"Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer… because it teaches you how to think."

- Steve Jobs

So here are 10 celebrities from the computer world to help keep you motivated for your programming lessons, IT course, or Java Script class.

Bill Gates: Founder of Microsoft at 20 Years Old

Bill Gates founded Microsoft
Bill Gates founded Microsoft, the world leader in operating systems with Windows. Photo credit: Thomas Hawk on Visual hunt

Bill Gates, a programmer so successful he is in a class of his own. The richest man on the planet is the founder of Microsoft. Computer engineer and American entrepreneur, he was a pioneer in the micro-computer industry. In 1975, when he was only 20 years old, he and his friend Paul Allen founded the micro-computer software company Microsoft. This is the company behind the Windows operating system which now practically holds a world-wide monopoly.

“Success is a bad teacher - it pushes intelligent people to think they’re infaillable.”

Did you know?

  • The first computer programme he created was a Tic-Tac-Toe game
  • He was accepted at Harvard at 18 but soon dropped out to devote himself to computer programming
  • He is very active in his charity: “Bill & Melinda Gates”

Ada Lovelace, History’s First Programmer

Ada Lovelace was the first software programmer.
Ada Lovelace wrote the first programme for a computing machine that only existed in theory. Margaret Sarah Carpenter [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Without Ada Lovelace, there would be no IT courses. A pioneer of computer science, she created the first computer programme in history in 1843. It was for the then-still-theoretical ancestor of the computer: Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. This makes Ada Lovelace the world’s first programmer.

She also envisioned the possibilities inherent in universal calculators to an extent that went way beyond digital calculations and what Babbage and his contemporaries had imagined.

If you can't give me poetry, can't you give me poetical science?

Did you know?

  • She is famous in English-speaking counties and Germany and gave her name to the programming language Ada, an object-oriented programming language whose earliest versions date back to the 1980s.
  • Her full name is Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace. She is the daughter of the famous 19th-century poet Lord Byron.
  • She bankrupted herself gambling in the hopes of being able to sponsor Babbage’s Difference Engine when the British Crown cut his funding.
  • Her health was delicate and she died at 36 of uterine cancer. The importance of her work wasn’t recognised until after her death.

Inspired by her, you might decide on a career in IT by taking computer science classes!

Steve Wozniak: Apple’s True Father

Steve Woznaik is co-founder of Apple.
Without Steve Wozniak, there would have been no Apple I home computer. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore on Visual hunt

A computer scientist and electronics specialist, Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple Computers together with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne in 1976. The Apple I circuit was developed entirely by Steve Wozniak. It was capable of displaying graphics on a screen, an innovation for the time.

My goal wasn’t to make a ton of money. It was to build good computers.

Did you know?

  • Together with Steve Jobs, he created the blue box, allowing people to make long-distance calls without paying - effectively de-frauding telephone companies. They sold about 200 units for $150 each.
  • To gather the funds necessary to build the first Apple prototype, Stece Wozniak sold his programmable calculator and Steve Jobs his Volkswagen Kombi (Camper) for a total of $1750.
  • Steve Wozniak suffered from amnesia after a plane accident in 1981, keeping him from working for Apple for some time.

Grace Hopper: Making Programming Languages Accessible

Grace Hopper invented the compiler.
Grace Hopper was instrumental in programming the Harvard Mark I, one of the first true computers. Photo credit: miss karen on Visualhunt.com

Born in New York in 1906, Grace Hopper studied mathematics, physics and astronomy. She went to Yale and got a PhD in mathematics in 1934. She joined the American Navy in 1943. She was stationed in Harvard’s Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project where she worked on the Harvard Mark I computer in Howard Aiken’s group. Grace Hopper was one of the first three people to have learned to programme the Mark I.

“Go ahead and do it. It's always easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”

Did you know?

  • Her nickname was Amazing Grace.
  • She developed the first UNIVAC I compiler in 1950.
  • Grace Hopper defended the idea that a computer programme had to be understable to as many people as possible. This led to the birth of COBOL, the first programming language, in 1959
  • She was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Liberty in 2016

It is in part thanks to Amazing Grace that you can take online computer courses today!

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg has greatly influenced human interactions.
Like him or hate him, Mark Zuckerberg has helped change the way humans interact and connect. Photo credit: Robert Scoble on Visualhunt.com

Though he doesn’t do much programming nowadays, Mark Zuckerberg wrote the first lines of codes for the social network Facebook.
Computer specialist and CEO, he is the founder and president of Facebook since 2004.

In a world that’s changing so quickly, the biggest risk you can take is not taking any risk.”

Did you know?

