Geeks are notoriously difficult to shop for, and programmers are some of the biggest geeks around. Below are a few options that a typical code slinger might enjoy unwrapping this holiday season.
I'm not basing this list on anything scientific. It's just what I like and what a few programmers I know might like. If you've got any ideas of your own, please share them with the rest of us.
1. Programming Books
Most programmers are constantly out to find their next favorite language. I tend to like the O'Reilly set of books, however the Unleashed series is also very good. The examples below represent some of the more popular languages right now.
2. Safari Books Online
Price: $22.99/mo - $42.99/mo
Don't want to limit yourself to just one book? Grab your programmer a subscription to Safari Books Online. Here, you can download almost any programming book ever written whenever you want. It's a very valuable resource, although a little expensive since it's a monthly subscription.
3. Keyboard or Mouse
Let's face it, as programmers we're attached to these peripherals almost the entire day, and it pays to have a high quality set. Be careful though, I've heard stories about people becoming emotionally attached to their keyboard, so make sure they won't throw a fit when you try to replace it. If you've got the money, you can even spring for one of those Optimus Maximus keyboards.
4. Headphones or Earbuds
All we do is sit in a chair and stare at a screen, all day, every day. Having a high quality set of headphones or earbuds is imperative to our survival. When it comes to these, however, quality is the utmost importance. Don't look for a bargain and definitely don't go cheap. Sennheiser makes some of the best equipment around, so check them out.
5. Desk Toys
Having distractions, like toys, is another way for a programmer to pass the time. I like having a few things around that I can pick up and enjoy for a few minutes before getting back to work. Think Geek has a nice collection of what they call "Geek Toys" that I'm sure any programmer would like.
Price: $50 and up
Most people that work with computers are really good at collecting data that they never seem to have enough storage for. External hard drives, flash drives, and even blank DVDs make great storage solutions that any geek can use. If you go with a hard drive or flash drive, go big. A minimum HD size of 500GB and a minimum of 8GB for a flash drive is what will last a programmer a little while.
Hopefully this list helps some of you out there with no idea what to get that special programmer for the holidays.