Eight must-read books for developers in 2021

What are the top books on your reading list this season? Whether you’re learning a new skill or adding depth to your existing knowledge in a particular development area, it’s always a good idea to get a few more recommendations to your list. We’ve teamed up with Packt to help you discover eight must-read books that you need to add to your collection in 2021.

All Packt eBooks and Videos are for $5! A key part of Packt’s mission is to unlock new opportunities for developers and help put software to work in new ways. They want this year’s $5 campaign to help developers unlock new opportunities.

Cloud and Admin

Azure DevOps Explained

Implement real-world DevOps and cloud deployment scenarios using Azure Repos, Azure Pipelines, and other Azure DevOps tools.

What reviews say:

“The book is very carefully walking the reader through everything you need to know to become an Azure DevOps expert. I use DevOps all the time to build and manage Business Central AL development and found the book very useful.”

Kubernetes and Docker – An Enterprise Guide

Apply Kubernetes beyond the basics of Kubernetes clusters by implementing IAM using OIDC and Active Directory, Layer 4 load balancing using MetalLB, advanced service integration, security, auditing, and CI/CD.

What reviews say:

“This book covers most of the topics when an enterprise would like to adopt Kubernetes. What’s more, you hardly can find coverage on these topics in the market!”

Coding and tools

Learning C# by Developing Games with Unity 2020

Get to grips with coding in C# and build simple 3D games with Unity from the ground up with this updated fifth edition of the bestselling guide.

What reviews say:

“If you’re serious about learning to build games in Unity your progress will be advanced rapidly if you first have a solid foundation of understanding of C#. This book explains the necessary information to start understanding and using C# to develop games in Unity. After reading this you’ll have enough context to begin tearing down other people’s code and repurposing it to build your own functionalities for your game.”

iOS 14 Programming for Beginners

Learn iOS app development and work with the latest Apple development tools. Explore the latest features of Xcode 12 and the Swift 5.3 programming language in this updated fifth edition.

What reviews say:

“The author does a good job to capture an effective, quick, and breezy reading/learning/code-along experience. The explanations are concise and easy to follow, although I would imagine a complete newbie to programming entirely might ask a lot of questions in the earlier chapters.”


Learn Amazon SageMaker

Quickly build and deploy machine learning models without managing infrastructure, and improve productivity using Amazon SageMaker’s capabilities such as Amazon SageMaker Studio, Autopilot, Experiments, Debugger, and Model Monitor.

What reviews say:

“This is a comprehensive book for a data scientist looking to use the AWS ecosystem for machine learning with a focus on Sagemaker. I like the way it is organized which is practical and matches a typical life-cycle of a project.”

Data Engineering with Python 

Build, monitor, and manage real-time data pipelines to create data engineering infrastructure efficiently using open-source Apache projects.

What reviews say:

“Data Engineering With Python provides a solid overview of pipelining and database connections for those tasked with processing both batch and stream data flows. Not only for the data miners, this book will be useful as well in a CI/CD environment using Kafka and Spark. It’s very readable and contains lots of practical, illustrative examples.”


40 Algorithms Every Programmer Should Know: Hone your problem

Learn algorithms for solving classic computer science problems with this concise guide covering everything from fundamental algorithms, such as sorting and searching, to modern algorithms used in machine learning and cryptography.

What reviews say:

“Who the book is aimed at: if you self-identify as a data scientist, serious algorithms specialist, or even the quant type, then you won’t be disappointed! If you’re just starting in the field, the author has done the hard work of selecting some of the commonly used techniques & algorithms in the field today.”

Learn Quantum Computing with Python and IBM Quantum Experience

A step-by-step guide to learning the implementation and associated methodologies in quantum computing with the help of the IBM Quantum Experience, Qiskit, and Python that will have you up and running and productive in no time.

