Working as a self-employed web developer can be incredibly rewarding. But succeeding in the field requires you to stay on top of new trends and tools and keep your skills up to date. 

There are tons of tutorials and online courses available to help you deepen your knowledge. That said, there’s nothing better than having a great book you can refer to whenever you need it. 

We’ve listed some of the best books for self-employed web developers to help you perfect your craft and run your business more efficiently. 

Our picks are:

  • HOOKED: How To Build Habit-Forming Products, by Nir Eyal
  • HTML & CSS + JavaScript & jQuery book set, by John Dockett
  • Eloquent Javascript, by Marijn Haverbeke
  • Don’t Make Me Think, Steve Krug
  • Creativity Inc., Ed Catmull
  • Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz
  • Learn JavaScript VISUALLY, by Ivelin Demirov
  • Deep Work, by Cal Newport

Best books for web developers

HOOKED: How To Build Habit-Forming Products

Nir Eyal

First on the list of our best books for web developers is this practical guide by Nir Eyal. This book introduced the ‘hook model’, which is a four-step process for creating the kind of products that people would want to use. 

Hooked is jam-packed with insights on consumer behaviour, tips for creating enticing products, and case studies to help you understand the concepts. 

The insights and tools in this book are extremely useful for every aspect of your business, from the web development process to marketing and branding

(Available on Amazon)

HTML & CSS + JavaScript & jQuery book set

Jon Duckett

This book set is top-rated, and for good reason. You’ll find everything you need in there, from the basics down to the more advanced web development topics.

These books also have beautiful illustrations that make learning web design and development more enjoyable. 

The HTML and CSS book covers tables, forms, structure, box model, styling with CSS3, and even SEO. In addition, the JavaScript and jQuery book introduces both these topics with lots of diagrams and infographics to explain the concepts. 

These books are perfect for new web developers. But, they’re also great to keep on hand if you ever need a refresher on the details. 

(Available on Amazon)

Eloquent Javascript

Marijn Haverbeke

Next on our list of best books for self-employed web developers is one of the most well-known JavaScript books to date. Eloquent JavaScript takes you through learning JS from the beginning up to the more complex concepts

To make the experience more enjoyable, Marijn Haverbeke also includes a ton of code examples and mini-projects to help you put your knowledge into practice.

The third (and latest) edition was released in December of 2018, meaning it’s up to date with ES6. This one also includes a brief chapter that goes through Node.js.

You can read Eloquent JavaScript online for free or buy the paper or Kindle version online.

Don’t Make Me Think

Steve Krug

This wonderful book discusses everything you need to know about intuitive navigation and information design. Don’t Make Me Think is one of the best-loved and most recommended books on the subject.

Witty, practical, and full of commonsense based points, this book is a must-have for any web developers looking to perfect their skills and build better websites.

After reading this gem, you’ll find the usability concepts Steve Krug mentions to be highly applicable to everyday designing.

(Available on Amazon)

Creativity Inc.

Ed Catmull

If you love Pixar movies and want to achieve the same level of creativity and skills as their team, this book is for you.

Ed Catmuss is one of the founders of Pixar Animation company and the creator of the amazing Toy Story. In Creativity Inc., he shares his experience and talks about ideas, techniques, and the creative process involved in Pixar. 

This book is all about creating and nurturing creativity. As a web developer, you can make this your personal guidebook to take your work to new heights of originality.

(Available on Amazon)

Paradox of Choice

Barry Schwartz

There’s an abundance of choices these days, whether you want to buy something, choose a career or subscribe to a service. When faced with too many options, we can begin doubting our decision

That’s where this book comes in.

Barry Schwartz helps you understand the psychology of choice for humans in an accessible, engaging way. This book is ideal when building websites for your clients to help them stand out from the crowd.

(Get it on Amazon)

Learn JavaScript VISUALLY

Ivelin Demirov 

New to web development and looking for a more visual way of learning? 

As the name suggests, this book allows you to learn about JavaScript visually with the help of interactive exercises. It also includes metaphors, illustrations and analogies to help you understand how JavaScript works. 

In this book, you’ll learn:

  • How to read and understand JavaScript.
  • The JavaScript syntax.
  • The basics of object-oriented programming.
  • The essential programming concepts in JavaScript.

This book is ideal if you’ve just started as a web developer or if you’ve tried programming before and found it tedious or difficult to follow. 

(Get it on Amazon)

Deep Work

Cal Newport

This book could change the way you approach work forever. Most people constantly try to do and achieve more, but Cal Newport has taken the opposite approach.

In Deep Work, Newport promotes taking the “less is more” approach and cutting out elements from your life that don’t lead you to your most important goals. 

He explains how he developed a practice of ultra-deep work over the years. Reading this book will help you find the same state of deep focus in your work and get more stuff done. 

(Available on Amazon)

Bonus tip: get the best bookkeeping tool

As you strengthen your self-employed web developing career, you’ll need to stay on top of your finances to succeed. But even with a library of knowledge, bookkeeping as a beginner web developer can be tough.

Fortunately, Countingup makes it much easier. This unique two-in-one business account and accounting software helps you manage your finances through one simple app.

Countingup makes financial management seamless and simple, freeing up tons of admin time that you can dedicate to growing your business instead.

Get started for free.

Related Resources

Read more