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30 Most Influential People In Programming

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Earlier in the month we released a post called 30 Most Influential People In Web Design which showcased our favorite 30 web designers. Today we want to show off our favorite 30 programmers who have inspired and influenced so many people to become better programmers. Let us know who has inspired you to start and become a better programmer!

* * * 30 Most Influential People In Programming * * *

Tim Berners-Lee
timbernerslee 30 Most Influential People In Programming Tim Berners-Lee’s Websites
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners-Lee

About Tim Berners-Lee
Tim is the Inventor of HTML (hyper text markup language) and the World Wide Web.

In 2007, he was ranked Joint First, alongside Albert Hofmann, in The Telegraph’s list of 100 greatest living geniuses.

Matt Mullenweg
mattmullenweg 30 Most Influential People In Programming Matt Mullenweg’s Websites
Matt – http://ma.tt
Wordpress – http://www.wordpress.com
Wordpress Blog – http://matt.wordpress.com
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Mullenweg

About Matt Mullenweg
Matt is the founder and creator of the open source WordPress blogging platform.

In 2005, he founded the company Automattic, the company behind WordPress and Akismet.

Larry Page
larrypage 30 Most Influential People In Programming Larry Page’s Websites
Google – http://www.google.com
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Page

About Larry Page
Larry Page is best known for the co-founder of Google, alongside Sergy Brin.

He is the 6th richest person in America, and the 27th richest billionaire worldwide according to Forbes.

Sergey Brin
sergeybrin 30 Most Influential People In Programming Sergey Brin’s Websites
Google – http://www.google.com
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergey_Brin

About Sergey Brin
Sergey was the co-founder of Google alongside Larry Page.

Sergey is ranked the 28th most richest person in the world according to the Forbes top 50 richest billionaires list 2009.

Linus Torvalds
linustorvalds 30 Most Influential People In Programming Linus Torvalds Websites
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Torvalds

About Linus Torvalds
Linux is the creator of the extremely popular Linux open source operating system.

Today, there are thousands of variations / distributions of Linux and many web servers run on it. Linus sure did create something ecstatic!

Dennis Ritchie
dennisritchie 30 Most Influential People In Programming Dennis Ritchie’s Websites
1 – http://cm.bell-labs.com/who/dmr/
C Programming Language Book – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_C_Programming_Language_(book)
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Ritchie

About Dennis Ritchie
Dennis is best known for the creator of C and a huge key developer of the UNIX operating system.

He was born in 1941, and received the Turing Award in 1983 and the National Medal of Technology in 1998

Brian Kernighan
briankernighan 30 Most Influential People In Programming Brian Kernighan’s Websites
Bell Labs – http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/bwk/
C Programming Language Book – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_C_Programming_Language_(book)
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Kernighan

About Brian Kernighan
Kernigham developed the UNIX operating system along side Ritchie and Thompson.

Brian is the author of many UNIX programs, and is known as the coiner of the expression WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).

Ken Thompson
kenthompson 30 Most Influential People In Programming Ken Thompson’s Websites
Bell Labs – http://plan9.bell-labs.com/who/ken/
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Thompson_(programmer)

About Ken Thompson
Ken is an American pioneer of computer science, and helped create the B programming language (which is now replaced by the C programming language).

He created UNIX alongside Kerighan and Ritchie, and helped create the Plan 9 operating systems distributed by Bell Labs.

Rasmus Lerdorf
rasmuslerdorf 30 Most Influential People In Programming Rasmus Lerdorf’s Websites
Bio – http://lerdorf.com/bio.php
Toys – http://toys.lerdorf.com
PHP – http://www.php.net
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasmus_Lerdorf

About Rasmus Lerdorf
Rasmus Lerdorf is the creator of PHP. He authorised the first 2 versions of PHP, and then contributed in the development of later versions of PHP.

PHP runs over 34% of websites online today, so Rasmus created something purely amazing.