What reviews say:

“I really like this book. It takes a step-by-step approach to introduce the reader to the IBM Q Experience, to the basics underlying quantum computing, and to the reality of the noise involved in the current machines. This introduction is technical and shows the user how to use the IBM system either directly through the GUI on their website or by running Python code on one’s own machine.”

Have you read any of these already? Leave your impressions in the comments and don’t forget to share the list with other developers in your circle!

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Dear all taking our Developer Economics surveys – or wondering why you should

First of all – thank you. Thank you for taking, or even for just considering taking, our Developer Economics Survey. Some of you have given us feedback (yes, we do read all of it!) asking what the survey is about, where we use the data, why we do this, and “who are you people anyway”? Right. About time we provided a comprehensive answer then! Transparency is, after all, one of our core values.

  • “Be more transparent about how you will use the data, who you will sell it to, how much you intend to spam me, and why, exactly, are you offering a range of inducements at later stages”
  • “Explaining a bit more what is this for. :)”
  • “More detailed description of your activities and details of cooperation with you for new users.”
  • “You just started to ask questions w/o sharing why you are asking your questions… Why?”
  • “It’s a little hard to be sure who this data is for. It seemed like it came from Mozilla, but got so many questions about Microsoft it made we wonder!”
  • “It’s cool but needs to be explained in more detail”

Our mission is to help the world understand and support developers.

In this way, we aim to contribute to evolving technology in all the ways that matter to developers and, consequently, to end users too. The Developer Economics surveys are our means of doing just that. Yes, of course we sell the insights and the anonymised aggregate data in the process, as we also need to make a living somehow. But out of all the ways in which we could be making a living, we very consciously choose this one, as we are a team of people who first of all strive to make this world a better place in the infinitesimal ways that we can, and this is our very own geeky way of doing so. We are sworn data geeks, or as our marketing team more elegantly puts it: Data is in our DNA.

Now, as to who our data and insights go to: Our client base includes the leading tech organisations, such as Microsoft, Intel, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Mozilla and many more. We take pride in supporting them to design future technologies around actual developer needs and wants – your own needs and wants. So please be truthful in your answers, or you may lead the decision makers, and therefore your development tools, in a very wrong direction!  

Not all of our data is behind a paywall though. 

As a thank you to all of you who contribute to our life’s work, we release our free State of the Developer Nation report, filled with what we hope is valuable information for all developers out there, whether professionals, hobbyists, or just students on the onset of their exciting journey in the world of software development.

There are also free interactive graphs that aim to help you benchmark yourself (or rather, your technology choices) against the rest of the community. Check out the resources space on our Developer Economics website for all the data goodies we have to offer. 

It’s not just data we give back to the community. 

For the past three surveys and for every qualified response that you provided us, we have been donating $0.10 to a good cause within the developer world. In previous years we supported the Raspberry Pi foundation, and at the same time asked you to tell us where you think our contributions would count the most.

Many of you suggested we should support women in coding, and also developers in Africa. Combining the two suggestions, this time around, and for every qualified response that you provide us, we donate $0.10 to the South African Chapter of Women in Big Data. 

Thank you for making this happen!

  • “How are you supporting female developers?”
  • “Help the developers in west Africa gain the knowledge we desire.”
  • “It would be great if sub-sahara African countries could get more attention and accessibility to internship with all these companies.”
  • “Just want to suggest that you consider investing in Nigeria as the youth are passionate about learning but the constraints are just too much. To give you an idea, compare our achievements with the available resources.”

Onto the key question: what data do we collect? Here are the highlights. 

