8 Awesome Gift Ideas for Techies

We all have that person on our list that makes it impossible to get them some generic accessory or knickknack. Unique or specialized interests don’t always offer outsiders easy and abundant gift ideas. Here at Hackbright we can’t help much with that uncle whose only passion is fly fishing, or your super minimalist, hobby-less roommate, but we do know a whole lot of incredible technical women and other techies. So we reached out to our network to find out what exactly these programmers and hackers are hoping to receive this holiday season. Hopefully, their wish list will provide a little inspiration for anyone stumped by the girl geek on their list. (Or, feel free to indulge and just splurge on any of these ideas for yourself!)

Eye glasses

1. Computer Glasses

Hannah Wright, founder of HR Partner, is personally hoping to find a set of Gunnar Intercept 24K Computer Glasses in her stocking ($79.99). “Not only are the Gunnar Intercept glasses made for high-resolution viewing, but they can also help prevent eye strain, making it much easier to stare at a computer for hours at a time,” she told Hackbright in an email. Several other’s mentioned a generic desire for computer glasses too.


2. Arduino Kit

If the technical woman in your life is focused primarily on software for work, maybe she would enjoy toying around with something more hands on for fun in the New Year. Australian developer Judith Gammie certainly would. That’s why she’d love to get an Arduino kit this year.

“As a developer, I spend my days deep in lines of code. I’ve always wanted to tinker with some hardware, which is why I’d love an Arduino kit,” she explained. “I could do some cool automation stuff with it, or even make a weird little musical instrument.” 

To learn more about Arduino, see what Hackbright Mentor and Director of Infrastructure Engineering at Slack, Julia Grace, has to say about it in her Intro to Arduino Tutorial.

tinsel headphones

3. Awesome Headphones

When we reached out via email and social media to see what they were craving, one thing came up again and again – awesome headphones! Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant is dreaming of “new stylish Tinsel headphones. As much as I love my Bose headphones they are not always the ‘cutest’ apparatus to wear and Tinsel offers a great, lighter, and more stylish option that I’m interested in giving a try,” she wrote us.  

Engineer Lori J. Williams meanwhile recommends gift buyers pick up a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Titanium headphones ($129.95), which she owns and loves. Lots of other ladies got in touch with a wish for an excellent pair of noise cancelling headphones. It seems you can’t go wrong with this idea.


4. Stitch Fix

Geek girls like to look stylish as the next woman, which makes Stitch Fix an awesome gift idea. The subscription personal styling service provides all the fashion without any of the hassle. “A personal stylist online who can save me trips to the mall on a busy schedule? I’ll take it,” adds Bryant.  


5. Dyson Hairdryer

Similarly, Hackbright alum, Cristina Pastelero, is hoping for a gift that combines a love of looking your best with an appreciation for fine engineering – a Dyson hairdryer. Though at $399 this combination of fabulous hair and great design doesn’t come cheap.

Did you know that along with high-end vacuums, air purifiers, and hair dryers, Dyson also runs the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology? It’s no wonder that tech-savvy women like Pastelero opt for their cutting-edge technology.



6. A Flash Drive

Looking for something more in the stocking-stuffer price range? A bunch of those we spoke to mentioned they’d be thrilled to receive a great flash drive this year. Wright is specifically eying the SanDisk – Cruzer 32GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive ($29.99), calling it “a useful, extremely practical gift.” Founders Marketing CEO Kristi E. DePaul wants an Omars lightning stick ($33.99) “for external phone storage/file transfer anywhere and everywhere.”

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7. STEM Inspired Games for Kids

Got a technical woman on your gift giving list who is also a mom? Then Codeship product manager Kelly Bowker has a suggestion: how about a Bloxels kit to introduce their little one to video game design? (This might also be a good present for anyone who is still a kid at heart). Angie Chang, founder of Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners and Women 2.0,  points out there’s also “Goldieblox, Roominate, and Hopscotch – all women-led startups helping the next generation of girls become future coders.”

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8. Empowerment in Book Form

Want to encourage the technical woman you’re buying for and provide her with some additional skills to take on the world? Then there’s no shortage of great books specifically pitched at empowering female tech leaders, such as Women in Tech: Take Your Career to the Next Level with Practical Advice and Inspiring Stories edited by Tarah Wheeler Van Vlack. The book mixes practical advice and inspiration from many leading women in tech. Lean Out: The Struggle for Gender Equality in Tech and Start-Up Culture by Elissa Shevinsky is another good option.

Chang also points to Go Against the Flow by Charu Sharma, calling it “really useful content for aspiring entrepreneurs.” Amazon describes the book this way:  “An innovative and ground-breaking new book” that “brings together wisdom from several established and up and coming women business leaders in sharing their candid and introspective insights on how to become a successful entrepreneur.”

What gifts are you dreaming of receiving this holiday season? Let us know!

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in November 2016 and may be out of date.

Are you ready to get started with your career in tech? Learn more about our full-time 12-week and part-time 24-week immersive software engineering program and Hackbright’s 5-week Python Basics Prep course.

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