It's that time of year again, and there's a good chance you might be looking for gift ideas for your programmer friends. Or, maybe, you need a list to pass on to your friends and family, so they have some ideas for you! Either way, this list of geeky gifts should cover most developers.
Being developers and geeks, we all love gadgets, right? Here are a couple of great ones that your friends will definitely enjoy.
While there’s a pretty good chance that all the geeks in your life have a tablet of some flavor, if not, one of these will make for a great gift.
If your geek recipient is a big book reader, perhaps a dedicated reading device might be more appreciated. Of course, the Kindle may be the most popular, but it’s certainly not the only option.
This one is for the hard-core programming geek in your life. As its website says, Arduino is an “open-source electronics prototyping platform.” There are all kinds of simple (and not so simple) programming projects you can do with one of these boards and a few add-ons, both practical and fun. You can find a distributor near you on the Arduino website.
If your geek audience is a bit younger, you might consider the Raspberry Pi: this is a super-inexpensive, credit-card-sized computer that plugs into a TV and a keyboard. It’s a great way to learn a lot about programming. The right sidebar on the Raspberry Pi homepage lists several places to buy one.
Every developer will appreciate a really good set of headphones: most of us wear ’em all day long! There are a dozens of good models out there, but here are a few of what we consider to be the best.
- Beats Studio (I recently bought these, and love them.)
- Bose AE2 audio headphones
- Audio-Technica ATHM50S Professional Monitor Headphones
- Sennheiser PXC 450 Headphones
Developers (and, really, geeks in general) never stop learning, so pretty much any book will be a great choice. Here’s what I think your developer friends will enjoy.
Most developers aren’t known for their design skills, but this book should, at the very least, keep them from burning any eyeballs.
For the front-end developer in your life: Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS is a great guide to using CSS and CSS frameworks.
Alternatively, get this book as part of a Tuts+ Premium Membership.
Anyone who develops or designs on the front end will appreciate this book, “the complete, strategic guide to mobile web design.” Of course, any A Book Apart volume would make a good choice for any front-ender.
Most programmers love learning new languages, and this book will help them do just that. But rather than learn a single language in-depth, they’ll learn the basics of seven in just over two months; talk about broadening your perspective!
Much like the last book, this one will take your recipient through seven extremely different databases, teaching them the core concepts of each one.
Have a friend who wants to get into building websites? PHP is a great place to start, and this recently-released (or, recently-updated) book would be a great book to start with.
Sure, Rails 4 isn’t out yet, but it will be soon. Any Rails developer will appreciate this book to help him or her keep up to date.
Other Fun Stuff
And that’s hardly the beginning of geeky gifts. Here are a few more ideas that the geek in your life would love to receive:
We geeks know better than anyone that not every gift needs to be tangible. While we're certainly (and obviously) partial to the wonderful Tuts+ Premium, the truth is that there are a variety of great subscription services for developers at any level, including:
Of course, not all your gifts have to be code-related. Nearly anyone—not just developers—would appreciate one of these gift cards:
- iTunes (also works with the App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store)
- Amazon Gift Card
- Help a Business (Kiva)
That’s a wrap (pun totally intended)! Did I leave off anything that you're buying for your geeky friends? Or something that you're secretly hoping for? Let's hear it in the comments!