Jason Fried
jasonfried 30 Most Influential People In Programming Jason Fried’s Websites
37 Signals – http://www.37signals.com
Twitter – http://twitter.com/jasonfried

About Jason Fried
Jason Fried is the founder of 37 signals. 37 Signals have some amazing web apps out that thousands of people use daily. The 37 signals blog is very popular, and their job board gets hundreds of jobs posted.

Did I forget to mention they also invented ruby on rails?

James Gosling
jamesgosling 30 Most Influential People In Programming James Gosling’s Websites
James Gosling – http://www.jamesgosling.com
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Gosling

About James Gosling
James A. Gosling, is a famous software developer, best known as the father of the Java programming language.

He also has a personal website and a page over at the Apple Science website.

Brendan Eich
brendaneich 30 Most Influential People In Programming Brendan Eich’s Websites
Twitter – http://twitter.com/brendaneich
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brendan_Eich

About Brendan Eich
Brendan Eich is a computer programmer and creator of the JavaScript programming language.

He is the Chief Technology Officer at the Mozilla Corporation.

Carl Sassenrath
carlsassenrath 30 Most Influential People In Programming Carl Sassenrath’s Websites
Official Site – http://www.sassenrath.com
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Sassenrath

About Carl Sassenrath
Carl Sassenrath is an architect of operating systems and computer languages.

He brought multitasking to personal computers in 1985 with the creation of the Amiga Computer operating system kernel, and he is currently the designer of the REBOL computer language as well as the CTO of REBOL Technologies.

Bjarne Stroustrup
bjarnestroustrup 30 Most Influential People In Programming Bjarne Stroustrup’s Websites
ATT Research – http://www.research.att.com/~bs/
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bjarne_Stroustrup

About Bjarne Stroustrup
Bjarne Stroustrup is a computer scientist most notable for developing the C++ programming language.

He is currently Professor and holder of the College of Engineering Chair in Computer Science at the Texas A&M University.

Bram Cohen
bramcohen Bram Cohen’s Websites
Bram Cohen – http://bramcohen.com
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bram_Cohen

About Bram Cohen
Bram Cohen is an American computer programmer, best known as the author of the peer-to-peer (P2P) BitTorrent protocol.

He also created the first file sharing program to use the protocol, also known as BitTorrent.

Alan Cooper
alancooper Alan Cooper’s Websites
Cooper – http://www.cooper.com/alan/father_of_vb.html
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Cooper

About Alan Cooper
Cooper is sometimes called “the father of Visual Basic”, although much of work on Visual Basic was done by Microsoft’s internal development group.

Cooper was the leading force behind VB 1.0 and pioneered the use of an IDE to create a GUI via wrapped calls to system routines in the API.

Larry Wall
larrywall Larry Wall’s Websites
Perl – http://www.perl.org
Wall – http://www.wall.org/~larry/
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Wall

About Larry Wall
Larry Wall s a programmer and author, most widely known for his creation of the Perl programming language in 1987.

He is the co-author of Programming Perl, which is the definitive resource for Perl programmers.

Edsger Wybe Dijkstra
edsgerwdijkstra 30 Most Influential People In Programming Edsger Wybe Dijkstra’s Websites
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edsger_Dijkstra
Dijkstra’s Algorithm – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dijkstra%27s_algorithm

About Edsger Wybe Dijkstra
Edsger Wybe Dijkstra was a Dutch computer scientist.

He received the 1972 Turing Award for fundamental contributions to developing programming languages, and was the Schlumberger Centennial Chair of Computer Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin from 1984 until 2000.

John Resig
johnresig 30 Most Influential People In Programming John Resig’s Websites
eJohn – http://ejohn.org
jQuery – http://www.jquery.com
Twitter – http://twitter.com/jeresig

About John Resig
John is the creator of the very popular JavaScript library jQuery. He also is a JavaScript programmer, blogger and author. Oh and did i forget to mention he works for Mozilla?

He is currently working on his second book “Secrets of the JavaScript ninja”.