We track key trends in ten development areas, namely mobile, desktop, web, backend, industrial IoT, games, augmented and virtual reality, consumer electronics, machine learning and data science, and apps/extensions to third party ecosystems (such as voice or CRM platforms). For the areas you tell us you’re involved in we ask you which programming languages, tools and platforms you use, how happy you are with the ones that you use (say, with your selected Cloud PaaS), and what you consider important in tools/platforms of this category (for example, scalability, ease of development, community). We ask you not just about the “how”, but also about the “what” and the “why”: why you got into development to begin with, what type of projects you’re working on, if and how you’re building a business around software development, and more. By understanding your motivations, projects and aspirations the technology builders can design solutions that are better suited to help you achieve your goals. We also ask about your learning interests, methods, and needs. Hopefully, that will lead to learning experiences suited to your style. Last but not least, and in order to help focus efforts on the most promising technologies, we gauge interest in and measure adoption of relatively new or emerging technologies, such as fog/edge computing and self-driving cars.

Developer Economics Survey: We know it is long.

Taking in your past feedback on the matter, we have put effort in making it shorter, and when some of you actually noticed I am not (very) ashamed to say I was hopping around the room in excitement. Some of you suggested that we break it down into smaller surveys. I might as well admit it, I am the villain who stubbornly resists that change!

The reason is simple: most of you are involved in more than one development areas, using multiple categories of tools, and the whole point here is to capture your full experience, across all sectors, and to map synergies between tools and platforms. We wouldn’t be able to do that if we were to ask you about each of the areas in a separate survey (plus we would be pestering you to take a survey ten times as much! You’re convinced now, right?). As another of our core values is to be data-driven, here’s the key data point behind this decision: “More than 80% of developers are involved in 2+ of the development areas that we track, and half are into at least four.” 
This is just an outline of who we are, what we do, and why. In case you have any comments or questions, please feel free to drop us a note and let us know of your thoughts. If you have already taken our 18th Developer Economics survey, we hope you enjoyed it and that you’ll spread the word among your friends – we’d love to welcome you all to our community. If you haven’t yet taken the survey we very much hope that you will, and that you won’t forget to say hello under that “Anything we forgot to ask?” open question at the end! There are 20+ pairs of eyes eagerly reading your feedback almost in real time, and virtually waving back to you. See you there.

Take the survey

developer economics survey


What have developers been reading

While novel readers were busy paging through murder mysteries and historical fiction this past spring, developer interests were data and analytics, Jakarta, cloud-native articles, Kubernetes and open source.

That’s what we discovered when we took a look at quarter-over-quarter pageview trends in A little background: 29 million unique readers visit each year. The research is based on article tags assigned by DZone editors and used to help readers search once they’re on our site. They aren’t keywords.

Consuming All Things Data in the Data Category

Our first pass researching tags occurred in the first quarter, when interest in data analytics and tools articles skyrocketed. Same situation for Q2 vs Q1. Our findings did show that readership shifted away from the data scientist tagline toward specific tools and data strategies that anyone can implement.


Of the fastest-growing data analysis topics, the data analysis tools tag grew over 30X, and related topics like ingesting data (the collection of data into/out of the database for immediate use) and augmented analytics (machine learning-powered data analysis) grew about 10X more popular with readers.

Terms like ingesting data and augmented analytics speak to the need for more than just a dashboard approach to consuming data. Tim Spann, a Big Data thought leader and field engineer at Cloudera, thinks a consolidation in analytics is underway.

“I think there’s going to be consolidation. And a lot of startups are going to try to integrate a couple of these things together. They’re going to try to add more features and differentiate themselves. You’re going to see more of the data analytics tools try to do ingest and vice versa, (so) they’ll be a more interactive platform,” he explains.

“You’re getting more data, you need to be able to ingest, you need to be able to analyze it, you need to be able to build apps out of them — it’s not just enough to have a static report, or even a dashboard that people look at, people actually have uses for this data.”

From Java EE to Jakarta

After Oracle announced in 2017 that they were handing over Java EE to the Eclipse Foundation, a few changes began to take place. One was that Enterprise Java would now be called Jakarta EE.

In the second quarter of this year, the Eclipse Foundation announced that all Jakarta specifications with “javax.*” must be changed to “jakarta.*” This had the potential to significantly impact, and potentially harm, existing Enterprise Java applications.

