This blog post showcases some books to advance your career to the next level. We will look into books relevant to DevOps, Site Reliability, and Cloud Engineers & Architects around technical, business, personal growth, and other topics. The list includes a collection of free and paid books in various areas and links to them.
Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, and many excellent books are out there. This collection is heavily opinionated based on my taste, professional experiences, and influences. If your favorite book isn’t mentioned, please drop a comment below, as I am always searching for new inspiration and exceptional books for my library.
I have grouped the books into categories, and for each book, I will mention a few sentences regarding why I believe it’s a great read. The boundaries between some of these categories are blurry, so some books could also belong to other groups. Don’t treat this categorization as static but as a means to share some interesting books with you.
This section gathers some inspirational books about DevOps evolution and what that means in practice for organizations and their people.
1. Accelerate. The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations
This book focuses on measuring software delivery performance and building technology organizations to drive business value. It claims that the performance of software teams can provide a competitive advantage and discusses the tactics, metrics, and methods organizations should invest in to achieve higher outputs.
2. The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping your Business Win
A classic must-read IT fictional novel inspired by real-world situations and big organizations failing to embrace digitalization and the DevOps movement. People who work in any IT-related role will relate to or find familiar some of the characters in this book. An amusing read that will give you an interesting perspective on productivity and improving tech organizations.
3. The Unicorn Project: A Novel about Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Data
As the sequel to the Phoenix Project, this novel emphasizes issues and challenges that developers and IT folks face while navigating the corporate jungle. It provides the perspective of technical contributors on the difficult journey of adopting digital transformation and modern DevOps practices across an organization.
4. Cloud Native DevOps with Kubernetes: Building, Deploying, and Scaling Modern Applications in the Cloud
This book walks you through DevOps practices in building cloud-native applications running in Kubernetes. It goes over modern best practices for containerized workloads and dives into each aspect of the Kubernetes ecosystem.
5. The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability & Security in Technology Organizations
The DevOps Handbook is a practical guide to what DevOps means and how to replicate the success of high-performing companies. Picking it off where The Phoenix Project stops, it explains how organizations can exceed productivity goals by adopting effective practices while balancing agility, reliability, and security.
6. AWS Fundamentals
This is an ebook for anyone wanting to learn about the basic AWS services and how to start building with AWS. It is focused on AWS usage in the real world.
This part provides some of the most foundational books in the Site Reliability Engineering field pioneered by Google.
1. Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems (2016)
This book by Google is considered one of the most influential resources in service management and running production systems at scale. It explains in detail Google’s approach to service Management and what Site Reliability means in practice. A must-read resource for any IT-related role in the modern era.
2. The Site Reliability Workbook: Practical Ways to Implement SRE
Following the footsteps of the previous book, Site Reliability Engineering, this workbook offers practical guidance, proposed practices, implementation of principles, case studies, and experiences from the field while focusing tremendously on reliability and successful outcomes.
3. Building Secure and Reliable Systems: Best Practices for Designing, Implementing and Maintaining Systems
Another excellent site reliability book inspired by engineering work, real-world cases, and examples at Google. In this third book from Google on the subject, we are offered insights into system thinking and design, implementation, and maintenance with security and reliability considerations in mind.
4. Seeking SRE: Conversations about Running Production Systems at Scale
This book builds on top of the main Google SRE books and attempts to analyze and discuss different ways of implementing SRE in practice. It contains interviews and opinions of people with practical SRE experience over the past years and their stories.
5. Implementing Service Level Objectives: A Practical Guide to SLIs, SLOs, and Error Budgets
This resource provides excellent guidance, practical information, and insight into how to implement service-level objectives. This guide includes advice about tooling, approaches, culture creation, and setting meaningful targets.
This section gathers books on designing and architecting software and systems. The more senior any DevOps, Site Reliability, or Cloud Engineer becomes, the more involved they will have to be in the architecture and design of robust systems. Spending time building these skills will come in handy long-term.
1. Clean Architecture: A Craftsman’s Guide to Software Structure and Design
This classic book delves into the universal rules of software architecture and discusses essential principles, use cases, and paradigms relevant to anyone working closely with software.