Guido van Rossum
guidovanrossum 30 Most Influential People In Programming Guido van Rossum’s Websites
Python – http://python.org/~guido/
Twitter – http://twitter.com/gvanrossum

About Guido van Rossum
Guido is the author the the python programming language. He joined google back in 2005, and he loves the fact he gets to spend half the time there on python.

In June 2003, he was the finalist in the category IT Software (Individual) of the World Technology Network Awards.

Douglas Crockford
douglascrockford Douglas Crockford’s Websites
Crockford – http://www.crockford.com
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Crockford

About Douglas Crockford
Douglas Crockford is a senior JavaScript Architect at the most popular websites in the world, Yahoo! He is well known for his work in introducing JavaScript Object Notation (JSON).

He has also worked for companies such as Atari, Luciasfilm and Paramount.

Miguel de Icaza
migueldeIcaza 30 Most Influential People In Programming Miguel de Icaza’s Websites
Blog – http://tirania.org/blog/
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_de_Icaza

About Miguel de Icaza
Miguel is a Mexican free software programmer, best known for starting the GNOME and Mono projects.

He came from a family of scientists in which his father was a physicist and his mother a biologist. Miguel started to write free software in 1992.

Jeff Atwood
jeffatwood 30 Most Influential People In Programming Jeff Atwood’s Websites
Coding Horror – http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/
Twitter – http://twitter.com/codinghorror

About Jeff Atwood
Jeff blogs about coding on CodingHorror. The blog is extremely popular, and has to date over 130,000 RSS Subscribers.

The blog features a very simplistic design, but obviously the content is extremely effective.

Kathy Sierra
kathysierra 30 Most Influential People In Programming Kathy Sierra’s Websites
Twitter – http://twitter.com/kathysierra
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Sierra

About Kathy Sierra
Kathy is a programming instructor and game developer.

She co-created the Head first series of books to do with computing.

Scott Hanselman
scotthanselman Scott Hanselman’s Websites
Hanselman – http://www.hanselman.com
Twitter – http://twitter.com/shanselman

About Scott Hanselman
Scott is the principal program manager at Microsoft’s developer division. He often speaks about software development at many Microsoft events.

He also publishes a blog and a very popular podcast around the technology lines.

Steven Frank
stevenfrank Steven Frank’s Websites
Panic – http://www.panic.com
Steven Frank – http://stevenf.tumblr.com
Twitter – http://twitter.com/stevenf

About Steven Frank
Steven Frank is the co-founder of the extremely popular mac software company, “Panic”.

Panic make many amazing Mac applications. I would recommend buying more a less every one.

Ben Goodger
bengoodger Websites
Ben Goodger Blog – http://www.bengoodger.com
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Goodger

Ben Goodger is a former employee of Netscape Communications Corporation and the Mozilla Foundation and former lead developer of the Firefox web browser.

He is currently working for Google Inc., where he leads the Google Chrome project.

Dion Almaer
dionalmaer Dion Almaer’s Websites
Ajaxian – http://ajaxian.com
Almaer – http://almaer.com/blog/
Vimeo Profile – http://www.vimeo.com/dion
Twitter – http://twitter.com/dalmaer

About Dion Almaer
Dion is the co-founder of AjaxIan.com. AjaxIan teaches people about the popular javascript language, Ajax.

There are also many other writers at AjaxIan.com. There are hundreds of articles, and its the ultimate Ajax resource for developers.

Craig Newmark
craignewmark Craig Newmark’s Websites
Craigslist – http://www.craigslist.org
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Newmark

About Craig Newmark
Craig was born in 1952, and is the founder of the popular website Craigslist.com.

Craig developed Craigslist from the ground up, and today is used worldwide by thousands of people. He is an inspiration to all.

John D. Carmack
johncarmack John D. Carmack’s Websites
Armadillo Aerospace – http://www.armadilloaerospace.com
Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Carmack

About John D. Carmack
John D. Carmack is an American game programmer, and the co-founder of id Software.

