What can you give the developer who not only has everything, but can code everything too? You can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned book. Most developers will be grateful for the chance to step away from the keyboard, pick up a book, and learn something new this holiday season.
With that in mind, we asked Codecademy engineers to recommend their favorite tech-related books that also make great gifts. Whether you’re shopping for a teammate, relative, or partner who codes, here are the novels, memoirs, and non-fiction books to gift developers.
For the mentor with an inspiring career…
Life in Code by Ellen Ullman
Writer and veteran software engineer Ellen Ullman is known for her popular memoir called Close to the Machine. In Life in Code, Ullman shares more stories about what it was like being a programmer in the ‘70s, and grapples with big questions about the culture of tech and its future.
For the data scientist who treats charts like works of art…
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte
Not only are there 250 illustrations of elegantly-designed statistical graphs for you to pore over in this book, but you’ll also find valuable tips about how to get better at presenting and talking about data.
For the Apple stan…
Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making by Tony Fadell
Tony Fadell is considered the “father of the iPod,” because he led the team at Apple that developed the iPod in the early aughts, and then later co-created the iPhone. (He also co-founded the smart home device company Nest.) This self-help business book is packed with Fadell’s insights and advice gleaned from his career in Silicon Valley.
For the programmer who just landed their first tech job…
A Philosophy of Software Design by John Ousterhout
The crux of this book is all about how to make sense of complex software systems and solve problems effectively. Beginners who are just starting their careers in software development will find the principles of writing readable, simple code invaluable when it comes time for code reviews.
For your friend who just got a Codecademy Pro account…
Code Complete by Steve McConnell
A couple folks on Codecademy’s engineering team recommend this pragmatic guide to programming. It’s a great read for anyone who touches software development, from beginners who are just dabbling in coding to experienced programmers who appreciate thoughtful problem-solving techniques.
For the dev who digs dystopian novels…
The Every by Dave Eggers
If they love the Apple TV show Severance and devoured Dave Egger’s novel The Circle, they’ll dig its companion book, The Every. This novel is an allegory for “big tech” today, and it follows an entry-level employee at a company that’s supposed to be the biggest search engine, social network, and online retailer combined.
For your work bestie who Slacks you think pieces…
Glitch Feminism by Legacy Russell
This book is a manifesto that explores the intersection of tech, gender, and art. Written by art curator Legacy Russell, Glitch Feminism will challenge your assumptions about your place in the digital world, and prompt you to think about cyberfeminism and the internet.
For the budding blockchain developer…
The Metaverse by Matthew Ball
Whether they’re all-in on web3 or are skeptical about the future of the metaverse, this collection of essays by venture capitalist and metaverse expert Matthew Ball is a provocative look into decentralized technology. (BTW, if you’re still confused about what the metaverse even is, Codecademy has a free Introduction to Blockchain and Crypto course that you might want to check out.)
For your relatives who are curious about coding…
How to Speak Machine by John Maeda
Written by MIT-trained computer scientist John Maeda, this is an approachable read about technology and product design. You don’t need to know how to code to read How to Speak Machine; it’s a solid choice for people who have an interest in tech and want to understand the power of software development.
Want more coding-related gifts? Check out this list of the best Python books for beginners, or this roundup of holiday gift ideas for developers. Don’t forget to explore the rest of the Codecademy blog to read more inspiring and entertaining blogs about learning to code, career advice, and more. And if you’re shopping for a gift for yourself, we’d recommend a Codecademy Pro membership, the real gift that keeps on giving.