  • When Mark Zuckerberg tried his hand at programming again in 2011, he took nearly two hours to program something that usually takes his employees 5 minutes
  • He is the fifth richest man on the planet
  • Facebook has been taken to court by the Winklevoss brothers for stealing their idea.

Margaret Hamilton Made the “Small Step for Man” Possible

Margaret Hamilton invented the term "computer engineering".
Without Margaret Hamilton's programming skills, Man would never have walked on the Moon. Source:

Long before the birth of Python or JavaScript, Margaret Hamilton did the programming for the Apollo 11 mission.
Man would never have been able to walk on the moon if it hadn’t been for a woman: Margaret Hamilton, who corrected the programming for the Apollo 11 mission - by hand. She anticipated several malfunctions in the electronic components and made sure that the command module for the lunar landing remained functional. The success of the mission is entirely due to her and her work.
It is interesting to not that, at the time, software development was often in the hands of women because it was considered a less important, menial task.

“It’s not subtle or restrained. It’s not any of the things you like to think apply to your acting.”

Did you know?

  • She coined the term “computer engineering”, a specialisation later recognised in its own right.
  • In 1986, she founded Hamilton Technologies, which developed a new programming language called the Universal Systems Language (USL)
  • She received the NASA Exceptional Space Act Award for scientific and technical contributions in 2003

Learn to code like Margaret Hamilton (but on modern devices!) with IT courses near you.

Louis Pouzin, The Man Who Didn’t Invent the Internet

No Internet without Louis Pouzin.
Louis Pouzin defined the protocols that would later make the Internet possible. • Jérémie Bernard (purepix.fr) - Own work

A French computer engineer born in 1931, he invented the datagram and contributed to the development of data package distribution nets. His work was used when elaborating the Internet and TCP/IP protocols. He didn’t invent the Internet, but without him, it wouldn’t be what it is today. He is still active in renewing and re-inventing it.

“Attacking a single-language Internet is attacking the American Net hegemony.”

Did you know?

  • He got his PhD at the École Polytechnique near Paris
  • He receive the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Internet Award for his contribution to Web protocols
  • He was awarded the Légion d’Honneur

Isis Wenger, the Coder Behind #iLookLikeAnEngineer

Isis Wenger originated #iLookLikeAnEngineer
Isis Wenger - now Isis Anchalee - made a splash during an ad campaign. Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Isis Wenger was a young woman, 22 years old, computer engineer. In 2015, the California company she worked for, OneLogin, asked her to take part in their advertising campaign together with two other employees, to show that computer engineers are normal people. The campaign met with a huge buzz because, according to some people, Isis Wenger is “too pretty to be an engineer”.

Annoyed, Isis Wenger responded by launching the hashtag #iLookLikeAnEngineer. It was taken up throughout the world by women engineers reminding everybody that they can be in IT and still be feminine - and men to remind people that engineers come in every shape and size.

I help build enterprise software.

She is also the reason that some people have signed up for IT courses!

Did you know?

  • The #iLookLikeAnEngineer hashtag has been used in over 86,000 tweets in 50 countries. It was even used by Melinda Gates to congratulate Wenger on her initiative
  • She is a self-taught full-stack developer
  • Michelle Glauser, the wife of one of Isis Wenger’s colleagues, created a crowd-funding campaign to teach programming to minorities. The goal was $3,500; $47,285 were raised.

Larry Page, Creator of Google

Larry Page introduced the verb "google" into our vocabulary
Larry Page (right) is the founder of the ubiquitous search engine, Google. By Joi Ito from Inbamura, Japan (Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin and Larry Page)

Larry Page, born in 1973, is an American computer engineer and co-founder of the Google search engine. He studied at Stanford, as did the founders of Yahoo. He grew up in the computer world; his father, Carl Page, founded eGroups, the ancestor of Yahoo. Larry Page has worked with computers since the age of six.

Did you know?

  • “Google” comes from the word “googol” designating the number 10 to the power of 100, to express just how thorough the search engine is
  • In 1999, Larry Page and Serguey Brin managed to fund-raise 25 million dollars
  • In 2002, he was awarded the title of “International Leader of the Economy of the Future” by the World Economic Forum

Karen Spärck, Pioneer in Artificial Intelligence

She elaborated the fundamentals of Google.
A scientist and computer researcher born in Britain in 1935, her work was mostly on automatic natural language processing and information retrieval.
One of her most important contributions is in inverse document processing, a concept used by most search engines today.

“Computing’s too important to be left to men.”

Did you know?

  • She was the daughter of a Chemistry lecturer and a Norwegian woman who had emigrated to Great Britain during the Second World War
  • She was married to a computer researcher Roger Needham

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