Carmack was the lead programmer of the id computer games Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, and the sequels to Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein.
Iggy is an entrepreneur, blogger, and designer who loves experimenting with new web design techniques, collating creative website designs, and writing about the latest design fonts, themes, plugins, inspiration, and more. You can follow him on Twitter

124 thoughts on “30 Most Influential People In Programming”

  1. Nice list with some surprising entries. I am missing Ada Lovelace though. Here is a slidedeck with 30 highly influential programmers, seven of which are discussed in more detail: slideshare.net/ArnoHuetter/rockstar-programmers

  2. How about Duane Later?? He was America’s first computer hacker–If you know where he is -send email to vinny152 (at) yahoo.com-Thanks a lot.-JM

  3. Author should rename this article to “top 30 celebrities in programming” although this would also be inaccurate.

  4. Ted Codd, inventor of the Relational Database/SQL, deserves a mention. If programming is about Data Processing, a technology that overturned the way Data is Processed is absolutely massive! Without him there could have been no Oracle -and he developed his ideas from within IBM, right against the grain of IBM’s own products and strategies!

  5. The best programmers in the world are “Hackers” and Virus programmers and Anti-virus programmers. I think you should appreciate them how they have created or solved the most security issues in the world. they may not famous but they are most influential people in the world.

  6. BTW I suspect jamesgosling.com is a different person of the same name. A Novell oriented network engineer, not the inventor of NEWS, Java etc.

  7. As well as folk in other comments, Countess Ada Lovelace has been called the 1st programmer (a stretch), Konrad Zuse’s Plankalkül wasn’t influential but should have been. Algol 1960 is perhaps the most seminal high level language, Lisp, Forth among other pioneer efforts of major but less influence. (APL & Mandala original but not so seminal?)
    Bill Joy’s PROGRAMMING prob. more important than LinusT’s who’s greatest feat is defying Brook’s law (Team Management).
    Another list could be made for prophet/advocates like Vanevar Bush, William Grey Walter, Trevor Pearcey, RAS, Ted Nelson, Alan Kay & Doug Engelbart; far more important to study than Watson Jr, Gates & Jobs.

  8. How can u forget “Mother of Cobol” Grace Hopper?

    how can u forget “Art of Computer Programming” Donald Knuth?

    How can u forget “Turbo Pascal, Delphi ,C# and .Net ” Anders Hejlsberg”?

  9. I personally have the utmost respect for Scott Hanselman, I follow his blog and listen to his podcast regularly, and I can see how he’s made it on this list of influential programmers; however, it’s hard for me think that he would be named over Anders Hejlsberg.

    Anders Hejlsberg is the creator of C#, he also was the original author of Turbo Pascal and chief architect of Delphi, if it wasn’t for Anders, the .NET Framework would not be what it is today.

  10. There’s a typo in the “about” of Linus Torvalds. Linux didn’t create itself, the sentence should start with “Linus” not “Linux”.

  11. If lines of code in use today is a marker then probably Grace Hopper should be at the top of the list for inventing Cobol.

    The most obvious missing person here though is Alan Turing, who has to be one of the fathers of programming.

    • If lines of code in use today is a marker then probably Grace Hopper should be at the top of the list for inventing Cobol.

      If you used the number of programs or total bytes of object code, COBOL might still be ahead, but it would be a fairer comparison. Forth & APL shouldn’t lose out because their source code can be MUCH smaller.
      Grace invented the idea of a COBOL, got manufacturers to create & support it and chaired the committee. Not sure she invented the specific language but I feel those things were more important. Earlier she may have written the first compiler.

  12. Did you forget John Backus?

    And Dijkstra certainly deserves to be in the top 10, him not being there pretty much voids this list.

  13. It’s surprising how many of them contributed to science with no intention to make money. What’s even more amazing is how they all embrace Open Source.

    Don Knuth must have been number 1 on the list. Without him, this list is still incomplete

  14. I’m just really curious as to why Jeff Atwood is on there.

    I respect him for Coding Horror, and even moreso for StackOverflow. I just don’t see him as someone they’ll talk about in 20 years.

