Engineers from Apple and Google are loving this viral Twitter challenge about describing their job in 5 words


There’s nothing a programmer likes more than a problem to solve.

Perhaps that’s why when Abstractions, a Pittsburgh-based conference about software development, issued a challenge on Twitter to find the best solution to a simple problem, it went viral.

The challenge: Describe programming in five words.

Programmers couldn’t help themselves. They had to take a crack.

It’s a challenge because programming is a craft that people spend their entire lives honing. But summarizing it in only a few words is exactly the kind of problem that engineers love to tackle.

The answers were wide-ranging, hilarious, and revealing – and even engineers from Apple, Google and other big tech companies shared them and tried to write their own.

Check out some of the best below:

Many of the best responses addressed the inherent absurdity of computers:

This is a reference to the classic first program a coder writes in a new language, “Hello World.”

And this refers to FizzBuzz, a pseudo-code exercise that Google and other top tech firms used to ask applicants to tackle:

Listen to this or you’re gonna be off by one:

Some programmers responded in commands:

Or error messages:

But others just cursed.

Or howled at the abyss:

Here’s a comment:

Many of the responses were about everyday problems that programmers face:

Every programmer ends up writing bugs and receiving error messages.


Some of the best responses were about long-running programmer turf wars:

There’s always delays on a big project:

A lot of people commented on the absurdity of the development process:

And some responses were just absurd.

Hey! This is actual advice!

Here’s a serious, solid answer!

You can check out more responses at the link below:

The next Abstraction conference takes place in August 2019.