Programming Interviews Exposed teaches you those interview skills and how to stand out as the best applicant for the job.

You’ll learn what to say to move you along in the hiring process.

And how to approach phone screens with non-technical recruiters.

Then you’ll get insider tips on how to express skills verbally instead of by example.

6. Grokking Algorithms

Grokking Algorithms by Aditya Bhargava

Grokking Algorithms is an illustrated, user-friendly book.

It teaches you how to apply common algorithms to problems programmers face daily.

It covers everything from sorting and searching to tackling complex concepts like data compression and artificial intelligence.

And the fully annotated code examples are in Python.

7. Introduction to Algorithms

Introduction to Algorithms by Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, Stein

Introduction to Algorithms covers a wide range of algorithms in depth. However, explanations are made in simple terms to assure that programmers understand the content.

This book has been used in universities worldwide and is frequently used as a reference for industry professionals.

8. The Complete Coding Interview Guide in Java

The Complete Coding Interview Guide in Java features over 200 coding interview problems and solutions.

And with step-by-step coding solutions, you’ll learn how to write good code. In Java, of course.

There’s also a brief section covering the nontechnical aspects of interviews.

9. Surviving the Whiteboard Interview

Whiteboard interviews can be intimidating. You’re on the spot for public speaking and problem solving.

Surviving the Whiteboard Interview tackles the psychological roadblocks of whiteboard interviews.

You’ll learn how to speak confidently, create a lasting impression, and exhibit your work ethic.

And all with a positive attitude.

10. Algorithms (4th Edition)

If you thrive in a scholastic environment, Algorithms might the book for you.

Widely used in colleges and universities worldwide, Algorithms is dense with computer algorithms.

Plus, there’s a free companion course associated with Algorithms.

In addition, you’ll have access to its companion website which contains test data, dynamic visualizations, lectures, exercises and more.

11. Programming Pearls

Programming Pearls by Jon Bentley

Programming Pearls addresses common problems programmers have. And from there, it offers unique and clever solutions to navigate those problems.

There are essays, problems, hints and solutions. The text includes C and C++ programs. But most functions are expressed in pseudercode.

Programming Pearls is unique in its writing because it’s witty and almost whimsical at times. But the fantasy approach may be helpful for programmers who have a difficult time reading dry material.

Keep in mind this book is from Y2K. However, there are plenty of programmers who still consider Programming Pearls one of the best programming interview books out there.

In other words, it’s a classic.

12. Daily Coding Problem

Daily Coding Problem by Lawrence Wu and Alex Miller

Inspired by actual programming interviews, there are almost 300 coding problems in Daily Coding Problem.

You’ll work on core concepts like linked lists, arrays, randomized algorithms, and beyond.

Solutions are included.

This is a no-frills books that jumps right into problems. It doesn’t offer anything in the way of soft skills.

Bonus Course: Professional Communication for Junior Developers

Professional communication is just as important as coding skills.

I’ll say that again.

Professional communication is just as important as coding skills.

Too often we overlook soft skills like communication, especially when we know we’ll kill it at the whiteboarding interview.

But you have to be able to interact with your interviewers.

And your team.

And bosses.

And clients.

So if you don’t have the right communication skill set, you might not get the job.

Professional Communication for Junior Developers uses mock scenarios. The creators demonstrate different ways to navigate everyday situations during the interview and on the job.

12 Best Programming Interview Books in 2021: Conclusion

Here are the 12 Best Programming Interview Books in 2021:

The Algorithm Design Manual by Steven S. Skeina
Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell
Cracking the Tech Career by Gayle Laakmann McDowell
System Design Interview by Alex Xu
Programming Interviews Exposed by John Mongan
Grokking Algorithms by Aditya Bhargava
Introduction to Algorithms by Charles E. Leiserson
Java Coding Problems by Anghel Leonard
Surviving the Whiteboard Interview by William Gant
Algorithms (4th Edition) by Robert Sedgewick
Programming Pearls by Jon Bentley
Daily Coding Problem by Lawrence Wu and Alex Miller

BONUS COURSE: Professional Communication for Junior Developers

Programming interview books not your thing?

Then check out our 5 Absolutely Killer Coding Interview Courses (plus 3 bonuses) review.

  1. What are the best programming interview books?

    Some of the best programming interview books include Cracking the Coding Interview, Surviving the Whiteboard Interview, Algorithms, Programming Pearls and Grokking Algorithms.

  2. Are coding interview books better than courses?

    It's very difficult to prepare for a coding interview if you're only using books. But books can be a great additional resource to pair alongside your course or coding bootcamp. And luckily, there are some top notch coding interview books out there. One of our favorites is Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell. It has over 189 coding questions with solutions. In addition, there's a section on preparing for and passing the soft skills side of the interview.

  3. What are some coding interview prep books?

    You should pick coding interview prep books that complement your learning style. For example, some of the best coding interview prep books we found include heavy hitters like Cracking the Coding Interview and Algorithms. We also include some easier to digest coding interview prep books like Programming Pearls and Surviving the Whiteboard Interview.