Top 10 Best Gifts for Software Engineers – 2018 Edition

Best Gifts for Software Engineers - Featured ImageUnless you’re one yourself, the daily job duties of a software engineer can seem a bit mysterious. This can make buying the perfect gift for one seem difficult. What types of gifts will a software engineer enjoy? What particular aspects of their job and personality are important to consider when shopping for a present?

Fortunately, you don’t need to understand computer software in order to find a great gift. We’ve downloaded all the data on the 10 best gifts for software engineers in 2018. Plus, we’ve also included a complete shopping guide with everything you need to know.

“Future Software Engineer” Infant Creeper from inktastic

Although the work can be stressful, being a software engineer is generally considered a pretty good job. If you know a software engineer with a little boy or girl, this one-piece crawler can help put them on the road to a future career like their mom or dad. The front reads “Future Software Engineer” accompanied by a cute cartoon of a smiling baby’s face.

This unisex bodysuit is available in pink, hot pink and baby blue. Made from 100% cotton, it’s soft against sensitive baby skin. A reinforced three-snap closure allows for fast and easy diaper changes. Proudly made in the U.S.A.

The creeper is a great gift to give any new parent. Also appropriate for any co-workers returning from maternity leave.

Computer Patent Collection Art

This 20 by 24-inch poster features a series of patents related to computers and technology. Accurate and detailed designs with annotations. An interesting look back at important milestones in the history of computer development. Includes patents for the first microchip, hard drive, graphics card and more.

The artwork is printed on heavyweight, premium paper which won’t fade or yellow with time. Available either framed or unframed, with or without glass. The black-and-white images are both informative and visually striking. Looks great at home or in the office.

Data Queen T-Shirt

Of course, not all software engineers are men. This T-shirt is a great gift for any female software engineers you may know. Featuring a design of a crown and the phrase “Data Queen,” this shirt lets everyone know the wearer is software-engineering royalty.

Shirt is available in black, grey, blue, pink and purple. Solid colored shirts are made from 100% cotton. Lightweight with a classic fit, the shirt has double-needle sleeves and a bottom hem. To clean, simply toss the shirt into the washing machine and wash on cold.

“World’s Okayest Engineer” Keychain

This fun keychain is lots of laughs for any type of engineer. Keychain contains two different tokens. One reads “Engineer Only Because Full Time Multitasking NINJA is Not an Actual Job” while the other reads “World’s Okayest Engineer.” Both are removable if you prefer one slogan over the other.

The keychain is made from stainless steel and won’t tarnish or rust. Suitable for anyone with sensitive skin. The bar pendant length is 1.97 inches long by .47 inches wide. Includes a velvet pouch for safe storage.

Software Engineer’s Humor Edition

This 24-page hardcover booklet shows the lighter side of software engineering with comedy and cartoons. Each page features an elaborate cartoon about some aspect of software engineering. The full-color cartoons are PG-rated and perfectly appropriate for the workplace.

Even the book itself is a work of art. Each page is six by eight inches and made from high-quality, eco-friendly paper. Some pages even include fill-in-the-blank portions for interactive fun. A great gift sure to get the whole office laughing.

Pages are colorful and easy-to-read from afar. You can even remove individual cartoons and post them on the wall. Aside from a book, this gift as works as a series of 24 mini-posters.

Aluminum Water Bottle with “Engineer Nutritional Label”

Staying hydrated is important during long work days. This white aluminum water bottle holds 18 ounces of your favorite liquid. Keeps cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours. Plus, bottle is durable and easy to carry with a carabiner clip on the screw top.

The side of the bottle is printed with comedic “Engineer Nutritional Facts” with a Daily Value of 1000% Critical Thinking, 0% Wrong Answers and 110% Caffeine. For best results, hand wash only. Aside from use around the office, the water bottle is also a great choice for hiking, traveling, sporting events and more.

“Software Engineer Est. 2018” T-Shirt

This classic T-shirt proudly identifies the wearer as a new software engineer. A great gift for recent grads of any engineering, computer science or related program. Available in black, blue, purple and gray.

Shirt is made from 100% cotton and easy to care for. Simply wash on cold in your washing machine and then dry on low heat. A perfect gift for any graduate about to enter the working world.

Soft Skills: The Software Developer’s Life Manual

For many software developers, the coding and creating is the easy part. It’s dealing with everything else that can be difficult. This book from John Z. Sonmez covers a wide range of information related to the life of a professional software developer.

Topics covered include building a personal brand, how to learn new processes quickly, the importance of establishing a fitness routine and much more. The book has a fun, humorous tone which is sure to engage any reader. Filled with practical, real-world advice about the ups and downs of being a software engineer. Hardcover edition includes free access to an e-book version.

Developer Stickers from ByteSwag

Stickers are an easy way to add a bit of fun to routine office work. This pack of 35 stickers is perfect for software developers, coders, engineers and anyone else who works around computers. Each sticker features the logo of a different developer tool or library. Includes Angular, V8, Python, Java, Ruby, Android and many more.

Also includes a bonus pack of 50 random stickers. While these extra stickers aren’t related to programming, they’re a fun grab-bag of pop culture references and cartoons. Each sticker is made from 100% New PVC and varies in size from two to five inches. They’re also waterproof and won’t fade in the sun.

