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This article was published on December 21, 2020

10 ultimate gift ideas for your favorite developer

10 ultimate gift ideas for your favorite developer Image by: Unsplash

Christmas is just around the corner. Even in the middle of a pandemic, or because of the pandemic, we may feel like treating others (and maybe ourselves) with a special gift. If you have a friend, family member, boyfriend, or girlfriend who codes, and you are looking for a perfect gift, I’d love to share some ideas with you.

I’ve handpicked ten gift ideas with the right items to put a smile on your developer friend. Since their prices range from relatively expensive to cheap, you can choose any of the following products according to your budget and preference.

And you can start shopping for gifts right after reading this post.

A mechanical keyboard

A developer with the perfect keyboard is a happy developer. And you can’t do better than with a mechanical keyboard, especially if the person you are gifting the keyboard is also a gamer.

There are mechanical keyboards of all sorts of prices. I use a Keychron K6 keyboard. It’s wireless, and the battery lasts up to 72 hours. It’s my daily drive and the one I’m using to write this article. It’s a fantastic keyboard any developer would love.

Keyboards also come in different sizes, so Keychron also offers the Keychron K2 that provides an additional row with function keys or the Keychron K1 with separate arrow keys.

Probably my favorite keyboard goes to the Ducky One 2 SF, which is a fantastic keyboard featuring cherry switches (some of the best switches out there). It’s customizable, comfortable, but a bit pricey.

A mouse

The mouse is another productivity tool for a developer; a must-have. There are a wide variety of mouses to choose from. If you are trying to impress someone with your gift, go with a wireless, ergonomic, fast-scrolling, or high-precision mouse.

One of the best mouse choices is the Logitech MX Master 3. It has an elegant design, is ergonomic and wireless, and has a thumbwheel that allows horizontal scrolling. You can pair it with up to 3 devices at the same time. One of the best features of this mouse is the scroll wheel with its fast mode. It’s a game-changer. It’s the mouse I use (I own the MX Master 2, but I’ll upgrade when I get the chance).

Another premium but cheaper choice is the Logitech M720 Triathlon wireless mouse. Like the MX Master 3, it can pair with up to 3 devices and support hyper-fast scrolling.

Raspberry Pi

If your friend loves robotics, IoT devices, or playing with computer hardware, one of the best gifts you can present them is a Raspberry Pi. With its 40 GPIO pins, your friend would be able to build everything from a robot to a full-blown computer and a web server.

The latest generation of Raspberry Pi is the Raspberry Pi 4 B . It has a 64-bit quad-core processor, capable of dual displays with resolutions up to 4K, and supports Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet connections. You can also choose one from the 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB RAM capacities.

A programming book

Gifting a book is a ritual that never gets old. And your gifted will be more than happy to add a book to their collection. The only bump in the road you’ll have to overcome is doing a bit of research beforehand to figure out if they already own the book you hope to gift.

When it comes to programming books for a knowledge-hungry developer, there are several choices you can go with. We already have put up a list of best book recommendations for programmers , so you don’t have to overwhelm yourself with the different choices. Select a book, or three, from the list, and yours will become one of the best gifts your friend received during Christmas.

A whiteboard

Whiteboards are perfect for visualizing abstract ideas like system designs and algorithms. Especially during the pandemic, when most developers work from home, they are an invaluable tool to collect and organize your thoughts, present them to others, and keep notes of things you want to get immediately get done.

One way or another, a whiteboard is an excellent gift for a developer. Your gift could replace their old whiteboard or introduce them to the practice of whiteboarding. On top of that, whiteboards won’t cost you much while still a great gift. Even better, you can select the best fit from a range of sizes .

A Udemy course

Gift the power of knowledge. It is a priceless gift if you know something your developer friend is keen on learning but haven’t yet gotten around to starting. Udemy has a wide range of courses that you can pick from for any topic or field. And the best thing is if you keep your eyes on when Udemy is having a flash sale, you can buy the course you want with up to 90% discount.

Some of the most popular Udemy courses among developers are:

  • Modern React with Redux by Stephen Grider: It’s one of the best courses if you want to master React and Redux.
  • Learn and Understand NodeJS by Anthony Alicea: This course gives you a complete introduction to Node.js, including how it works under the hood and more advanced concepts like buffers and streams.
  • Complete Data Science Bootcamp by 365 Careers Team: If you want a smooth but complete introduction to Data Science, this course will be perfect.

Noise-canceling headphones

Programmers hate distractions. Especially if you are working from home, there are more chances to be distracted from your work with everything going on inside the house with family members and children. So, what better way is there to cancel out the noise than a noise-canceling headphone?

Though not very budget-friendly, they are a great present to stay focus on work and tune in to your favorite Spotify playlists. Here are my recommendations: Sony WH1000XM3 and Bose QuietComfort 35 II .

I’m no expert in headphones, but those two were on the top of the list when I asked for recommendations.

External hard drives

An external hard drive is a gift that wouldn’t go to waste no matter what type of developer your friend is. They are always useful to store backup copies of our documents, photos, or videos. They can also be used as external storage for computers when you are low on your device’s disk space.

When deciding which hard drive to buy, you can either go with an HDD or an SSD. SSDs are on the expensive side compared to HDDs for the same storage size but provides high-speed data transfers.

An excellent choice for an HDD is this Seagate Backup Plus Portable HDD . SanDisk Extreme Portable External SSD is a perfect choice on the SSD front.

A fun and cheeky mug or a T-shirt

If you are looking for a gift to put a grin on your friend’s face, definitely go for something fun and cheeky like a mug or a T-shirt with hilarious programming jokes. They are cheap but never fails to become a memorable gift.

You can go for this “I turn coffee into code” T-shirt or this “Eat, Sleep, Code, Repeat” T-shirt . Spend a few minutes on Amazon, and you’ll be able to find dozens of T-shirts that are made just for developers.

There are also a hilarious collection of mugs with bad programming jokes. Check out this “I survived another meeting that should have been an email mug” and “6 stages of debugging” mug .

Gift cards

If you are not sure about the giftee’s preferences and habits, presenting them with a gift card is the best gift you can choose. It gives them the choice to buy anything they want with the card and you don’t have to worry about them not liking your gift or not finding it useful.

You can buy an Amazon gift card easily online. If the friend is a coffee addict, you can give them a Starbucks gift card.

You can also buy gift cards for Netflix and Spotify. Even if your friend had Netflix and Spotify subscriptions already, they would appreciate the chance to not pay subscription fees out of their own pocket for a few months.


There are multiple gift options for developers that go through all price ranges. No matter what you choose remember that the holidays are all about being together and enjoying each other not so much about what gifts we receive.

This article was originally published on Live Code Stream by Juan Cruz Martinez (twitter: @bajcmartinez), founder and publisher of Live Code Stream, entrepreneur, developer, author, speaker, and doer of things.

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