The best books for web development beginners [2021]

Online courses are great and all, but sometimes you just want to be able to flip through a book.

I prefer physical books over digital ones, especially if I know I’ll need to go back to and reference it frequently. In addition, trying to read code snippets in an eBook on your phone or Kindle simply won’t do the job.

With that said, here are my top picks for the best books when you’re learning web development!

A note on affiliate linking— some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, I’ll get a commission from the company. It’s a great way that you can support Coder Coder at no extra cost to yourself! You can read more on my disclaimer page.

Web Dev and Programming

HTML & CSS, and JavaScript & JQuery (2 book set) by Jon Duckett


Jon Duckett’s books are incredibly popular, and for good reason– they explain the topics at hand well and are designed tremendously well. They’re definitely not your usual stuffy programming textbooks! Both these books use graphics to illustrate concepts, and let’s be honest– they’ll look really cool on your bookshelf 🙂

One note: I’d go for the hardback versions even though they’re more expensive– the paperbacks are reported to have bindings that don’t hold up over time.

Check out Jon Duckett’s books on Amazon.

Eloquent JavaScript, 3rd Edition by Marijn Haverbeke


Eloquent JavaScript is one of the most well-loved JavaScript books currently, with good reason. Marijn Haverbeke will take you through learning JS from the very beginning up through more complex concepts. The book includes a ton of code examples and even mini projects like a simple game.

Happily, Marijn just released the third edition in December of 2018, so it is up to date with ES6, and he also has one brief chapter that goes through Node.js.

You can read Eloquent JavaScript online for free, or you can buy the paper or Kindle version online (I have the paperback version, and I love it).

Read Eloquent JavaScript online.

Or buy the paper or Kindle version on Amazon.

You Don’t Know JS by Kyle Simpson


There are a lot of JavaScript books out there, and a lot of them are really big. You Don’t Know JS isn’t a huge textbook– it’s a series of six small books, all dedicated to a specific topic in JavaScript. There’s no fluff, just the essential core information.

These are perfect if you’re a beginner, because Kyle Simpson does a great job of explaining concepts in a way that’s easy to understand. And the best part is, you can read them all online for free on GitHub! Of course, if you like physical books (which I find handy to have next to the computer) you can order them online.

Check out You Don’t Know JS on GitHub.

Or get the paper books on Amazon.

Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug


Heard of terms like UX (user experience) or user design, but have no clue what they mean? This book is a great introduction into the world of making websites that people love using. It explains the basics of how visitors to your website behave and what about websites can frustrate them.

Bottom line: don’t design websites that your visitors will hate.

Check out Don’t Make Me Think on Amazon.

Career and Soft Skills

These books are not about programming languages per se, but around soft skills, mental focus and productivity. These skills are essential in order to succeed in your career, and unfortunately they’re not always discussed as part of your career development.

Want to stand out not just as a great programmer, but a great employee and an efficient worker? If so, I highly recommend picking up one or more of these books.

The Clean Coder by Robert Martin


This book has a lot of advice on both coding and succeeding in your career. It’s written from the perspective of software development, but even as a web developer I got a lot of value out of Robert Martin’s insights.

Martin has a ton of valuable suggestions– from how to conduct yourself as a professional, to learning how to say “No,” to simply having a good work ethic. Whether you’re working currently as a web developer or not, you will learn some great insights on how to excel at your job.

Check out The Clean Coder on Amazon.

Deep Work by Cal Newport


This book has truly changed the way that I approach work. While most people lead extremely busy lives and constantly try to do and achieve more, Newport has taken the complete opposite approach of “less is more.”

As the topic of the book implies, he talks a lot about how he personally has developed a practice of ultra-focused deep work over the years (and his accomplishments are quite impressive). Newport also advocates for cutting out elements from your life that don’t lead you toward your most important goals.

This book is applicable to web developers and anyone whose work would benefit from long stretches of complete mental focus. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone to read, in any field.

Check out Deep Work on Amazon.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg


The Power of Habit is another book that can be applied to working more efficiently and honestly improving your life habits. Duhigg writes eloquently about how habits (both good and bad) are formed and broken, often without our realization.

He uses real world, scientific examples to illustrate these concepts in a very persuasive approach. If you’re interested in stopping bad habits, picking up good ones, and increasing your willpower (which he argues can be developed like any other skill!) then you’ll likely benefit from this book.

Check out The Power of Habit on Amazon.

Like learning through courses?

Check out my article on The Best Courses to Learn Web Development.