Are you looking for the perfect software engineer gift? Of course software engineers aren't all the same, but given they tech affinity, they oftentimes share the same interests and hobbies. This makes it relatively easy to amaze them with a nice gift. However, while some of them are safe choices, others require some technical knowledge of the person choosing the gift.
List of Software Engineer gift ideas, sorted by price
1. A mug with a clever software-themed design
Whether it's a punny phrase or a nerdy reference, this is a gift that they can use every day and appreciate. A more generic one might be a safe choice, but one specific to the programming languages used by the gifted person might be more ingenious.
2. A nerd t-shirt with a programming language or computer science joke
There are so many fun and creative options out there, and this is a gift that lets them show off their nerdy side. A coffee-related one is oftentimes considered funny in development teams. However, same as for mugs, one with an insider joke about a specific technology can be a good choice, too.
3. A notebook for taking notes, brainstorming ideas, or sketching out code
Software engineers are always thinking and creating, so a good quality notebook is a practical and thoughtful gift. You can find a developer-themed notebook here.
4. Coding books or online courses to help them learn new skills or deepen their understanding of their craft
Whether it's a new programming language or a software design methodology, there's always something new to learn in the world of software engineering. Some book recommendations can be found in my earlier blogpost.
5. A wireless charging pad for keeping their devices powered up without the need for cords
This is a convenient and practical gift that they'll use every day. There are 3-in-1 charging pads for charging smart watches, headphones and phones in parallel.
6. A nerf gun for blowing off steam and having some fun
Software engineers often have to sit at their desks for long periods of time, so a nerf gun is a great way to give them a break and let them let off some energy. If you live together with the person that receives the gift, you might want to think about this choice twice.
7. A desk lamp to help them see what they're doing and create a comfortable working environment
A good desk lamp can make a big difference in productivity and comfort. Lamps illuminating the desk from above the monitor are especially popular among developers.
8. A smart home device like a smart speaker or smart thermostat
Many software engineers are interested in smart home technology, and these devices are a fun and innovative way for them to play and experiment. Many of the devices listed here can be programmed with custom code.
9. A noise-canceling headset for blocking out distractions and focusing on their work
These are a must-have for anyone who works in a noisy environment or just needs to concentrate.
10. A programmable robotic kit to build and experiment with
This is a fun and educational gift that lets them apply their software skills in a new and exciting way. Programmable cars are a popular choice. If you programm them right, they can drive autonomously through your apartment or office space.
11. Computer hardware like CPU, GPU and RAM
This is certainly a more risky gift area that requires some knowledge about computers, and in particular the computer of the person being gifted. However, it can be a huge suprise as many coders don't expect to receive hardware as a gift.
12. A comfy office chair to help them stay comfortable and pain-free while they work
A good chair can make a big difference in comfort and productivity. Ergonomic office chairs can cost a little fortune, but given the time you spend on them, the budget is well spend.
13. A standing desk or desk converter to allow them to switch between sitting and standing
Long hours of sitting can be hard on the body, so this is a thoughtful gift that will help them take care of themselves. You don't need to purchase a fully-fledged elevatable desk. A more affordable elevated notebook stand can already make coding and having meetings more enjoyable.
14. A 3D printer for prototyping and creating new products
This is a gift that will appeal to software engineers who are interested in hardware and design. This might require some research, as the choice of 3D printers offered became huge.
15. High risk but maybe also high reward: A computer or laptop.
Especially when starting your career as a software developer, a new laptop can mean a heavy investment. If you can find others to crowdfund this, a laptop or computer can be a great gift.
There you have it – 15 gift ideas for software engineers that are sure to be appreciated. Happy shopping!