10 Techie gifts for the programmer in your life

Dec 2, 2015 at 1:12 p.m. ET
Image: Adafruit

The hardest person to shop for is always the coder/programmer in your life. My husband, dad, brother-in-law and father-in-law all program in some respect. I always cringe when I have to buy presents for them because they either want gifts that are way too expensive — technology does that — or they purchase anything they want themselves, leaving nothing on their wish list!

I've made it easy for you. Anyone who codes loves figuring out complex problems. These affordable gifts help your coder do just that.

1. Subscription to Make magazine

Image: Make

Make magazine encourages the makers of the world to keep tinkering and innovating. This gift will both inspire and encourage.( Make, $40 a year for print/digital bundle)

2. Raspberry Pi starter kit

Image: Adafruit

Think of Raspberry Pi as a mini computer. The entire system is the size a credit card. It can connect to any monitor or keyboard. Originally, Raspberry Pi was designed to teach programming in schools. Your programmer can make the Raspberry Pi bend to his or her will and create anything. In our house, Raspberry Pi functions as an old school Nintendo console, and we play all the games from our childhood. Read more about Raspberry Pi. (Adafruit, $100)

3. Star Wars Metal Earth R2D2

Image: Amazon

This R2D2 Metal Earth set ships flat and is the size of a 5X8 index card. Using pliers, you bend the pieces, pop out the tabs and attach them to attachment points. Voilà! A miniature statue that's also fun to build. Plus, you will find a ton of Metal Earth kits to choose from if you don't have a Star Wars fan in your house. (Amazon, $12)

4. Arduino

Image: Adafruit

Arduino Uno R3 is a starter model and designed for anyone wanting to create something interactive. It's a simple unit that turns an input — such as pressing a button — to an output — such as activating a light. My brother-in-law used Arduino to control the temperature in his built-in bar. (Adafruit, $25)

5. Gift certificate to online electronics store

Image: Adafruit

Adafruit and SparkFun are the big ones! Both of these stores have all the supplies needed to create cool and innovative electronics projects. (Adafruit, $1 - $100)

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