7 Of The World Most Influential Computer Programmers in History!

7 Of The World Most Influential Computer Programmers in History!

7 Of The World Most Influential Computer Programmers in History!

By definition, a computer programmer is an inventor of computer programs. Okay, that much is evident but he is also the person who then alters these programs to suit the needs. In a way, all programmers contribute to our ever evolving society which is becoming heavily dependent on technology.

Most Influential Computer Programmers

It may be in a small measure or it can be in a major way. Irrespective of in which manner they added value to the society they are creative people and creativity is what shapes the world. So these are bold personnel who dared to spend their lives and time to benefit humankind.

7 Most Influential Computer Programmers

The best of the best among them is as under.

1. Margaret Hamilton

Margaret HamiltonShe at the time served in the capacity of Director Software Engineering Division at Charles Stark Draper Lab and led a team of individuals who built the onboard flight control software for the famous NASA missions namely; Apollo and Skylab.

Her claim to fame is due to the Apollo mission, in particular. She later aided in the development of ‘Universal Systems Language’ and ‘Development before the Fact’ model. It is to her credit the term “software engineering”. She won the Augusta Ada Lovelace Award (1968) and NASA’s Space Act Award (2003). A number of programming theories are accredited to her name as well.

She is the only lady we have considered among the most influential computer programmers.

2. Donald Knuth

Donald Knuth Computer programmerHis book on the theory of programming earned him all the accolades and much-deserved fame. He created the ‘TeX digital typesetting system’. Amidst winning a number of awards, he was named as the ‘Fellow at the Computer History Museum’ in 1998.

Book: Art of Computer Programming by Donald Knuth

Donald Knuth is one of the very few programmer scientists admired by Bill Gates.

You can read what Bill Gates thinks of his book.

If you think you’re a really good programmer… read Art of Computer Programming… You should definitely send me a résumé if you can read the whole thing.

3. Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson Uinx Programmer.

Along with Dennis Ritchie, Ken was the co-creator of UNIX. He is also accredited with creating ‘B-programming language’, the ‘ed(text editor)’, and also was the co-developer of ‘Go’ programming language.

He won A.M. Turing Award along with Dennis Ritchie in 1983 among other awards. He’s also an inductee at the fellow of Computer History Museum (1997).

4. Richard Stallman

Richard Stallman for GNU projectRemember the ‘GNU Project’? Well, he is the founder of it along with its tools such as ‘Emacs’, ‘GCC’ etc. He is also the founder of the ‘Free Software Foundation’ and the winner of ACM’s Grace Murray Hopper Award (1990) and EFF’s Pioneer Award (1998).

As his contribution to the open-source software which we use daily for code compilation, he is among the most influential computer programmers in the history.

5. Niklaus Wirth

Niklaus Wirth Swedish computer programmerA Swedish computer programmer and is hailed as one of the pioneers of computer programming. He introduced the renowned programming languages including Pascal, Euler, Algol-W, Modula/Modula-2, and Oberon/Oberon-2/-7.

Another relatively simpler programming language known as PL/o was also designed by Wirth. PL/o now serves as the foundation for compiler design classes in universities. His contribution in the field of computer programming won him the prestigious Turing Award in ’84.

6. Bill Gates

Bill Gates is a first microsoft software developer.Bill Gates is an American business tycoon and we know he founded (along with Paul Allen), and the former CEO of Microsoft. He is perhaps the greatest computer programmer of our age and also a venture capitalist and humanitarian.

He is the prime example of entrepreneurship in the world today. The name Windows is synonymous with Bill Gates and whenever a mention of the operating system is made, Windows happens to be the top-of-the-mind brand.

He personally supervised each code his office sent out for the first 5 years at Microsoft. Then corrected those he found buggy or incorrect. Apart from being a skilled programmer, he’s widely recognized for his bigheartedness with which he donates to charities.

7. Dennis Ritchie

Dennis Ritchie was a computer scientist. Dennis Ritchie was a computer scientist and is responsible for setting up the digital era of ours presently. He devised C programming language which is employed by many software applications, operating systems, and has served as the benchmark for the programming languages that followed.

As mentioned above he co-created UNIX with Ken Thompson. ’83 won him the Turing Award from ACM and several other accolades. Upon his passing the Fedora 16 Linux distribution was released as part of honoring his memory.

Let us know which programmer among the most influential computer programmers has influenced you the most in the comments section below.


    1. Indeed, he is one of the greatest engineers and he will be known for his World Wide Web invention. With the dew respect to his contribution to the digital community, there will be always someone missed in this list.

  1. There was C and it was mine. I thought it was an awesome language from Ken and Ritchie but you can’t just give a language with pointers to people not having any knowledge of CPUs, stacks, heaps, etc. It is a language for (electronic?) engineers only. These guys, Brian also, were insane smart and made software still sound in 2021. However, Margeret Hamilton is my champion as she must be the best software engineer having no IDE, no compiler, no higher language, to bring people to the moon and back alive in the 19 sixties. I think she is the best software engineer so far and maybe beyond.

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