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Ben Halpern for CodeNewbie

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Coding Heroes: Who Inspires and Motivates You?

We all have role models and people we look up to for inspiration and motivation: a coding mentor, a well-known programmer, someone who has paved the way for diversity in tech.

Who are the people that have made a significant impact on your coding journey? Share their stories and how they have influenced you. Let's give them the recognition they deserve!

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Top comments (10)

erinposting profile image
Erin Bensinger

I've always had a lot of reverence for Aaron Swartz, who was a political organizer and activist for the free and open web in the early 2000s. His life's work and his story serve as reminders to me that there's more at stake on the internet than bits, bytes, and memes—and that we all have a duty to advocate for equity and access in this space and beyond.

If you're not familiar with Aaron's work, I recommend checking out the podcast episode linked in this DEV post from a while back:

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel (double agent)

Oh I need to listen to that. I was deeply moved recently reading again his Wikipedia entry and some of his work. He is like a Mozart of our time, so brilliant, so generous to the world, and his infamous unnecessary death so young is so infuriating

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel (double agent) • Edited

It's sad that I can't find it, but there was an article/interview with a lone Google engineer who explained how he was doing the grunt work of keeping Google Scholar alive and making it 1% better. A maintenance task that is not in the top 100 priorities of his company. Meanwhile his colleagues were launching hype soon retired new products and chasing promotions.

He chose instead to make life a tiny bit easier for some of the best minds of our time to produce their work.

That I find inspirational: forget your ego and make an impact by removing obstacles for others to do their best work.

erinao profile image
Erin A Olinick

Love this! It puts me in mind of two of my favorite quotes from Lao Tzu

  1. "By letting go of our ego and desires, we create the space to allow others to step forward and shine."
  2. "A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves."
jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy 🎖️ • Edited

No-one really.

I'm entirely self taught and, to be honest, the number of famous programmers who spring immediately to mind I could count on one hand. I draw inspiration and motivation from interesting code and ideas - and these come from countless people and sources.

theoriginalbpc profile image
Sarah Bartley

Adda Birnir (she's the founder of Skillcrush) is my coding role model because her story inspired me to learn how to code. I stumbled on a job posting for Skillcrush in 2015. When I visited their website, I read and immediately connected with Adda's story of how she ended up in tech and later founded Skillcrush.

wynandpieters profile image
Wynand Pieters

I could probably list a dozen or more people that have had an influence on my career, from managers and team mates to university friends, various teachers on MOOC platforms, and just tech people I've seen at conferences or heard in podcasts...

If I have to choose one though, it would be John Carmack. Not only is he a great developer who's had a hand in some impressive achievements, he is also a lifelong learner, which is something I feel more people should aspire to, and has an incredible amount of insight into tech as it as, as well as out of the box ideas about where it should go.

He is by no means a perfect human being though, but in even his faults gave me guidelines on where I should be careful in my own life and career.

I should also probably mention my dad here, since he was the one that introduced me to coding when he borrowed a Sinclair ZX Spectrum from a friend. If it weren't for the two of them, who knows where I would have ended up.

michalispapamichael profile image
Michalis Papamichael

Well personally i get my inspiration from various ideas and projects rather than hearing to people such as celebrity programmers or tech leads.

Innovative ideas tend to motivate me way more. Although having real conversations with colleagues about different topics and technologies it's extremely fulfilling & motivating as well.

pinotattari profile image
Riccardo Bernardini

"We do not need no inspiration..."

satriopamungkas profile image
Muhammad Raihan Satrio Putra Pamungkas

Thompson, Ritchie, Dijkstra, Knuth, and Torvalds. Those people mostly inspire me; they are famously known as the early pioneers of modern computer programming.