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Top 10 Living Software Engineers in the World Today


This is my humble opinion.  Please leave feedback!  I know there are probably people out there I should have included.

(All ages are as of 2013)

  1. Steve McConnell – He wrote the bible, Code Complete.  Enough said. (Age:50)
  2. Linus Torvalds – He wrote and is the architect for one of the most used operating systems ever, Linux.  Oh, he did Git also. (Age: 43)
  3. Kent BeckTDD, Agile Manifesto Signatory, jUnit, XP. (Age: 52)
  4. Barry Boehm – Software Economics, COCOMO, Spiral Development (Age: 78)
  5. David Parnas – Invented Information hiding and de-coupling. (Age: 72)
  6. Grady Booch – Helped invent UML and RUP.  Seminal person in Software Architecture. (Age: 58)
  7. Martin FowlerAgile Manifesto Signatory, Refactoring, and wrote the classic Patterns of Enterprise ApplicationArchitecture. (Age: 50)
  8. Tim Berners-Lee – Invented the WWW for heaven’s sake. (Age: 57)
  9. Fred Brooks – Wrote THE classic, Mythical Man-Month and also a Turing award (Nobel Prize of Computing) winner. (Age: 81)

So, you’ll probably notice the list only has nine people (if you read this far).  I’ve included the best for last because he is also the most controversial.

Bill Gates (Age: 57)

Now many people may be upset with this choice and say that he was a businessman. True, he was a businessman. But he was also a Software Engineer. He was a programmer (12) and then a project manager, if you will, for MS-DOS; one of the most used operating systems ever.  He was also the Chief Architect of Microsoft for a very long time when some of the most used programming languages (e.g. Visual Basic, C#) and products (e.g. Windows) were produced.



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About Leonard Woody
Software Engineer

16 Responses to Top 10 Living Software Engineers in the World Today

  1. jagostoni says:

    Nice list. Brooch should be taken off the list BECAUSE of UML 😉

    • jagostoni says:

      Booch … Autocorrect 😦

      • Yeah, I almost left Booch off, although not because of UML, but rather that was not enough for me to include him (I think they’re were 2 other inventors also). I think he has added to his legacy in recent years with all his writings on Software Architecture for IBM and IEEE Software. Also, he’s been a huge advocate for making software engineering a profession.

        Not a big fan of UML, eh? Well, I can’t say I am either, BUT it is really the only codified modeling language that is somewhat widely known. Granted, at the end of the day I like “Boxes and Arrows” created in my Visio, but I have seen a few instances where sequence diagrams have helped out. Of course, class diagrams can be very handy at times.

  2. sneha says:

    U all r superb.but i also want to b a software engieer.like bill gates

  3. leonardo says:

    cool post.i just needed that info.

  4. geek says:

    John Carmack is one of the greatest software programmer of all times

  5. But in traditional way;we should employ/call only MS/ME/MTech/BS/BE/BTech(Computer Engg / IT/Software Engg)/BSc/MSc(Computer Sc/ IT/Software Engg)/ BCA / MCA ( Bachelor/ Master of Computer Applications) degree holders as S/W Engineers from past two decades.Other degree holders-even BS/MS/BE/MTech(Electrical Engg/Electronic Engg) should not be recruited as or called as S/W Engineers.Note that;for past two decades;Programming (& Programmers) & S/W Engineering ( & S/W Engineers ) are regarded as two different subjects;former a part of later but not vice-versa.Thus S/W Enginner may even work as Programmer but Programmer can’t work as S/W Engineer.– Er. Sunil Pedgaonkar;India;Chartered Engineer(India);MIE(India);Consulting Engineer — CEAI ( FIDIC Associate ) Registered;Mob.91-9483368701 India
    E-Mail:- Sunil dot A dot Pedgaonkar @ GMail.Com

  6. prahalad says:

    great work i need this info

  7. Yogi says:

    Very nice list .. Restricting it to ten makes it very hard of course because you have to leave out some really great people … Honorable mentions could be Ken Thompson, John Carmack, Dave Cutler and Jeff Dean (or these guys could be on the list and 4 in yours could be honorable mentions 🙂 )

    • Yeah, John Carmack is quite a legendary programmer and Ken Thompson has made multiple contributions from Unix to C. I was unaware of both Cutler and Dean. I found the history of Cutler illuminating, especially as it pertain to Windows NT, but I don’t think Jeff Dean has risen to the level of being in this top ten list.

  8. Umesh says:

    Add the name of Java Founder James Gosling…

  9. kul dominic says:

    nice post. i also want to become a S/W engineer and some day i will be in that list

  10. A Degree holder in concerned/related subject should be given first preference;first title&honour
    — that is /should be universal law in today’s modern times — Er. SUNY(Er.Sunil Pedgaonkar);India
    Chartered Engineer(India);MIE(India);Consulting Engineer(India)-CEAI(FIDIC associate)Regist-
    -ered Mob. 91-9579950627 / 9483368701 E-Mail:- Er dot Sunil dot Pedgaonkar@GMail Com

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