Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Here's the slightly modified answer I just posted there (even though it's an old question):

Back when he was still doing podcasts Joel Spolsky answered the similar question, which was partly "Does a good programmer without a CS degree really have a chance to get a job at Fogcreek?[1]" (It's near the end of the page.)

He says that for a good self-taught programmer who began with a high-level language, say PHP or Java, who comes at programming from a practical perspective, there are a few important parts of the CS curriculum the person may have missed out on, and goes on to list some books that would help fill in those gaps.

Off the top of his head he named these books in about this order:

- Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs[2] (also free online[3])

- C Programming Language[4]

- The Unix Programming Environment[5]

- Introduction to Algorithms[6]

He said that those books covered the aspects of the CS curriculum his company needs in a good programmer, e.g. being able to create algorithms for an uncommon data structure.

Those books all have the added advantage of having exercises, and all being a very pleasant read. SICP is an introduction to many of the big ideas in CS: data structures, streams, recursion, interpretation, compilation, register machines, etc., and their implementation in Scheme (a kind of Lisp). It's a great place to start. The next two focus on implementation details like pointers and memory allocation. They are compact, powerful books. The last, Introduction to Algorithms, seems misleadingly titled, as it is fairly comprehensive and used in both undergraduate and graduate courses. If you work your way through the entire book, chapeau!

[1]: https://stackoverflow.fogbugz.com/default.asp?W29060

[2]: http://www.amazon.com/Structure-Interpretation-Computer-Prog...

[3]: http://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/

[4]: http://www.amazon.com/Programming-Language-2nd-Brian-Kernigh...

[5]: http://www.amazon.com/Unix-Programming-Environment-Prentice-...

[6]: http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Algorithms-Third-Thomas-C...




Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: