The most influential software programmers of all time are the innovative and brilliant people who each contributed something ground-breaking to the software programming world. These are the pioneers of programming all having created, evolved or improved upon the foundations of modern computer programming. Plain and simple, without these software programming legends, computers, the Internet and many of your favorite programs would never exist.
Sir Timothy John “Tim” Berners-Lee – HTML and world wide web inventor
Tim Berners-Lee (born 8 June 1955), also known as Tim Bl, is an English computer scientist, best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. He made a proposal for an information management system in March 1989, and he implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the Internet sometime around mid-November of that same year.
Berners-Lee is the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees the Web’s continued development. He is also the founder of the World Wide Web Foundation, and is a senior researcher and holder of the Founders Chair at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He is a director of the Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI) and a member of the advisory board of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.
In 2004, Berners-Lee was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his pioneering work. In April 2009, he was elected a foreign associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences. He was honoured as the “Inventor of the World Wide Web” during the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, in which he appeared in person, working with a vintage NeXT Computer at the London Olympic Stadium.He tweeted “This is for everyone”, which instantly was spelled out in LCD lights attached to the chairs of the 80,000 people in the audience.
Linus Benedict Torvalds – Linus kernel creator
Linus Torvalds (born December 28, 1969) is a Finnish American software engineer, who was the principal force behind the development of the Linux kernel that became the most popular kernel for operating systems. He later became the chief architect of the Linux kernel and now acts as the project’s coordinator. He also created the revision control system Git as well as the diving log softwareSubsurface. He was honored, along with Shinya Yamanaka, with the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize by theTechnology Academy Finland “in recognition of his creation of a new open source operating system for computers leading to the widely used Linux kernel”. He is also the recipient of the 2014 IEEE Computer Society Computer Pioneer Award.
Initially, Torvalds wanted to call the kernel he developed Freax (a combination of “free”, “freak”, and the letter X to indicate that it is a Unix-like system), but his friendAri Lemmke, who administered the FTP server where the kernel was first hosted for download, named Torvalds’s directory linux.
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg – facebook founder
Mark Zuckerberg (born May 14, 1984) is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur. He is best known as one of five co-founders of the social networking website Facebook. As of April 2013, Zuckerberg is the chairman and chief executive of Facebook, Inc. and his personal wealth, as of July 2014, is estimated to be $33.1billion. Mark Zuckerberg receives a one-dollar salary as CEO of Facebook.
Together with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, Zuckerberg launched Facebook from Harvard’s dormitory rooms. The group then introduced Facebook onto other campuses nationwide and moved to Palo Alto, California shortly afterwards. In 2007, at the age of 23, Zuckerberg became a billionaire as a result of Facebook’s success. The number of Facebook users worldwide reached a total of one billion in 2012. Zuckerberg was involved in various legal disputes that were initiated by others in the group, who claimed a share of the company based upon their involvement during the development phase of Facebook.
Since 2010, Time magazine has named Zuckerberg among the 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world as a part of its “Person of the Year distinction”. In 2011, Zuckerberg ranked first on the list of the “Most Influential Jews in the World” by The Jerusalem Post and has since topped the list every year as of 2013. Zuckerberg was played by actor Jesse Eisenberg in the 2010 film “The Social Network”, in which the rise of Facebook is portrayed.
Matthew Charles “Matt” Mullenweg – WordPress founder
Mat Mullenweg (born January 11, 1984) is an American online social media entrepreneur, web developer and musician living in San Francisco, California. He is best known for developing the free and open sourceweb software WordPress, now managed by The WordPress Foundation. His professional blog is ma.tt, a domain hack.
After dropping out of college and working at CNET Networks from 2004 to 2005, Mullenweg quit that job and foundedAutomattic, the business behind WordPress.com (which provides free WordPress blogs and other services), Akismet,Gravatar, VaultPress, IntenseDebate, Polldaddy, and more.
Since 2005 Mullenweg has been a frequent keynote/speaker at conferences/events, including global WordCampevents, SxSW, Web 2.0 Summit, YCombinator’s Startup School, Le Web, Lean Startup Conference, etc.
William Henry “Bill” Gates III – Microsoft co-founder
Bill Gates (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, philanthropist, investor,computer programmer, and inventor. Gates originally established his reputation as the co-founder of Microsoft, the world’s largest PC software company, with Paul Allen. Since then he has served as a long term CEO and chairman of the company.
Today he is consistently ranked in the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2014 — excluding a few brief periods post-2008. Between 2009 and 2014 his wealth more than doubled from $40 billion to more than $82 billion. Between 2013 and 2014 his wealth increased by $15 billion, or around $1.5 billion more than the entire GDP of Iceland in 2014.
Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. Gates has been criticized for his business tactics, which have been considered anti-competitive, an opinion which has in some cases been upheld by judicial courts. In the later stages of his career, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000.
During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of CEO and chief software architect, he was also the largest individual shareholder up until May 2014. He has also authored and co-authored several books.
Who are the most famous computer programmers? In the end, software programming and the Internet was not created overnight and certainly not by one person or company. It’s a combination of each software programmer’s innovations that has brought us to where we are today. The great thing about programming is that it’s always evolving and improving. Who knows, maybe the most influential software programmer ever hasn’t even discovered his or her big thing yet.