Top 5 best gifts for a programmer

Andrei Neagoie
Dec 19, 2018 · 4 min read
Photo by Caley Dimmock on Unsplash

Instead of writing another serious technical article as usual, let’s get into the holiday spirit by helping out those of you that have programmer friends and are waiting until the last minute to do your holiday shopping.

I have no affiliation with these products, although if any of these companies want to send me their product I will gladly accept since it would just be rude to refuse them...

Here is what to get your programmer friends so that they know, once and for all, that you give the best gifts and all of their other friends are inferior to you:

DJI Tello Drone

Yes, it’s a programmable drone! You can build your own web app dashboard or a mobile app to control the drone and fly it around the house to wreak havoc. IBM is actually doing a giveaway now so you can potentially get it for free.

AWS DeepRacer

This new fully autonomous 1/18th scale race car from Amazon is the funnest way to learn about machine learning (reinforcement learning) and self driving car technology. You can get started with the virtual car and tracks in the cloud based 3D racing simulator, or for a real-world experience, you can deploy your trained models onto AWS DeepRacer and take part in the global AWS DeepRacer League that they actually created. This isn’t a joke. It’s the greatest idea ever.

Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi is a small computer that can be programmed to do pretty much anything you want. You can build your own web server, your own robot, learn to hack using the Kali Linux distro, or even build your own security camera network. It’s one of the best learning tools I’ve ever used as a programmer, and a starter kit will give you so many possibilities.

The Art of Computer Programming

“At the end of 1999, these books were named among the best twelve physical-science monographs of the century by American Scientist, along with: Dirac on quantum mechanics, Einstein on relativity, Mandelbrot on fractals, Pauling on the chemical bond, Russell and Whitehead on foundations of mathematics, von Neumann and Morgenstern on game theory, Wiener on cybernetics, Woodward and Hoffmann on orbital symmetry, Feynman on quantum electrodynamics, Smith on the search for structure, and Einstein’s collected papers.”

Written by the legendary Donald Knuth, these books cover many kinds of programming algorithms and their analysis. It has become the bible of computer programming. Knuth has been working on these books since 1962 and they are still not fully finished. Although the books are a really difficult read, Bill Gates has said: “You should definitely send me a résumé if you can read the whole thing.

YubiKey 5

Security is important. One of the most secure things you can do on the internet is to use two factor authentication using a YubiKey. This is something even Google employees are using to keep themselves safe from phishing attacks. If you have no idea what this is, don’t worry, your programmer friend will love you for getting them this.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Learning never stops for a programmer. If you really love your friend, get them one of my courses to further their education…they will know you care about them then (use coupon code LEVELUPZTM):

Master the Coding Interview: Data Structures + Algorithms

The Complete Web Developer in 2019: Zero to Mastery

Junior to Senior Web Developer Roadmap

Zero To Mastery

Learn in demand skills in the most efficient way

Andrei Neagoie

Written by

Senior software developer. Currently teaching 160,000+ developers around the world modern skills. Say hi @andreineagoie or

Zero To Mastery

Learn in demand skills in the most efficient way

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