2. Fundamentals of Software Architecture: An Engineering Approach
As advertised, this book provides an engineering approach to software architecture by drilling down to all the essential components, patterns, principles, characteristics, and tools any aspiring software architect needs to kickstart their career.
3. Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture
Another classic read focused on developers and architects working in enterprise organizations. Learn some of the most battle-tested and practical architecture patterns to succeed in enterprise application development.
4. Designing Distributed Systems: Patterns and Paradigms for Scalable, Reliable Services
Nowadays, distributed systems are everywhere, and this book collects design patterns, ideas, and paradigms to ease the architecture and development of efficient and reliable modern distributed systems.
5. Building Microservices: Designing Fine-Grained Systems
Microservices architectures have become extremely popular over the last decade. This book presents different aspects and topics around building and scaling microservices, along with considerations and the new unique problems that come with this approach.
6. Software Architecture: The Hard Parts: Modern Trade-Off Analyses for Distributed Architectures
This book takes a closer look into some difficult topics in software architecture. It discusses different trade-offs, compromises, and tough decisions architects should often make while navigating complex systems.
7. Design Patterns for Cloud Native Applications: Patterns in Practice Using APIs, Data, Events, and Streams
Since companies have embraced the cloud over the last years, the paradigm of cloud-native application has emerged. This book explains the fundamentals of cloud-native apps and offers a practical guide and key patterns to design, develop, deploy, maintain, and operate them at scale.
In this section, I gather resources covering fundamental topics and tools that any engineer working in the cloud space should be familiar with.
1. 97 things every cloud engineer should know – collective wisdom from experts
An excellent resource for any cloud engineer that gathers knowledge, wisdom, and valuable insights from other cloud professionals. It briefly discusses topics around operations, networking, software architecture, culture, modern cloud-native practices, security, compliance, software development, and many more.
2. Linux Notes for Professionals
This free book was composed by Stack Overflow folks, to whom all of us probably owe way too much. It gives you a quick overview of the Linux operating system and basic tools, concepts, commands, and configurations to start playing around if you are new to Linux.
3. Principles of Network and System Administration
An introduction to necessary concepts and principles of system administration and network engineering that stood the test of time. In this book, a lot of focus is given into day to day operations and administration, maintenance, and support of systems and networks at an enterprise level.
4. Git Notes for Professionals
Like the Linux Notes book, this free resource is compiled by Stack Overflow people and is an excellent place to learn more about Git and its various capabilities.
Security is a fundamental aspect of DevOps and software development. Still, we often emphasize the subject since it’s usually overlooked until late in the development lifecycle. DevSecOps aims to make security a shared responsibility and integrate applications and infrastructure security from the start.
1. DevSecOps: A leader’s guide to producing secure software without compromising flow, feedback, and continuous improvement
This book explains how we can incorporate security considerations and principles into the DevOps lifecycle and presents an approach to designing and developing systems with a security-first mindset.
2. Secure by Design
This resource advocates that building secure systems comes naturally if proper design principles, best practices, and conscious choices are made during the definition and design phases.
3. Security and Microservice Architecture on AWS: Architecting and Implementing a Secured, Scalable Solution
This book presents a practical guide to building secure microservices architectures based on the AWS ecosystem. It goes over high-level concepts, best practices, and design principles for secure distributed systems and deep dives into leveraging AWS services to achieve this.
As data engineering has become an indispensable part of each modern organization and well-functioning system, this section contains two great books introducing you to the data engineering world.
1. Fundamentals of Data Engineering: Plan and Build Robust Data Systems
As advertised, this resource explains the fundamental concepts of data engineering and targets any software or IT professional working close to the data engineering lifecycle. It overviews the entire data engineering landscape, common issues, and best practices.
2. Designing Data-Intensive Applications: The Big Ideas Behind Reliable, Scalable, and Maintainable Systems
This book is a best-seller and a must-read for anyone working with data and modern applications. It showcases different aspects of dealing with data, like scalability, consistency, reliability, efficiency, and maintainability.
