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8 System Design Books You Need in 2021 [Plus Bonus Courses]

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TLDR: 8 System Design Books You Need in 2020 [Plus Bonus Courses]

Reference Material
πŸ’₯ Systems Analysis and Design (Dennis, Wixom & Roth)
πŸ’₯ Clean Architecture
πŸ’₯ Designing Data-Intensive Applications
πŸ’₯ System Design Interview

Textbooks
πŸ’₯ Systems Analysis and Design (Scott Tilley)
πŸ’₯ Systems Analysis and Design (Kendall & Kendall)
πŸ’₯ Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World
πŸ’₯ Modern Systems Analysis and Design

Bonus Courses
πŸ’₯ Grokking the System Design Interview
πŸ’₯ SystemsExpert

System design questions have become a standard at FAANG interviews.

And because of their open-ended nature, many engineers struggle with system design interview questions.

It’s easy to find system design courses and other online resources…

But where are all the awesome system design books?

Right here.

So here are 8 top-rated system design books that will help you understand system design concepts and pass the system design interview.

1. Systems Analysis and Design

Systems Analysis and Design by Dennis, Wixom and Roth

Systems Analysis and Design takes a hands-on approach to learning with projects that mimic real-world scenarios.

Plus, you’ll learn about core system design concepts with case studies, examples and special features. Explanations are in-depth.

Diagram of waterfall development in Systems Analysis and Design

In addition, you’ll develop essential skills and knowledge needed for a system design career.

And by the end of Systems Analysis and Design, you’ll have a strong foundation in system analysis and design (SAD) concepts and applications.

Pick up Systems Analysis and Design
πŸ‘‰ here. πŸ‘ˆ

2. Clean Architecture

Clean Architecture by Robert C. Martin

Clean Architecture: A Craftsman’s Guide to Software Structure and Design was written by well-known author Robert Martin (Clean Code, Clean Agile, etc).

And in Clean Architecture, you’ll learn how to make choices.

That’s right.

This book is packed with solutions for real-world challenges system designers face.

Open-closed principle in Clean Architecture

You’ll learn how to:

  • learn the difference between good and bad code
  • transform bad code into good code
  • format code
  • unit test and practice test-driven development

And beyond.

In addition, while it’s not geared exclusively to system designers, there are useful concepts that carry over to system design.

Pick up Clean Architecture
πŸ‘‰ here. πŸ‘ˆ

3. Designing Data-Intensive Applications

Data widely contributes to challenges in system design:

  • scalability
  • consistency
  • reliability
  • maintainability

And with all the tools out there like relational databases, batch processors and message brokers, how do you know what’s right for your application?

Latency response times lesson in Designing Data-Intensive Applications

Designing Data-Intensive Applications answers this and much more. You’ll learn how to use various technologies for processing and storing data.

And you’ll learn how to make informed decisions and make full use of your data.

Pick up Designing Data-Intensive Applications
here.

4. System Design Interview

System design interviews can be intimidating. And because the questions are open-ended, there is no definitive answer. And that’s where developers get stuck.

System Design Interview goes slow and uses plenty of illustrations to walk you through actual system design interview questions.

Request flow and traffic source in System Design Interview by Alex Xu

And using 15 system design questions and 188 diagrams, you’ll learn what interviewers look for and why.

In addition, you’ll learn about a 4-step framework you can use to solve any system design problem.

Pick up System Design Interview
πŸ‘‰ here. πŸ‘ˆ

The following system design books are textbooks.

Textbooks are beneficial because
1.) of their structured curriculum
2.) you can rent or buy them

5. Systems Analysis and Design

Systems Analysis and Design uses a practical approach to system design.

Plus it uses real-world examples to demonstrate traditional and emerging approaches to system design. This includes object-oriented and agile methods.

In addition, you’ll study cloud computing and mobile applications.

And working on projects and assignments both in the book and online will boost your critical thinking skills.

Pick up Systems Analysis and Design
πŸ‘‰ here. πŸ‘ˆ

6. Systems Analysis and Design

Systems Analysis and Design by Kendall & Kendall

Systems Analysis and Design’s practical content is geared towards beginner to intermediate students.

And it presents system development methods, tools and techniques in an easy-to-understand way.

There are problems, case studies, and hypothetical situations.

In addition you’ll look at data flow diagrams, data dictionaries, process specifications and new software used by system designers.

Additions to the 9th Edition include coverage of e-commerce website design, wireless technologies and consulting opportunities.

