There are so many people responsible for pushing computing forward when it was just a fledgling branch of maths and science.With help from the brilliant minds of people like Richard Stallman, James Gosling, and Bill Atkinson, computing slowly but surely became a big deal.
Here are some of our favourite programmers who have been around since the early days and aren’t content to sit on their hands, keeping busy with computers to this very day.
THEN: Hertzfeld starting developing his own software for the Apple II in 1978. Apple was so impressed that they hired him. He wrote system software and was primary architect of the Macintosh Operating System.
NOW: He designed the Google+ Circles user interface. Talk about staying current!
THEN: He invented the Java programming language while working at Sun Microsystems in 1994.
NOW: He began a new career at Google this past March and is an advisor to Typesafe, a simplified release of the Scala programming language.
THEN: He wrote the first Linux kernel in 1991, when he was 21 years old. He gave it away for free and it's since become a huge part of all kinds of technology.
NOW: He actively maintains the current Linux kernel. Version 3.0 was released this year.
THEN: He invented the freaking World Wide Web.
NOW: He consults with British Prime Minister David Cameron, working with the UK Government to help make data more open and accessible on the Web. In November 2009, he launched the World Wide Web Foundation as a means to 'advance the Web to empower humanity by launching transformative programs that build local capacity to leverage the Web as a medium for positive change.'
THEN: His computer programming ability was legendary, with a popular myth circulating that he wrote a text editor called 'vi' in one weekend in 1976. Eric Schmidt even stated, inaccurately, that Joy had rewritten the BSD kernel in a weekend. Joy made his name when he cofounded Sun Microsystems in 1982.
NOW: He runs his own venture capital firm, HighBAR Ventures, and is a partner at Kleiner Perkins. He gained serious notoriety with a controversial article he wrote for Wired called 'Why The Future Doesn't Need Us.'
THEN: He was an original member of the Apple team, who is largely responsible for the GUI that was used on the Apple Lisa (yes, before the Mac). He also created MacPaint, inventing the selection lasso, and the iconic HyperCard, a precursor to the World Wide Web.
NOW: He works as an outside developer with Numenta, a startup focused on computer intelligence. He's also an avid nature photographer.
THEN: He created Lotus Notes, a hugely important collaboration platform that was acquired by IBM in 1995.
NOW: He became Chief Software Architect of Microsoft in 2006, effectively replacing Bill Gates. He worked there until December 31, 2010.