One step up - or down, depending on your perspective - from software is hardware. This truism, like all good truisms, is only partly true. But for our purposes, it’s true enough.
I’ve been working on a number of projects over the last little bit that fall into the hardware space. Some are toys, some are tools, but all of them are an important part of learning to speak with the poisoned sand that thinks with lightning - that is to say, silicon-based microcontrollers.