In 1975, Bill Gates started a little company called Microsoft. The very next year, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne founded Apple. In the 40 years since, computers have become an inextricable and vital part of our daily lives. Now, many people are talking about how computer programming may be an important literacy skill that children need to learn in school to compete in a twenty-first century workforce. However, our current relationship with technology wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the pioneering men and women that paved the way as programmers. In honor of their achievements, we’ve compiled a list of famous programmers throughout history that have made our current relationship with technology possible and given us the tools needed to create our future.
For nine months between 1842 and 1843, Ada Lovelace translated italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea’s article describing her friend Charles Babbage’s new invention, the Analytical Engine. The machine was meant to be the first general purpose computer. In her translation, Lovelace included a series of notes that were three times longer than the original article. In one section of the notes, she wrote about how the machine could calculate a sequence of Bernoulli numbers. Unfortunately, her work was never test, but if it had been, experts believe it would have run properly. Because of this, Lovelace is considered the world’s first computer programmer.
Grace Hopper, also known as “Amazing Grace” and the “Queen of Code,” invented many important things that are still used today in the world of programming. She’s most famous for popularizing the term “debugging” when she found that a moth stuck in a section of the computer was causing the program to break.
In 1960 while working for General Electric, Charles Bachman created one of the first database management systems, which is a system that allows users and programmers an easy way to create, access, and manage data. His work made it possible for you to use things like online banking, Facebook, and Google Maps.
Margaret Hamilton was worked on the code that sent Apollo 11 to the moon. Three minutes before the lunar shuttle landed, an error occurred that almost made the system abort. Thankfully, because of her work, the computer was able to recognize what the problem was, solve it, and successfully land the space shuttle.
Make sure you high-five your favorite programmer as a thanks for all of the hard work that they’ve done!