5 Top Soft Skill Books for Programmers in 2021

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Programmers can easily get stuck in their programming journey.

They may have the skills and can code like nobody else, but somehow they can’t secure the job or the promotion.

It’s not programming ability they need now. It’s soft skills holding programmers back — from the job, the promotion, or even from satisfaction and harmony at work.

In this article, I am sharing five books on building soft skills as a programmer as well as a few soft skills you can work on cultivating right now.


Why Soft Skills Matter

According to Vishal Shah, Technical Consultant at TatvaSoft, companies have started looking for professionals who don’t just possess technical expertise or development skills such as writing the code or executing tests, but soft skills that will make them a part of the larger team.

For example, programmers must deal with their colleagues such as designers, QA, engineers, project managers or associates or stakeholders.

A lot of budding engineers may feel fuzzy about the purpose of mastering soft skills, but actually, they make you a good leader and effective communicator among your peers.

Software development is all about teamwork and your team can succeed only when there is appropriate collaboration, communication, a common objective, joint effort.

Several studies have been conducted stating that soft skills are important for almost 93% of employers across the globe.

The Soft Skills That Managers Look For

So what specific skills are these people looking for?

Generally speaking, this list covers most soft skills a manager might seek out:

  • Communication

  • Organizational skills

  • Teamwork

  • Punctuality

  • Critical thinking

  • Social skills

  • Creativity

  • Interpersonal communication

  • Adaptability

  • Friendly personality

  • Proper rapport

Of course, there is no cookie-cutter statement defining what these soft skills are, but it can be identified upon the way you interact with your subordinates, bosses, and other people. Also, this needs to be done in a meaningful and harmonious way. Some of you are natural-born communicators, extroverts who have an affinity towards soft skills. But hey don’t feel disheartened! With a couple of learning procedures, you can figure out how to show more compassion and become super confident.


3 Soft Skills for Developers to Focus On

Before we dive into the books, let us get acquainted with a few top soft skills that are valuable to start focusing on right now.


1. Communication

Effective communication is the key to success.

This soft skill makes programmers among the most successful, but it is not just limited to software developers.

Communication is a two-way street, requiring being both a good speaker and listener. At the point when you need to tune in, you are getting an unreasonable bit of leeway contrasted with the individuals who just talk.

As a listener, you learn, grow your viewpoints, and expand your perspective.

After you start interacting, you can start doing this with clarity and confidence. Among other sets of skills, it’s your weapon and the most useful tool. This will likewise show that you can show restraint, to tune in and keep your level-headedness.

Remember that correspondence isn't just verbal –- it is non-verbal also. That is the reason vital to remain centered, tune in, don't intrude, and talk with certainty. Everything adds to your correspondence style. It is important to have the option to impart viably. The following skill definitely eases your learning in the software engineering journey. 


2. Adaptability and Acceptance

Sometimes it is beneficial to remain foolish rather than being aware of it all. In short, be open-minded. Try being open to criticism and feedback (both positive and negative). Also, don’t be afraid to try and experiment. And don’t just keep the concept of adaptability and acceptance limited to your team but also from the rest of the people.

 With the changing times, you need to keep up and this is possible only when you change your mindset first. This particular soft skill won’t just make you a better coder but better as a person. The willingness to listen and appreciating others does lead to aspects such as empathy, patience, humbleness, helpful nature, etc.

So be it! In today’s dog eat dog world I feel this is the most needed soft skill. In case, if anyone asks you why are you doing this why are you playing as an underdog simply reply because this is how I learn.  


3. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving  

The result stating that the problem is solved is what matters the most in any software development project. Now what I have learned from my personal experience is that problems must be seen from a broader perspective. This is the best way to solve one irrespective of its complexity, unlike other skills.

 Apart from being a problem solver, you have to wear the hat of being a critical thinker as well. Like I said before software development isn’t just limited to coding or learning the technicalities it also means you need to don several hats at a time and master every aspect included here. In future, you will be facing situations when you are aware that the problem you are facing has more possible solutions.  

And as a critical thinker, you will be able to assess those solutions and choose the one that works the best.


Top 5 Soft Skill Books for Software Engineers

Moving on,  it's time to reveal some of my best buys that I have come across when you are willing to enhance your soft skills and develop a career as a software engineer.


