Eight Famous Software Engineers

Computers are now a fundamental tool of modern life. As designers and distributors of new technology, software engineers play a critical role in the way people interact with both information and one another. Those software engineers famous for their work are ones whose contributions have been particularly influential throughout the world. The following are eight of the most famous software engineers.

Famous Software Engineers

Linus Torvalds

A Finnish-American engineer, Linus Torvalds is credited with creating both the Linux and Git systems. Linux is a software operating system touted for numerous reasons. Anecdotally, it is considered a superbly well-created product. Formally, it is distributed under an open source license, giving anyone the opportunity to change or distribute the system. Torvald’s other creation, Git, is a source code management system developed for the purpose of managing Linux. Since its development, Git has become widely used and praised within the software industry.

Torvalds began programming at age 10 or 11, he explains in a TED interview. While enrolled in the University of Helsinki, he began to build Linux as an attempt to improve the existing Unix operating system, reports Wired magazine. Once he finished his initial work, he reached out to the larger coding community for feedback. Linux quickly spread. Today, thanks to its superb design and ability to move easily between technologies, Linux is used worldwide. It resides in products, such as smartphones, cars, refrigerators and supercomputers, and helps to power much of the internet.


Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt

The brains behind Google — Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt — forever altered how content is consumed and distributed. “Google changed the game,” CNBC states, “not because it did search first but because it did it so well.”

Page and Brin started their project in 1996 while in graduate school together at Stanford University. The goal of their enterprise was to index and rank pages on the web on their relevancy by using back links. At the time, the internet had only 10 million pages. Now, there are more than 30 trillion pages. Google officially became a business in 1998. In 2001, Eric Schmidt was hired to help run it. By 2004, the company had gone public.

Today, Google’s ad revenues are twice that of every newspaper in the United States combined. Google’s impact can be seen across a tremendous breadth of industries including advertising, print publishing, broadcast and cable TV, movies, mobile phones and computer technology.


Jack Dorsey

A tech entrepreneur and billionaire, Jack Dorsey is famously known as the founder of Twitter. Born in 1976 in St. Louis, Dorsey was a quiet child who discovered a fascination for tracking the movement of people and objects in real time, explains The New Yorker. A college dropout, he founded Twitter in 2006.

Twitter is seen as the beginning of the participatory internet. Its relatively simple interface enables users to employ it for an array of purposes and uses. Twitter has been used as a key platform in political affairs, such as the organization of the Arab Spring and in breaking the news of Osama bin Laden’s death. The site’s 140-character constraint has also been a significant cultural influence, forging original forms of communication such as the hashtag.


Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO and founder of Facebook. A psychology major at Harvard, Zuckerberg originally began the service for Harvard University students, according to The Guardian. Its access quickly spread to students at other Boston universities, then those in the Ivy League. Over time, nearly everyone enrolled in higher education had a Facebook page. By 2006, the service was expanded to include anyone with a registered email address.

Facebook has become a significant tool for connecting people, facilitating communication and sharing information. Today, the site is global, with more than 8,000 employees and 1.35 billion users, Time magazine reports. Facebook’s advertising profits alone are estimated at $1.5 billion per year.


Bjarne Stroustrup

Bjarne Stroustrup is the creator of the programming language C++, which is known for being stable and allowing programmers to express their ideas with increased clarity and simplicity. C++ is now one of the most widely used programming languages in the world.

Born and raised in Aarhus, Denmark, Stroustrup developed C++ as an attempt to build a language that allowed for high-level abstraction in hardware, The Big Think reports. With the invention of the language, Stroustrup pioneered programming techniques in areas such as financial systems, games and scientific computation, according to his website. An estimated 4.4 million programmers use C++ today, and the language has been the catalyst for the development and improvement of other coding languages including C, Java and Fortran.


James Gosling

James Gosling is the creator of the Java programming language. Born near Calgary, Alberta, he received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1983.

According to the Centre for Computer History, Gosling invented the language in 1991 while working for Sun Microsystems. Originally designating it a research project, he recognized the impact that networking was starting to have on computer systems. In an interview on the television program “Intruders,” Gosling explains how his creation was a response to the question “How do you think about building systems that span a network of heterogeneous things?” Java became the response to solving the software engineering issues that arose accordingly. Today, Java is adaptable across numerous devices and, according to the software performance improvement company New Relic, is considered the most popular programming language in the world.

Become a Software Engineer

As computers become even more crucial to the society in which we live, it is clear that software engineers can indeed change the world. Those who want to join this innovative field can start by earning their online Bachelor of Science in Software Development degree from Husson University. The program takes between 12 and 24 months to complete, offering students a rapid start to their career goals.