The school year is officially kicking off for students interested in pursuing a career in computer science. While some are sitting down for their intro classes, others are ready to complete senior projects or check off their final credits before taking that big step toward realizing their goals. A CS or SWE degree is a challenging process for a multitude of reasons, yet students often overwhelm themselves with side projects, Leetcode challenges, mock interview prep, and studies.
I'd be the first to tell you it's important to find hobbies or activities outside of this industry and to not spend every waking second consuming content — strange intro for a post on audiobooks for CS students, I know.
With all of that said, audiobooks can be challenging to filter through due to the technical nature of our industry. Listening to Head First Java or The Algorithm Design Manual is an impossible task. One that likely isn't a shock to anyone. But there are some less technical books that I read during my pursuit of a CS degree that translate well to the audio format and would recommend.
Please note that none of these are affiliate links and I gain nothing from you selecting them. If you want to check out our headphones, you can do so here. You can also email me at email@example.com with questions or even suggestions on something to listen to. I'm a long-form content nerd.
So without further ado, here are six audiobooks I'd recommend listening to.
The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford.
Personal Note: This is a book you can read at any education level. It's not technical in nature but is truly thought provoking in many ways.
Bill, an IT manager at Parts Unlimited, has been tasked with taking on a project critical to the future of the business, code named Phoenix Project. But the project is massively over budget and behind schedule. The CEO demands Bill must fix the mess in ninety days or else Bill’s entire department will be outsourced.
With the help of a prospective board member and his mysterious philosophy of The Three Ways, Bill starts to see that IT work has more in common with a manufacturing plant work than he ever imagined. With the clock ticking, Bill must organize work flow streamline interdepartmental communications, and effectively serve the other business functions at Parts Unlimited.
In a fast-paced and entertaining style, three luminaries of the DevOps movement deliver a story that anyone who works in IT will recognize. Readers will not only learn how to improve their own IT organizations, they’ll never view IT the same way again.
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Personal Note: This book can be somewhat controversial to people. One thing I've come to realize is that rather than using the content of this book myself, I have become more aware to how others are interacting with me and I think it's worth a listen for that alone. It's a terrible name but great read.
You can go after the job you want...and get it! You can take the job you have...and improve it! You can take any situation you're in...and make it work for you!
Simon & Schuster Audio is proud to present one of the best-selling books of all time, Dale Carnegie's perennial classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, presented here in its entirety.
For over 60 years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this audiobook has carried thousands of now-famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.
With this truly phenomenal audiobook, learn:
- The six ways to make people like you
- The twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking
- The nine ways to change people without arousing resentment
- And much, much more!
There is room at the top, when you know...How to Win Friends and Influence People
This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See by Seth Godin
Personal note: This one is somewhat of an odd selection for this list as it doesn't have much to do with programming or specific technology. However, it completely changed the way I view products and marketing and provides great insight for someone looking to take a shot in the startup world where you are likely to wear multiple hats.
A game-changing approach to marketing, sales, and advertising.
Seth Godin has taught and inspired millions of entrepreneurs, marketers, leaders, and fans from all walks of life, via his blog, online courses, lectures, and best-selling books. He is the inventor of countless ideas and phrases that have made their way into mainstream business language, from Permission Marketing to Purple Cow to Tribes to The Dip.
Now, for the first time, Godin offers the core of his marketing wisdom in one compact, accessible, and timeless package. This Is Marketing shows you how to do work you're proud of, whether you're a tech start-up founder, a small-business owner, or part of a large corporation.
Great marketers don't use consumers to solve their company's problem; they use marketing to solve other people's problems. Their tactics rely on empathy, connection, and emotional labor instead of attention-stealing ads and spammy email funnels.
No matter what your product or service, this audiobook will teach you how to reframe how it's presented to the world, in order to meaningfully connect with the people who want it. Seth employs his signature blend of insight, observation, and memorable examples to teach you:
- How to build trust and permission with your target market.
- The art of positioning - deciding not only who it's for, but who it's not for.
- Why the best way to achieve your marketing goals is to help others become who they want to be.
- Why the old approaches to advertising and branding no longer work.
- The surprising role of tension in any decision to buy (or not).
- How marketing is at its core about the stories we tell ourselves about our social status.
You can do work that matters for people who care. This audiobook shows you the way.
Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
Personal note: It might be easy to dismiss this one based on the title, but don't. It's more theoretical than technical and an outstanding listen.
All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such problems for decades. And the solutions they've found have much to teach us.
In a dazzlingly interdisciplinary work, acclaimed author Brian Christian (who holds degrees in computer science, philosophy, and poetry, and works at the intersection of all three) and Tom Griffiths (a UC Berkeley professor of cognitive science and psychology) show how the simple, precise algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions. They explain how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others. From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one's inbox to understanding the workings of human memory, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.
The Pragmatic Programmer: 20th Anniversary Edition, 2nd Edition by David Thomas and Andrew Hunt
The Pragmatic Programmer is one of those rare tech audiobooks you’ll listen, re-listen, and listen to again over the years. Whether you’re new to the field or an experienced practitioner, you’ll come away with fresh insights each and every time.
Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt wrote the first edition of this influential book in 1999 to help their clients create better software and rediscover the joy of coding. These lessons have helped a generation of programmers examine the very essence of software development, independent of any particular language, framework, or methodology, and the Pragmatic philosophy has spawned hundreds of books, screencasts, and audio books, as well as thousands of careers and success stories.
Now, 20 years later, this new edition re-examines what it means to be a modern programmer. Topics range from personal responsibility and career development to architectural techniques for keeping your code flexible and easy to adapt and reuse. All the old favorite topics are there, updated for this new world. And there's a bunch of new content, reflecting what we've learned in the intervening years.
Whether you’re a new coder, an experienced programmer, or a manager responsible for software projects, use these lessons daily, and you’ll quickly see improvements in personal productivity, accuracy, and job satisfaction. You’ll learn skills and develop habits and attitudes that form the foundation for long-term success in your career. You’ll become a pragmatic programmer.
This audiobook is organized as a series of sections, each containing a series of topics. It is read by Anna Katarina; Dave and Andy (and a few other folks) jump in every now and then to give their take on things.
Designing Data-Intensive Applications by Martin Kleppmann
Personal note: This is another one where it might be easy to dismiss because of the technical nature. Again, don't. The audiobook was updated and adjusted for audio. I originally read it but ended up listening to it on a long drive from Denver to Indianapolis and back and can't recommend it enough. It'd be my #1 must read on this list.
Data is at the center of many challenges in system design today. Difficult issues need to be figured out, such as scalability, consistency, reliability, efficiency, and maintainability. In addition, we have an overwhelming variety of tools, including relational databases, NoSQL datastores, stream or batch processors, and message brokers. What are the right choices for your application? How do you make sense of all these buzzwords?
In this practical and comprehensive guide, author Martin Kleppmann helps you navigate this diverse landscape by examining the pros and cons of various technologies for processing and storing data. Software keeps changing, but the fundamental principles remain the same. With this book, software engineers and architects will learn how to apply those ideas in practice, and how to make full use of data in modern applications.
Peer under the hood of the systems you already use, and learn how to use and operate them more effectively.
Make informed decisions by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of different tools.
Navigate the trade-offs around consistency, scalability, fault tolerance, and complexity.
Understand the distributed systems research upon which modern databases are built.
Peek behind the scenes of major online services, and learn from their architectures.