Robert C. Martin gives a quick, instructive and entertaining way of becoming a professional software developer. Unlike other technical books, this one does not emphasize the functioning of the code or the design. Moreover, it sophisticatedly outlines characteristics and day-to-day conduct that differentiate a regular software developer from a professional software developer.

Pretty interesting read, I must say! The ideation of becoming perfect is something that one can never achieve in reality no matter how experienced or successful you have become. The book shares a lot of detailing about things that used to work back then and how they have become now. Irrespective of the chapters, clarity has been taken care of here very well. Some of the best aspects taken from the book include:

  • A true professional knows that delivering function at the expense of structure is a fool’s errand.

  • Conversations might be adversarial and uncomfortable — but that’s all in the pursuit of a mutually agreeable solution and the best possible outcome (the ultimate goal).

  • Programmers have difficulty working closely with other programmers. That’s no excuse, though. Being a developer means working with people. 

The book is a must-read to succeed in your software engineering journey. 


Another interesting one that has to be read in 2021. As the name implies, the pragmatic programmer does incorporate everything for a professional to succeed in their careers. Well, the book seems to have no concern with what experience level you are at present.

Moreover, it successfully centres on how to effectively use software to solve problems. As the subtitle — From journeyman to master — implies, the book contains information to pragmatically grow as the developer; not just how to be a good programmer, but also how to solve the difficult problems that surround coding, also required soft skills for one to succeed such as:

  • Making accurate but flexible estimates.

  • Not repeating yourself (the Do not Repeat Yourself, or DRY principle).

  • How to institute change when others are hesitant.

  • How to combat stagnancy as a developer.

You know what’s the best part here is each chapter comprises a different set of exercises and challenges. “The Pragmatic Programmer” is that it isn’t focused on code, or tied to a particular technology. So what will happen next once you finish reading is your way of thinking might change, especially the way of approaching problems and challenges?

In the book, there is a story about an urban area that became very messy and run-down, all because of one broken window. Coding is quite similar to this. There are times when the code might be dirty and do nothing about it. Never do that! Try not to leave “broken windows” unrepaired. A good programmer will always fix it up as soon as possible.  


In today’s IT environment, programmers can succeed only when they know how to drive their career in the right direction. With the help of the book, you will be able to learn how to build a software development career step by step.

By reading the book, you will learn how to develop a structured plan, assess your skills. In the end, you will have a concrete plan which can be put into action on an immediate basis.

“If fame means that lots of people know who you are, then having one more person know about you makes you more famous” - One of my favorite quotes!

Now, who should read this one? Anybody can as far as they are looking for something to learn but those who have just entered the software development realm or have recently started their careers must read this. And you know what is the best part. The book is not limited to programming, it does cover topics like craftsmanship. So whether you are a writer or a musician, marketer, this one can provide great help for the long run. 


As the name suggests, the following soft skill book is all about how to thrive as a techie at work and in life without any sugar coating or being politically right.

Here you will learn something that was never taught in your engineering class for example practical ideas to get more done from less or write emails that people want to read, how to fast track your presentations skills, top software engineer skills, and the most important of all how to hack your way to a healthy life.

After reading this I have concluded that the author Ramakrishna Reddy has succeeded in delivering the message such as:

  • Effectively dealing with people and politics

  • How to get things done from less

  • Gain  lots of insights about maintaining healthy relationships

  • How to speak in public?

  • How to conduct a useful meeting?

  • Five keys to unlock your creative potential

You can play your cards better if you know the rules of the game. And the following skill book assists you in achieving that corporate lift like none other.


This software developer manual is not a mere book to read; it is a guide featuring techniques and practices for a more satisfying life as a professional software developer.

Without any code or design patterns, I find this one quite fascinating and useful. And since this one is a software developer’s manual it is power-packed with information.

John Sonmez has done a commendable job by writing this skill book. Here he has beautifully stated both sides of the coin, i.e. several pros and cons of working for a company, as a contractor, as a freelancer and being an entrepreneur.

Also, he also advises you to market yourself. Suggestions like give back to the community, add value by writing your blog articles and your comments on other websites, don’t just spam for the sake of writing does offer some great ideas on how to market.

At the same time, this one also talks about learning and productivity by using the Pomodoro technique and eliminating distractions.



Information can be found everywhere, so make sure to pick your read wisely. I hope you find the aforementioned list helpful on your way to career advancement.

Maverick Jones | Guest Blogger

Maverick Jones is a full-time geek and tech enthusiast. He likes to share his bylines and loves to gain audience attention.


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