The Effective Engineer by Edmond Lau

Software engineers possess many different skills, but they don’t always know how to apply those skills for the best possible outcome. Specifically, how can they use their engineering know-how to leave a positive, lasting impact on the world? The Effective Engineer by Edmond Lau helps any engineer realize their full potential at both work and in life.

The book uses plenty of real-world examples including stories about Google, Etsy, Facebook and Dropbox. Each story includes actionable steps the reader can take to create a clear benefit in work or life. You’ll learn how to complete products quicker, cheaper and easier than ever before. Not only will you become a better software engineer, but you’ll also learn how to improve your total work/life balance.

How to Find the Best Gift for a Software Engineer

Software engineers often have unique skills and interests. Identifying those traits is the key to finding a perfect gift they’re sure to enjoy. But before you can shop for a software engineer, you’ll need to understand the basics of what the job entails. Here’s a look at the answers to common questions about shopping for a software engineer:

What is a Software Engineer?

A software engineer creates the programs which run, well, just about everything. Software engineers create computer programs such as word processing programs, accounting programs and even the browser you’re using right now. They also create the software which helps run your car, regulate the temperature in your house or even brew your morning coffee.

However, software engineers aren’t necessarily programmers. A programmer is someone who writes the computer code which actually creates the software. While many software engineers understand how to code, their specific job duties are usually a little broader.

Software engineers start by figuring out what type of software is needed, and then they oversee its creation. They’ll typically work alongside a variety of coders, marketing experts and other people both technical and business-oriented.

How Does a Software Engineer’s Job Determine What Gifts They Like?

A software engineer’s daily duties are typically long and often stressful. Most software development is in a perpetual state of falling behind a deadline. This means gifts software engineers love often have the following qualities:

  • They poke fun at the constant demands a software engineer faces
  • They provide a way for software engineers to de-stress
  • They acknowledge the unique skills software engineers possess
  • They poke (gentle) fun at the stereotypical traits of a software engineer

More often than not, software engineers have nerdy hobbies and interests – and they’re proud of it. We’re not saying every software engineer loves sci-fi and fantasy, but there are definitely more than a few who do.

Of course, not every software engineer is the same. Try to identify what specific interests the person has. Are they a Star Wars fan? Star Trek? Rick and Morty? Pay attention to the TV shows and movies they show an interest in, as they can often be a great clue to finding the perfect present.

When Should I Give a Gift to a Software Engineer?

Birthday and major holidays are, of course, always a great time to give a gift. But other specific days also often deserve a gift. Developing software is a big task with a variety of small deadlines and milestones which occur along the way.

Hitting these deadlines is often the result of a lot of blood, sweat and tears. If you know a software engineer who has recently made major progress at work, celebrate with a small gift like a funny engineering-themed mug. When the project is completely finished, consider a larger present such as a high-quality poster featuring computer patents.

What Gift Should I Give When I Don’t Know the Recipient Well?

Over a million people are employed as software engineers in the U.S. So the chances are actually pretty good you’ll cross paths with a software engineer at some point in your life. What type of gift should you give to a software engineer who is an acquaintance or co-worker?

First, always keep the gift small and simple. There’s no need to spend big. A small item is enough to show thoughtful appreciation. When shopping for a co-worker, gifts like coffee cups, T-shirts and water bottles are often a good choice.

Stay away from any gifts with adult humor. Although risqué comedy can certainly be funny in a gift between friends, it’s almost always inappropriate for the office. However, safe for work comedy – such as the Software Engineer’s Humor Edition hardcover book mentioned above – can make a gift more memorable.

Where Do Software Engineers Like to Shop?

If you’re really stumped on what to buy a software engineer, consider a gift card to somewhere they like to shop. Not sure what location is best? Generally, software engineering is powered by two things: computers and caffeine.
A gift certificate to a local coffee shop is almost always appreciated. Likewise, so will a gift certificate to either a website or physical store which sells computer equipment.

How Does an Engineer’s Workspace Affect What Gifts They’ll Enjoy?

Software engineers typically work in offices. Most software developers spend most of the workday sitting at a desk in front of a computer. The hours can be long and often difficult.

Consider gifts which increase office comfort. Major gifts can include an ergonomic chair or a standing desk. However, small gifts are also a good choice. A simple chair pillow can help provide back and leg support when sitting for a long time. Other office-related gifts include lamps, a floor mat, mechanical pencils and more.

Don’t forget about office decorations. A poster, coffee mug or other relatively simple object can really brighten the entire look and feel of an office. The poster described above, with images from early computer patents, is appropriate for most engineering workspaces. Remember that anything going in an office must be free from swearing and inappropriate humor.

Do you know a software engineer who often has to bring work home? Give them a durable tote bag or briefcase. Another useful option is a laptop bag, as most engineers typically use a laptop at least part of the time.

Final Thoughts

Software engineers are often a misunderstood bunch. They have a unique blend of technical and business skills which they’re rightfully proud of, but which others don’t always recognize. Giving a gift related to their job is more than just a thoughtful gesture, it also shows you understand and appreciate their efforts. Whether buying a gift for a family member, friend or even a co-worker, our guide provides the formula you need for success.

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