Inventive Baby Names for your Tech-Savvy Tot

April 13, 2017 nicknamer

By Nick Turner

Given the tech industry’s burgeoning role in the global economy, many parents are eager to get their kids ready for information-era jobs at a young age.

So why not start at the very beginning and give your child a tech-inspired name at birth? Lots of parents are doing just that and christening their kids with monikers associated with inventors and tech luminaries.

Take Edison. The name (closely associated the man known as America‘s greatest inventor) was rarely used in the second half of the 20th century. But it popped back into the Top 1000 about a decade ago, and it’s been climbing ever since. Edison reached Number 632 on the Social Security Administration list of boys’ names in 2015, its highest rank since World War I and is predicted to rank even higher when the new list is released next month.

Tesla is way less common as a first name, but it’s been climbing too. The homage to inventor Nikola Tesla went to 166 girls and 5 boys in 2015, the most recent year with data available. Compare that to the year 2000, when the SSA recorded 36 girls and zero boys with the name. (Of course, the car company Tesla may be doing more to promote the name these days.)

Going back a little further, Michael Faraday might make a worthy namesake. The pioneer of electromagnetism has inspired a few American parents in recent years: Faraday was given to seven girls in 2014 and eight the previous year.

Prefer looking all the way back to Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci? Nineteen boys were named Davinci last year (a whopping 3,810 were called Leonardo, but that probably had more to do with the popularity of actor DiCaprio).

In terms of modern tech names, the king of them all, of course, is Steve Jobs. But neither his first nor last name works easily as a tribute. Steve isn’t going to immediately make people think of the Apple co-founder (though it has the added bonus of also being the name of ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer) and Jobs would just be weird as a first name. One option would be to use it as a middle: Liam Jobs Smith would be a pretty cool way to give your baby some tech panache.

You also could try the middle-name approach with Bezos, Gates, Musk or Zuckerberg.

Elon Musk, the founder of Telsa and SpaceX, has a first name that could evoke the spirit of innovation. Ninety-one American boys were named Elon in 2015, almost triple the number two years earlier. So Elon may be going places (besides Mars).

Let’s not forget the pantheon of female inventors and tech pioneers.

Ada Lovelace, a mathematician and early computer scientist, and daughter of the poet Byron, has the perfect first name for modern tastes. After reappearing in the top 1,000 in 2004, Ada zoomed to No. 357 in 2015. It serves as a nice alternative to the hugely popular Ava.

Grace Hopper, who invented the computer-programming compiler, has first and last names that could work. Melitta Bentz invented the coffee filter, probably something we should honor on a daily basis. Curie, as in Marie, might work too, but probably better as a middle.

Then there’s the actress Hedy Lamarr. Though famous for her film roles, she also helped invent the technology that led to Wi-Fi (another thing we should honor on a daily basis). Using this distinctive diminutive of the German Hedwig could be a fitting tribute.

One final option: Newton. It tips the hat to Isaac Newton, the mathematician and apple-tree victim. The name, which went to 26 boys in 2015, is also a reminder of the failed Apple product that served as a precursor to the iPad.

And as anyone in tech will tell you, you don’t succeed without surviving plenty of failure first.

About the author


Nick Turner is a writer and editor living in New York City (by way of San Francisco). He and his wife have successfully named three kids. Follow him on Twitter at @SFNick.

View all of Nick's articles


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