    I also agree with the others asking about Donald Knuth. That’s a fail.

    But really, I would put Alan Turing on here. As the Father of Computer Science, I’m pretty sure there’s a lot that we do that is solely because of him.

  15. This list is an okay list of influential web technologists, but as a list of contributors to programming it is an out and out travesty. Some of these people aren’t even programmers, and many of them have made no meaningful contribution to programming at all.

  16. You missed some persons who must be here and entered some people who do not deserve to be here I think. Because if you think that wordpress is equal to Linux, C, Google, HTML and WWW, I must say – no it’s not! WordPress, 37 signals and other small mentioned here must survive such a long time as other genius projects survived. Only after that you can put them equal to other genius.

  17. if Linus Torvalds in the list … you must forgot to include Richard Matthew Stallman … and please… when you talk about Linux you must remember the GNU… and why people call Linux operating system GNU/Linux
    wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Stallman

  18. Great list, thank you. A little typo here: “Larry Page is best known for the co-founder of Google, alongside Sergy Brin.” It’s Sergey 😉

    ~ @kovshenin

  19. Matt Mullenweg does not deserver that position in my opinion, there ar emany reasons that there are much more people more influensive that him to be put over there

  20. Miss this person, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ole-Johan_Dahl, Ole Johan Dahl who, together with Kristen Nygaard invented Simula 67 and at the same time, object-oriented programming.

  21. Very well contributed post, although you had to see the comment controversy coming.

    Correct me if I am mistaken, but most places I have studied developers claim Javascript is not a programming language in itself, its a Front-end, back-end hybrid.

  22. When you miss Donald Knuth from a list like this, you know programmers nowadays just type text instead of programming. Sad 🙁

  23. Let me add:
    John Von Neumann. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_von_Neumann) modern architecture of todays computers.

    Peter Chen, tagged as the author of the entity-relationship model.

    Dijkstra, the salvator from the “go to” statement. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Considered_harmful)

  24. It’s unbelievable! How can you write bullshit like this: “Linux is the creator of the extremely popular Linux open source operating system.”.

  25. Nice list! But
    1) Where’s Donald Knuth ? :>
    2) “AjaxIan teaches people about the popular javascript language, Ajax.” AJAX is language? Good to know ;D

  26. Like Mr. Estep, I think that Grace Hopper should have been close to #1 on this list. I guess she is better remembered for her lectures where she passed out nonoseconds. She was the first Commodore that I ever met. The big gold band on her uniform sleeves made her look like the weight of them would pull her over.

  27. No Peter Norvig? This is a schizophrenic list. In some ways it reads like an inspirational list or vanguard programmers, in others it reads like a list of lucky IT entreprenuers…

  28. I think your picture of Edsger Wybe Dijkstra is actually a picture of David Gries (Cornell/UGA) who was a professor of mine, and could be on this list also. Regardless, your picture is incorrect.

  29. Alan Kay, Java? Heh, I’m suprised you haven’t been textually beaten around the head by the Smalltalk zealots who worship Alan Kay.

  30. No scientists at all? No McCarthy, Hoare, Knuth, Turing, Chomsky? Hell, even Stallman!

    I guess the makers of ALGOL didn’t influence much, except set the standard for the next 50 years of programming language?

    This list has alot of great people one it. I’m not sure they should all be on this list however. Maybe on some other list. WordPress is nice and all, but it hasn’t genuinely influenced programming (certainly not as the 2nd most influence!)

  31. It was smalltalk, not java, but good comment. Alan Kay should be in this list. Not only for object oriented programming languages, but also for his work into window systems (GUIs).

    Other people I miss:
    – Joel Spolsky (maybe instead of Jeff Atwood – nope, nothing against Jeff here)

    – Rudolf Bayer, for the invention of the B-Tree. One of the most common data structures in filesystems and databases.