As programming plays a vital part in every cloud engineer’s job, this section discusses two books focused on learning two modern programming languages.
1. Fluent Python: Clear, Concise, and Effective Programming
Python is one of the most used and easy-to-start programming languages of modern times. This book focuses on using the most out of the Python language and using idiomatic approaches to improve your code in terms of performance, efficiency, and readability.
2. Learning Go: An idiomatic Approach to Real-World Go Programming
Similarly, this book focuses on the specifics and idioms of the Golang programming language. It demonstrates how to leverage its native characteristics to build web services and start thinking like a Go developer.
Although software development might not be your primary area of expertise and focus, understanding the basic principles that drive software architecture, decisions and development will help you tremendously in the field.
1. Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
This book describes some of the most fundamental concepts of software development and best practices for writing clean, well-documented, concise, and understandable code.
2. Domain-Driven Design
This resource is one of the most influential books for navigating complex and modern multi-layered systems and business domains. It explains in detail how to build effective models and map business domains to software designs.
3. The Pragmatic Programmer: Your journey to mastery
The Pragmatic Programmer is another classic read for any aspiring programmer. It offers insights that stand the test of time and can help new developers grow and understand how they can master their craft.
4. Docs for Developers: An Engineer’s Field Guide to Technical Writing
Everyone would agree that documentation plays a vital role in software development and maintenance of software systems, but it is often overlooked. This book deep dives into the craft of documentation and demonstrates how to approach the subject holistically.
This part assembles a collection of business, team organization, and product design books. Engineers who understand what drives decisions around these topics are more productive and can better assist their teams and organizations.
1. Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love
A best-seller book inspired by products of the most successful tech companies for your bookshelf. This book addresses fundamental modern concepts and ideas of product design and development to take your products to the next level.
2. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
The Lean Startup book provides an approach for building startups and new products from the ground up, focusing on efficiency, continuous learning and feedback loops, experimentation, and quick shifts in directions if necessary.
3. Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth
A pragmatic guide to implementing objective key results across an organization, focusing on the top priorities, and measuring the right things.
4. Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow
This book discusses different approaches to structuring teams for higher performance and when to consider organizational changes. It goes over common successful team patterns and examines how teams can evolve when organizations grow.
5. Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You
The Platform Revolution book introduces readers to the concept of building successful platforms that have the potential to disrupt their markets.
6. When Coffee and Kale Compete: Become great at making products people will buy
This book introduces the Job to be Done framework and how it relates to innovation and product development. It also gathers real-life experiences and stories of several entrepreneurs and business owners about building successful products or failed products.
This section contains a few books you might find helpful when preparing for your next DevOps, Software Development, or Cloud Architecture interview.
1. System Design Interview: An Insider’s Guide & System Design Interview: An Insider’s Guide: Volume 2
These two books will give you a significant boost of confidence for your following system design interview. Inside them, you will find real-world examples of system architectures with their trade-offs, design considerations, and diagrams.
2. Cracking the Coding Interview: 189 Programming Questions and Solutions
This book is a must for anyone preparing for a coding interview. It gathers various hints, details, solutions, explanations, techniques, and concepts you will need to ace your following programming interview.
Besides technical skills, engineers must grow their interpersonal, functional, and soft skills to advance their careers and move into leadership roles. This section presents some books that could help you evolve in different areas and let you level up your career.
1. Never Split the Difference: Negotiate as if Your Life Depended on it
Whether we realize it or not, our professional lives are full of negotiations. We negotiate deadlines, salary raises, or day-to-day activities with our colleagues and managers. This book provides an actionable framework for preparing better and learning the art of negotiation to help you get the most out of such situations.
2. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
One of the most influential resources on the topic of personal organization and managing work-life balance effectively.
3. Leading: Learning from Life and My Years at Manchester United
One of the most successful soccer coaches of all time shares his personal views and insights on leadership in this book. It is an inspiring resource with many lessons we can extrapolate to business and our daily lives.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you found some of these suggestions insightful and helpful for your career and personal progression. We explored resources across technical and non-technical subjects to boost your skills and enrich your book collection.
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