I'm pretty sure about who, but when?

The one with proficient knowledge of programming and software development or the one who's just a beginner in programming?

I'm pursuing bachelors right now, when is it preferable for folks like me to read this Must read for programmers book?


4 Answers 4


Like Robert Harvey said, it's probably best to read it as an intermediate programmer. I read it after having programmed, more or less, for 10 years. After having read it, I wished I had read it at least 5 years sooner.

Code Complete is a bible of best (or at least very good) practices which you only really appreciate after first having tried out a few of your own. It's like doing a math exercise - you won't appreciate the solution unless you've first made your own stab at it. Maybe the book's solution solved the problem differently compared to your solution, and while the final answer may be the same it is the approach which is interesting. Some approaches are better than others, are more intuitive and yield a better understanding of the problem. The same goes for programming.

The following quote of Robert Harvey really says it best:

If you're a beginning programmer you won't understand a lot of the material, and if you are experienced, the book will only confirm what you already know.


When one is considering a career in programming.

When one is a programmer.

That means it's OK to read it more than once.


I would have probably got the most from it around a year after I graduated. It was useful when I did read it ( about five years later ) but there was some stuff there that I had learned the hard way and I really wished I had known about sooner.

I read The Pragmatic Programmer at the same time and that was spot on- I wouldn't have been ready for that any earlier than when I read it.


My case: As soon as possible. And then I open it from time to time when I want to refresh something specific or in a random page.

McConnel changed my life :-)

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