Pick up Systems Analysis and Design
πŸ‘‰ here. πŸ‘ˆ

7. Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World

Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World gives you a solid foundation of system design principles.

You’ll look at the fundamentals of:

  • system design
  • defining the system architecture
  • designing the user interface
  • designing the database

And you’ll learn both traditional and object-oriented approaches to system design.

In addition, you’ll learn how to approach new software using case studies.

But you’ll also be able to apply new methods to different approaches:

  • traditional
  • web development
  • object-oriented
  • service-oriented

Pick up Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World
πŸ‘‰ here. πŸ‘ˆ

8. Modern Systems Analysis & Design

Modern Systems Analysis & Design by Joseph Valacich and Joey George

Modern Systems Analysis & Design uses practical methods to present concepts, skills and tools essential for system design.

And this edition has been revised to adapt to the changing systems design environment, with a focus on agile methodologies.

So you should have experience designing programs in at least one programming language before reading Modern Systems Analysis & Design.

Pick up Modern Systems Analysis & Design
πŸ‘‰ here. πŸ‘ˆ

Bonus Courses:

✨ Grokking the System Design Interview

⚠️ Level: Intermediate

LessonsPlaygroundsCode SnippetsIllustrations
31222102

Grokking the System Design Interview was created by hiring managers from Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon.

diagram of web crawler with queue files, URL set, internet, document checksum set and document store
Web crawler diagram in Grokking the System Design Interview on Educative.io

Included are a set of questions asked at FAANG interviews. This includes designing Facebook, Pastebin, Instagram and more.

And the second half of the course is a glossary of system design basics such as:

  • load balancing
  • caching
  • proxies

And beyond.

Plus you’ll get a certificate of completion.

Sign up for Grokking the System Design Interview
πŸ‘‰ here. πŸ‘ˆ

✨ SystemsExpert

SystemsExpert is designed to help you ace the FAANG-level system design interview.

This is brought to you by the creators of AlgoExpert.

So after learning system design fundamentals, you’ll work on 10 questions asked at actual FAANG interviews.

4-pane integrated workspace with top left prompt, top right scratchpad, bottom left video solution, bottom right solution walkthrough
4-pane integrated workspace on SystemsExpert

Video accompanies each problem with a mock-interview scenario. These help you understand what clarifying questions you should be asking at a system design interview.

And the 4-pane integrated workspace shows you the prompt, scratchpad, video solution and the solution walkthrough.

You’ll get a certificate of completion at the end of the course.

Sign up for SystemsExpert
πŸ‘‰ here. πŸ‘ˆ
Use promo code realtoughcandy and get 10% off SystemsExpert.

8 System Design Books You Need in 2021: Conclusion

Today we looked at 8 system design books you need in 2021:

Reference Materials

βœ… Systems Analysis and Design – Dennis, Wixom & Roth
βœ… Clean Architecture
βœ… Designing Data-Intensive Applications
βœ… System Design Interview

Textbooks
βœ… Systems Analysis and Design – Scott Tilley
βœ… Systems Analysis and Design – Kendall & Kendall
βœ… Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World
βœ… Modern Systems Analysis and Design


And we threw in 2 bonus courses:

βœ…Grokking the System Design Interview on Educative.io

βœ… SystemsExpert on AlgoExpert.io

So choose what’s best for you, and get to work!

Looking for the best system design course?

We reviewed two of our favorite system design courses and pit them against each other. Read our SystemsExpert vs Grokking the System Design Interview SHOWDOWN.

  1. What are the best system design books?

    We recommend Systems Analysis and Design by Alan Dennis. You'll take a hands-on approach to learning by working on projects. But if you prefer textbook learning, we suggest Systems Analysis and Design by Scott Tilley. It uses real-world examples to demonstrate traditional and emerging approaches to system design. And if you're looking for system design interview books, we recommend System Design Interview by Alex Xu. You'll work on 15 problems with over 180 illustrations to assist you.

  2. Where can I find system design interview questions and answers?

    There are many places you can find system design interview questions and answers, including books and courses. We recommend Grokking the System Design Interview on Educative.io. There are 14 real-world problems like Design Facebook and Design Instagram. If you're looking for a book, we recommend System Design Interview by Alex Xu. You'll work on 15 system design problems with over 180 diagrams.

  3. Are system design books worth it?

    System design books are worth it for students who need some time away from the computer. While using books exclusively may not be the best way to learn system design, they can be a great addition to your existing curriculum of courses and video tutorials.

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