It’s no surprise that developers were on DZone searching for the best ways to comply with these changes. We saw a lot of growth in all related topic tags, including Enterprise Java, which grew 10 times more popular, and Jakarta, which grew over 35 times more popular in Q2.

Apps and Cloud-Native Development

Cloud-native development is drastically changing the way we build applications. The term cloud-native refers to a style of container-based development that creates applications from scratch, or refactors older applications, to be fully optimized for the cloud. This is very different from older application development philosophies that retroactively adjusted apps to be cloud-enabled using methods like lift-and-shift or re-platforming.

According to this article on what it means to be cloud-native, the applications contain three major traits. They are container-centric, dynamically managed (i.e., containers are managed and organized by Kubernetes or other similar platforms), and microservices-oriented.

From Q1 to Q2, many aspects of cloud development showed steady growth. However, topics specific to cloud-native development grew exponentially, with the term itself showing over 300% growth last quarter.

Related tags that also showed an increase included:

  • Cloud-based microservices (500%)
  • Cloud-native deployment (140%)
  • Scaling microservices (160%)


“The cloud-native ecosystem will see explosive growth as the growing adoption of Kubernetes will translate to a growing need to make it manageable for the enterprise. There are both huge gaps in tooling and many unrealized opportunities in making fleets of microservices more manageable — and we expect to see projects sprout up to handle both the gaps and the opportunities,” said Gwen Shapira, Data Architect at Confluent, in this interview with DZone.

Is Kubernetes the King of Development?

Kubernetes is the largest cloud-native platform designed to manage, scale, and deploy containers. As cloud-native development continues to grow, so does interest in Kubernetes.

“Kubernetes is a game changer. It’s slowly taking over the way the Internet works as far as application development and deployment,” explains Bob Reselman, an industry analyst and technical educator.

“It’s all changing so fast. Every five years, the stack is changing. Because of this, developers are finding themselves in a constant state of adaptivity and looking for the next best tool and ways to manage, scale, and deploy applications.”

Not surprisingly, we found topic tags related to Kubernetes and Kubernetes deployment showing tremendous growth from Q1 to Q2, including:

  • k8s — another name for Kubernetes (7X more popular).
  • Kubeadm — a fast-path command for creating a Kubernetes cluster (151%).
  • Kubelet — a command that runs individual Kubernetes nodes (118%).
  • Kubernetes services — rules and abstractions for Kubernetes pods (85%).
  • GKE — Google Kubernetes Engine (66% growth).

Open Source Topics Remain Popular Developer Interests

Nearly all of the above-mentioned topic tags contain one common theme: Open source.

The open-source topics that saw the most growth include:

  • Open APIs (11X).
  • Open source big data tools (200%).
  • Open source communities (110%).

Additionally, we saw growth in a wide range of open-source tools and platforms — some mentioned above, like Kubernetes, Apache, Jakarta, RSocket, and many more.

As the stack continues to change and evolve, developers will seek out open-source software first. Without question. Kubernetes, data tools like Apache Spark and Kafka— all open source, all dominating the ecosystem and rank high in developer interests.


“I believe enterprises will increasingly turn to managed platforms delivering 100% open-source technologies in 2019, as they increasingly seek to avoid the vendor and technological lock-in that remain too common with proprietary open source offerings,” explained Ben Slater, CPO at Instaclustr, in an interview with DZone late last year.

“Given the fact that commercialized open-source technologies can leave enterprises at the mercy of price increases (and make it impossible to run solutions on their own or implement useful modifications), fully open-source technologies offer a compelling alternative.”

“Open-source solutions are empowered by engaged communities that help ensure rapid improvements and bug resolution, better security, full transparency and reliability, and a faster time to market at a lower cost.”

About the author:

Lindsay is a Content Coordinator at Devada. She works closely with contributors to DZone, a website for software developers and IT professionals to learn and share their knowledge. Editing and reviewing submissions to the site, she specializes in content related to Java, IoT, and software security.