As technology becomes more and more a part of our daily lives, the people who make the software we use every day have become the next celebrities and rock stars.
The first generation of super-influential computer scientists largely came from the hallowed halls of academia, where the internet got its start. Today, there’s a new wave of programmers forging the path ahead for the modern web.
These are the innovative programmers doing tons of work behind the scenes to make the internet safer, more useful, and a lot more fun.
NYC-based MIT graduate Limor Fried -- known online as 'ladyada,' as tribute to pioneering computer scientist Lady Ada Lovelace -- develops software and hardware that gets used in electronics projects and products all over the world. In 2013, Fried told Newsweek that the company had done $22 million in revenue.
As the founder of Oculus VR, which Facebook bought for $2 billion, 22-year-old Palmer Luckey is in a good position: If virtual reality takes off like Facebook is betting that it will, it will be largely because of Luckey's contributions with the Oculus Rift headset.
Developer Zoe Quinn started off making award-winning games like Depression Quest, but after enduring a targeted online harassment campaign over the last year, she and her partner Alex Lifschitz started Crash Override. It's an 'anti-online hate mob task force' that builds software and tools to help stop online harassment.
Brianna Wu is the co-founder of games studio Giant Spacekat, which makes the game Revolution 60 for iOS. After her own experiences with online harassment, she's become an outspoken advocate for equality in technology-related fields.
26-year-old Mitchell Hashimoto, a serial entrepreneur since the age of 12, is the co-founder of HashiCorp, which makes programmer productivity software for customers like the BBC, Mozilla, Nokia, and Yammer.
31-year-old Parisa Tabriz holds the enviable title of 'Google Security Princess,' which means that she's the search giant's hacker-in-residence, figuring out flaws in its software before anybody else can.
Sara Haider is currently an Android engineer at the Twitter-owned Periscope, but she's worked at startups like Secret and Vine (at least, before it was also bought by Twitter). She may be best known for leading Twitter's Android app.
Googler Rob Pike has had a long career in programming. But back in 2009, he helped start a movement with the co-development of Go, a programming language that's catching on with developers trying to solve Google-esque problems at a huge scale. Today, he's the de facto leader of the growing Go community.
Pinterest's Tracy Chou is building a reputation as a fast-riser in the competitive Silicon Valley development scene. And, like several others on this list, Chou has become an outspoken advocate for inclusion among software developers.
At 22 years old, Julia Wallin has done significant web development work for the likes of NASA, Google, and New York's Guggenheim Museum -- and that was just in the last year. Now, she's up for Young Developer of the Year 2015.
Former Twitter engineer Benjamin Hindman invented software called Mesos while still at graduate school at UC Berkeley. These days, Mesos is used by web giants like Netflix and Airbnb to grow and grow their cloud computing infrastructures -- and Hindman co-founded startup Mesosphere, backed by the likes of Andreessen Horowitz, in search of turning Mesos into a big business, too.
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