    – Richard Stallman, Developer of gcc, the current de-facto standard open source compiler for c/c++

    – Richard Bartle, Co-Developer of MUD, which later spawned the whole MMO(RP)G industry

    – John McCarthy for his pioneering work on LISP and AI

    – Barbara Liskov for the development of the first programming language for distributed computing (Argus) and the description of Liskovs Principle

  32. @Ethan The “Japanese Guy” you are talking about is Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto – but he didnt create Ruby on Rails, he created Ruby. David Heinemeier Hansson created Ruby On Rails.

    The list is crappy and half-baked. I cant imagine a scenario in which the creator of a website like Craigslist or even WordPress can be included in a list of Influential People in Programming.

  33. There is Linus Torvalds, and NOT Richard Stallman? Richard Stallman originated the GNU project, wich basically made the Linux *kernel*, well, *possible*.

    The guys are two sides of the same coin, how on earth could you put one on this list and not the other?

    By the way, I’m surprised no one already pointed this out.

    • RMS is definetly missing and – though I don’t like to say it – not including Bill Gates in such a list is just as ridiculous as having Matt Mullenweg ranking second.
      With WordPress Matt certainly built a very influential open source system and deserves respect for that, but what is his influence on programming?

  34. John Carmack is #30??? Sorry, but I don’t know anyone more influential and inspirational than him. Not only did he create a new genre in the game market but also his legacy outstrips most of those named before on your list. Carmack was also pushing the OpenGL standard and was one of the few proposing to open source his game code, realizing early the power of the masses who take on his work and transform it into something new.
    He wrote Wolfenstein 3D for the iPhone in 2 weeks in his spare time. If you have any sense for the love of code, you will see that he writes poems. He is the force behind id Software–not some team as in many of the previous examples. That is the trait of a true legendary programmer: they are really that good.

  35. I don’t know on what basis this list has been arrived at. I certainly believe, Donald Knuth deserves a irreplaceable place if you comprise a list for programming.

  36. This list is clearly compiled by someone who doen’t know fuck all about programming. It’s an insult to all professional programmers everywhere.

    Matt Mullenweg? Are you kidding me? WordPress is an awesome product from a conceptual and practical point of view, but from a programming standpoint it’s a piece of crap. Calling it amateurish would be an insult to all talented amateurs. The only way in which this inspires programmers to be better programmers is to use it as an example of how not to program.

    It’s like calling the designer of the ugliest logo in the world an influential designer just because the logo happens to be on a successful product.

    The success of the product has fuck all to do with the quality of the work.

    And it’s not just Mullenweg. Half the list consist of people who are successful as entrepreneurs, and many of which I actually admire, but not because of their programming chops.

    BTW, people who don’t share their alleged programming knowledge can’t exactly be called sources of inspiration either.

    • Seriously? If your the best programmer in the world, your know use if knowone knows who you are? Matt got his name out there with WordPress, and now he is a multi millionaire!

    • Now this is ugly.

      Sorry Rick for your inability to make money, but please dont blame it on the skills (or lack of ) of another.

      WordPress runs in millions of servers over the internet.

      Programming is not always making Patterns Design, or OO all the time.

      And this is what it is. The best programmer is the one who speaks expensive and use a framework that only he understand.

      Where is the creativity?

      Gosh I just need a blog. Why I have to learn ZEND frame work to manage a database with a little more than 7 tables?

      WordPress is a great pieace of software because its simple. Well designed in the programing and usability point of view.

      • “Use a framework that only he understand.” – Wait, what? The ability to maneuver something obscure is a sign of greatness? Every Perl developer ever should be on that list then.

        It doesn’t matter how many servers software runs on, that has nothing to do with being influential in programming. Although with that mindset, I can see why Mr. Torvalds was included.

        This list is misdirected, and it’s mentioning “bigshots” from various pieces of software. It should be named “List of 30 programmers who got their code out there.”

        For anyone who has studied the history of computer science, this list is an insult. There are so many key people missing, and so many others included that have had nothing to do with the furthering of where we stand.

        Either rename the list, or revise it. Don Knuth, Alan Kay, Alan Turing & Ada Lovelace etc. needs to be on there with the current title.

