Ilias Tsagklis

About Ilias Tsagklis

Ilias Tsagklis is a senior software engineer working in the telecom domain. He is an applications developer in a wide variety of applications/services. Ilias is co-founder and Executive Editor at Java Code Geeks.

20 Kick-ass programming quotes

This post serves as a compilation of great programming quotes, quotes from famous programmers, computer scientists and savvy entrepreneurs of our time. Some of them are funny, some of them are motivational, some of them are… just awesome!

So, in no particular order, let’s see what we have…

1. “There are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult.”
- C.A.R. Hoare (British computer scientist, winner of the 1980 Turing Award)

2. “If debugging is the process of removing software bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.”
- Edsger Dijkstra (Dutch computer scientist, winner of the 1972 Turing Award)

3. “Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.”
- Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft)

4. “Nine people can’t make a baby in a month.” (regarding the addition of more programmers to get a project completed faster)
- Fred Brooks (American computer scientist, winner of the 1999 Turing Award)

5. “Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.”
- Brian W. Kernighan (Canadian computer scientist, co-author of “C programming language”)

6. “Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.”
- Martin Golding

7. “C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot; C++ makes it harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg.”
- Bjarne Stroustrup (Danish computer scientist, developer of the C++ programming language)

8. “When debugging, novices insert corrective code; experts remove defective code.”
- Richard Pattis

9. “Computer science education cannot make anybody an expert programmer any more than studying brushes and pigment can make somebody an expert painter.”
- Eric S. Raymond (American programmer, open source software advocate, author of “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”)

10. “Most good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program.”
- Linus Torvalds (Finnish American, software engineer and hacker, principal force behind the development of the Linux kernel)

11. “Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.”
- Rich Cook

12. “Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.”
- Martin Fowler (author and speaker on software development)

13. “Good code is its own best documentation. As you’re about to add a comment, ask yourself, ‘How can I improve the code so that this comment isn’t needed?’”
- Steve McConnell (author of many software engineering books including “Code Complete”)

14. “The problem with using C++ … is that there’s already a strong tendency in the language to require you to know everything before you can do anything.”
- Larry Wall (developer of the Perl language)

15. “People think that computer science is the art of geniuses but the actual reality is the opposite, just many people doing things that build on each other, like a wall of mini stones.”
- Donald Knuth (computer scientist)

16. “One of my most productive days was throwing away 1000 lines of code.”
- Ken Thompson (computer scientist, early developer of UNIX OS)

17. “Most software today is very much like an Egyptian pyramid with millions of bricks piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, but just done by brute force and thousands of slaves.”
- Alan Kay (American computer scientist)

18. “Before software can be reusable it first has to be usable.”
- Ralph Johnson (computer scientist)

19. “Programming is like sex. One mistake and you have to support it for the rest of your life.”
- Michael Sinz

20) “If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along wound destroy civilization.”
- Gerald Weinberg (American computer scientist)

After this don’t forget to check out Funny Source Code Comments!

Leave your own favorites in the comments section! And don’t forget to share!

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12 Responses to "20 Kick-ass programming quotes"

  1. Incze Lajos says:

    First Amendement to Cook’s Law (11.):

    Software engineers are themselves part of the picture, being also bigger and better idiots produced by the Uiverse.

  2. shvelo says:

    Awesome quotes, the idiots one is the best

  3. One more quote: “Good code is its own best documentation” – Steve McConnell

  4. nemory says:

    One more quote: “Code and code until you die”. Just joking though. :)

  5. Dmitriy Shyshchenko says:

    Link to the source of the quotes is missing. But I guess they all came from the stackoverflow (as well as funny source code comments)

    • Ilias Tsagklis says:

      Hey Dmitriy, thank you for joining the conversation. Actually, there were multiple sources that I used to create this compilation and none of them was StackOverflow. In any case, each one of these quotes can be located in multiple places over the internet, so I do not see a point in providing a bunch of URLs. Cheers!

      • Ilari says:

        While I like these quotes and thank you for collecting these I have strongly disagree with source not being relevant. Internet is full of bul***it! Especially when it comes to quotes that somebody has supposedly said.

        “Internet is full of stupid people”
        -Albert Einstein

  6. Emad says:

    Awesome! Thanks

  7. DenniJensen says:

    Very nice quotes!

  8. Frank Analysis says:

    Typical – everyone focusing on negativity and name-calling, nobody focusing on how to improve on quality in a more positive, proactive way.

    Only smart people can coin a respectful, graceful quote that makes a junior programmer become a senior programmer with ease… the rest are idiots.

  9. One of my favorites: Profanity: The truly multi-platform programming language.

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