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Photos: The 20 most influential programmers of all time

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1. Alan Turing

Computer programs are constantly evolving. Here are 20 of the most influential figures that have shaped the computer programming world.

Alan Turing was a British mathematician, cryptanalyst, logician, and computer scientist. He is most famous for inventing the Turing machine, a machine that could compute algorithms and essentially foreshadowed the basic principles of a digital computer.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Image: Wikimedia Commons


2. Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee is a computer scientist and engineer, known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. He is the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and teaches at both Oxford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)


3. Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper was a computer scientist and rear admiral in the US Navy. She invented the first compiler for a computer programming language, and she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer. Hopper popularized the term "debugging" for fixing glitches in computers and emphasized the importance of machine-independent programming languages.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)


4. Dennis Ritchie

Dennis Ritchie was a computer scientist who created the "C" programming language and, along with Ken Thompson, the Unix operating system. The C programming language is often used in system programming and open source software.

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Image: alcatel-lucent


5. Linus Torvalds

Linus Torvalds is a software engineer responsible for the Linux operating system. He also created the distributed revision control system Git.

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Image: The Linux Foundation


6. Bjarne Stroustrup

Bjarne Stroustrup is a computer scientist and research professor who developed the C++ programming language. He wrote a textbook for the C++ language, and now works at Morgan Stanley.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Image: Wikimedia Commons


7. Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson is a renowned computer scientist. He co-created the Unix operating system, B programming language, and was one the Plan 9 operating systems' early developers. Thompson has worked at Google for over a decade and co-invented the Go programming language.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Image: Peter Adams


8. Brian Kernighan

Brian Kernighan worked alongside Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, contributing to the creation of Unix. He co-wrote the AWK and AMPL programming languages, and also partnered with Dennis Ritchie to compose the first book on C programming.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Image: Wikimedia Commons


9. Bill Gates

Bill Gates is a businessman, philanthropist, humanitarian, investor, author, and founder of MIcrosoft Corporation. He has held positions as chairman, CEO, and chief software architect of Microsoft.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Image: James Martin/CNET


10. John Backus

John Backus was a computer scientist who directed the team that created FORTRAN, an advanced programming language. He was also the inventor of Backus-Naur form, a popular notation technique for computer language syntax.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Image: Columbia.edu


11. Niklaus Wirth

Nicklaus Wirth designed multiple programming languages, including Pascal. His efforts won him the Turing Award in 1984 for the development of revolutionary computer languages. He also pioneered many major topics in software engineering.

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12. Anders Hejlsberg

Anders Hejlsberg is an esteemed software engineer who contributed to many successful programming languages. He is the original author of Turbo Pascal, a software development system, and currently works as a technical fellow at Microsoft

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Image: Wikimedia Commons


13. James Arthur Gosling

James Gosling is a computer scientist known for fathering the Java programming language. He also helped with NeWS and the Gosling Emacs software system, contributing to their success.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Image: Wikimedia Commons


14. Guido van Rossum

Guido van Rossum authored the Python program language. He continues to oversee Python development and will step in to make decisions as needed. He worked for Google until moving over to Dropbox.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons


15. Donald Ervin Knuth

Donald Knuth is a computer scientist and mathematician who wrote The Art of Computer Programming. Knuth contributed greatly to multiple areas of theoretical computer science, along with creating the computer typesetting system TeX and font definition language METAFONT.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Image: Wikimedia Commons


16. John Carmack

John Carmack is a gaming programmer and co-founder of Id software. Carmack was the lead programmer of many popular Id video games like Doom, Commander Keen, and more. He is most renowned for his 3D graphic designs, especially his Carmack's Reverse algorithm used for shadow volumes. He is now the CTO of Oculus VR.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Image: ZDNet


17. Larry Page

Larry Page is a computer scientist and entrepreneur who co-founded Google. Page is the CEO of Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., and he also created PageRank, Google's search ranking algorithm.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Image: CNET


18. Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace is known as the first computer programmer. She was an early program interpreter, explaining how Charles Babbage's "Analytical Engine" used sequences and algorithms to formulate results.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Image: Wikimedia Commons


19. Richard Stallman

Richard Stallman is a computer programmer and activist for free software. He advocates for free software available to all, so that anybody can use, study, or modify the software. In his efforts, Stallman has developed the GNU Project, the Free Software Foundation, and more.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Image: Wikimedia Commons


20. Brendan Eich

Brendan Eich created the JavaScript programming language, one of the most popular programs to date. He is the co-founder of the Mozilla project and served as Mozilla's chief technical officer. He currently works as the CEO of Brave Software.

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