    • Ruby, the language, has been created by Yukihiro Matsumoto. Ruby on Rails, the web framework, has been created by David Heinemeier Hansson.

  37. Not to include Mr. Bill Gates was an unforgivable error. Most of PC computers today runs Microsoft Windows and this started with the programming of ms-dos by Bill Gates.


  38. This list makes no sense.

    You must have

    Philippe Kahn (Best tools for C/C++ Object computing and later camera phone.

    Grace Hooper

  39. First of all I love the comment from the guy above, never heard of wordpress or craigslist? So what exactly have you been doing since the early 80’s?!

    Secondly, this is a great list, every single entry on it deserves to be there, they all seem to have done their bit in making the web into what it is today.

    • You nitwits @Andy , @ Daniel M . Can’t you understand English or is it that you are just ignorant SOBs. I never said I haven’t heard of Matt Mullenweg, my complaint was he cant be bigger than the Larry Page or Sergey Brin. For that matter he does not even deserve a place in the top 100 programmers ever.
      It’s a dead give away that you are one of those mindless bloggers who haven’t really done any serious coding. Or may be a JS or VB kiddie.

      Anyone supporting this list completely, ask yourself these questions:

      Do I know more than 5 programming languages?

      Do I have good theoretical and practical programming knowledge in dealing with things like databases, networking, security etc.

      Do you know more than a couple of programming paradigms?

      Have I read multiple authoritative programming books on each of these languages?

      Have I coded serious applications using them?

      If your answer is ‘No’ for any of these then STFU.

      I am sure the author of the list is the first to fail this test. Of course there would be countless number of ’empty vessels making more noise’ kind of not-even-half-baked nicompoops like Andy and Daniel M.

      • Hey man, this is Andy the author.

        I do know 5+ programming languages, and i’ve had years experience with databases 🙂

        • Well, “Andy The Author”, you answered just 20% of what I asked. Even that seems hard to believe.

          Sometimes people just don’t know how much a fool they are making themselves of, this is one of those cases. For one thing it is clear to every programmer(in the real sense) that this is a shitty list. The worst part is the title of the list. these guys aren’t the TOP PROGRAMMERS damn you.

          For god’s sake at least change the title of the list, it’s a blasphemy against programming.

          This is the worst list I’ve ever come across on the web, drivel. Imbecile. Please cure yourself of the illusion that you are a programmer. Say ‘I’m a blogger’ 100 times a day till you blog, it may help.

          This is a f*ck*d up list, and the author is a ignorant being.

          Case Closed.


      • Vin, first of all I’d like to point out that I know you didn’t say you had never heard of Mathew Mullenweg, my comment was actually referring to a comment posted earlier on, just by the time it was submitted a number of other commenters had also posted.

        I never said that I agree with every entry but I did say that every person on that list does deserves to be recognised, hence it being ok that they are on there, posts like this are always going to face opposition from people as it is merely a matter of opinion.

        Unfortunately there are people that obviously don’t have the mentality to respect that.

  40. Where the hell is Grady Booch? This is a f****d up list. lmao @ Matt Mullenweg before the google brothers. Which drunk mofo came up with this? I an bet my ass you are no programmer. Where is Frederick Brooks? Forget Erich Gamma, Kent Beck etc, have you even heard of Alan Kay or Donald Knuth?
    You think Larry Ellison, Anders Hejlsberg and Alan Turing are not worth being in the list? What a joke, this is what happens when half baked posers and script kiddies talk about programming.

    The list should not be 30 most influential people in “Programming” but something else that s more specific. Or, these guys are not worth being in the list:

    Matt Mullenweg
    Jason Fried(David Heinemeier Hansson would have been a better choice )
    Carl Sassenrath(not very sure about this)
    Bram Cohen
    John Resig
    Miguel de Icaza
    Jeff Atwood
    Kathy Sierra(dont mind her personally but not sure if she is in top 30)
    Scott Hanselman
    Steven Frank

    • Matt Mullenweg? He created WordPress, and today there are millions of blogs that run off it. How does he not deserve to be on the list? Millions of blogs rely on his software!

  41. When I look over that list, I see one programmer on it who is not only deliberately ignorant, but flaunts it, trolls it, and has made it his schtick.

    That makes it impossible for me to take you remotely close to seriously.

  42. Influence is to be taken lightly here it would seem — Instead of Jason Fried I’d rank David ‘DHH’ Heinemeier Hansson here as someone who ‘influenced’ programming immensely with the Rails framework and agile push.
    Alot of your list features people who’s products are famous, but not for their code

  43. I’m sorry, but this list is a joke. Jeff Atwood and Scott Hanselman? Give me a break. They’re both very good at what they do, but a few websites and podcasts don’t make you one of the most influential people in programming.

    The creator of WordPress? The creator of craigslist? An obscure Apple developer? I’m sorry, but I’ve been programming since the early 80’s and if I’ve never heard of someone OR their product, they can’t be that influential. There are a few other rather dubious selections.

    Heck, Bill Gates would be a better choice than about half of the people here if for no other reason than the influence that MS-DOS has had, as well as his swiping of Windows from Jobs (who swiped it from Xerox).

    Some people who should be on almost any list include:
    Dan Bricklin
    Alan Turing
    Wayne Ratliff (dBase)
    Scott Guthrie
    Philippe Kahn (Borland brought programming on the PC to the masses, i.e. Turbo C and Pascal)
    Larry Ellison (Oracle…ever hear of them?)
    Grace Hopper
    Kurtz and Kemeny (creators of BASIC)

    What amazes me most is the omission of Anders Hejlsberg. He’s not even a historical figure like many of the others. He’s still doing real work. Ever hear of C#? That’s his. How about Turbo Pascal?

    The problem is clear and obvious. You’re trying to combine 2 different lists. On one hand, you have “Who has influenced programming over the last half century?” but you mix it with “Who is influencing programmers on a day-to-day basis right now?” The first his historically quantifiable, and the second is a popularity contest.

    Get real. Even Hanselman himself said he and Atwood shouldn’t be there.

    • I totally agree with you. There are people who does not deserve to be there. Obviously, these people include those who _used_ a language to create a simple software, such as jquery creator or WordPress foundator.

      These guys didn’t changed the IT landscape. Without jquery, there would still have been prototype and other js fk. Without WordPress, there would still have been DotClear, etc…

    • I agree. It all depends on what “Influence” is.

      Loud != Influence.

      Thanks for the compliment, but seriously, I have no business being on this list.

      • I found this list because I googled your name and put genius after it, now I am going to add next to that humble and modest.

        you definitely there Scott

  44. Great post Andy, its quite obvious with posts like this that not everyone will make it, these are people we think are influential and inspired others to be top programmers. We also asked our twitter community of over 15,000 designers and programmers and took all comments into consideration.



  45. Great list, I lost about 2 hours reading through a lot of their background info. Some really interesting stories there.



  46. Where is Donald Knuth, Steve McConnell, Robert Glass, …, …? This post might be more accurately titled “The 30 people that influence WedDesignDev”.

    • We are the writers, and if you have been reading the blog for quite some time now, you would know that everything on here is our own opinion.


  47. Here is who I would have added:
    – Jim Butterfield (Commodore/6502 assembly guru)
    – Anders Hejlsberg
    – John George Kemeny and Thomas Eugene Kurtz (the fathers of BASIC)

  48. Timothy Berners-Lee, Linus Torvalds, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Ken Thompson, James Gosling, Brendan Eich, Bjarne Stroustrup, Alan Cooper, Edsger Dijkstra, Doug Crockford, John Resig (et al)… Jeff Atwood.

    Jim Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, BB King, George Harrison… Nick Jonas.

    Jesus. What’s next?

  49. Glad to see Edsger Dijkstra in the list but how did you manage to miss off Alan Turing, one of the most influential of all time, and not to mention Ada Lovelace. is a serious omission too.


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