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Programmers' Day (wikipedia.org)
417 points by kexek on Sept 13, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 84 comments

Degrees in computer science and computer engineering are in the top 10 for average earnings. We get to build all kinds of cool stuff used by people around the world. For many of us, programming is fun. And we get paid to do it!

Every day is programmer's day.

Some interesting data I pulled together today:

Approximate revenue-per-employee. Data from Wolfram Alpha and Wikipedia.

Apple makes $2,000,000 per employee. Facebook makes $1,500,000. Google makes $1,000,000. Microsoft makes $800,000. Sony makes $500,000. Kraft makes $400,000. Walmart makes $200,000. McDonalds makes $60,000.

Now, if only there was a good source of users-per-engineer. I read that Facebook is somewhere around 1,260,000. That's just awesome.

We create so much value, and for so many people.

Of course, these are interesting and great numbers, but I don't think that they are the only measure of value.

McDonalds may make 'only' $60,000 per employee, but it employs over 1.5 million people. I'm grateful that McDs are providing jobs for those who need them. They also of course offer opportunities for people to own franchises and run their 'own' businesses

The 1.5 million you cite includes franchised employees, while the 60K revenue/employee number does not.

Instagram has 3 engineers[1], 9 million users[2]: 3 million users per engineer.

[1] (counting the co-founders as engineers) http://www.crunchbase.com/company/instagram [2] http://www.kullin.net/2011/09/instagram-now-has-9-million-us...

And, unless I'm mistaken, a revenue hovering around $0.

That's the hacker spirit.

The first rule of the bubble is you don't talk about things that might make it pop.

Personally, I'm on pins and needles waiting to see if it will.

I know people like Instagram because of the filters and such, but is it cool otherwise? I mean, I've got it installed on my phone, but I hardly ever take pictures with my iPhone (3GS, maybe that explains it?) in the first place.

Mozilla used to welcome each employee with a little knicknack and say, "This represents your million users. Try not to abuse them too much."

But not anymore? :(

I don't know, I heard it in an old interview with Aza Raskin, who doesn't even work there anymore. They might still do it :)

I hope you mean users-per-engineer. :-)

Oh, seems that Facebook makes 1.2 dollars per user from your numbers

Thanks for the correction.

As for Facebook's revenue-per-user based on revenue-per-employee and number of users, you'll need the number of employees (not just engineers). That's about 2000, which works out to $4 per user. This is exactly inline with what was documented in this nifty chart: http://wallstcheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/chart...

Amazon is kicking ass. Apple only makes $150 revenue per iOS user (Asymco).

Wow, amazon really does kick ass.

I think saving money on designers can be justified, after all ;-)

Why should we be surprised that the company whose business is in shipping and selling a wide range of physical products has more revenue than a range of companies whose income are either service fees or advertisements? We're not comparing like with like; Amazon's revenue is counted against by buying and stocking the physical products they sell to derive that revenue. None of the others on that chart have physical product to worry about and so retain a much higher percentage of revenue for themselves.

By profit margin, Apple is a lot closer to the purely software companies than it is to the likes of the (nearly identical) Walmart and Amazon.


I'd love to see where Adobe or Oracle would fit in on that chart.

> Apple makes $2,000,000 per employee.

Most of their employees are not engineers, but work in retail. Which makes it a bit of an odd case among the other tech companies :)

Does the cited figure actually include every employee at every Apple store? Or just corporate employees?

Jerry Seinfeld:

   Don't give awards to comedians.

   Awards are for people who are looking for work,

   and we're not looking for work.
http://bit.ly/qs3AJu [video]

A lot of programmers are unsung and don't get the praise they deserve. Sure, you have famous programmers like Woz and Zuckerberg, but there are a lot of talented people out there that aren't even given praise at work.

Great day to quote from Dijkstra's good old article. At that time(1957) programming was not considered as a profession!

Extract from Humble Programmer[1]

"..in 1957, I married and Dutch marriage rites require you to state your profession and I stated that I was a programmer. But the municipal authorities of the town of Amsterdam did not accept it on the grounds that there was no such profession. And, believe it or not, but under the heading "profession" my marriage act shows the ridiculous entry "theoretical physicist"!.."

[1] http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~EWD/transcriptions/EWD03xx/EWD340....

What a quote! I would have opted for exterminator — a satisfactorily legitimate profession, and a nice bit of tongue-in-cheek for those who know what is really meant.

As a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always answered that I wanted to kill bugs. Of course, this was a bit before our meaning of "bug" became common knowledge, so it always got a good laugh. I'm thrilled to have followed my childhood dream to be a part of this wonderful industry of err exterminators. Happy PD everybody!

He probably would not have chosen that. Another piece of Dijkstra lore is that he really hated the term "bug". He said that by using this term the programmer tried to avoid his responsibility for making correct programs by suggesting that errors somehow creep into your program out of their own volition through no fault of the programmer.

Dijkstra was really hard core in terms of correctness. He insisted that each programmer had to work out a mathematical proof that his program will always provide correct output for every single possible input, and submit that proof when submitting the program. Things did not work out that way.

> As a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always answered that I wanted to kill bugs.

You should have joined the Mobile Infantry. They're doing their part in killing bugs.


(yes, when people mention killing bugs, I do Starship Troopers jokes ;)).

"...the color white was chosen because it represents a hex number with the largest value in a 24-bit red green blue (RGB) color space: 0xFFFFFF, so programmers worldwide wear white in celebration."

Only Programmers would have a holiday in which we wear white after labor day to celebrate.

Just remember to take a spare shirt, for after you spill your breakfast burrito on the first one.

Being the 256th day, why wouldn't they choose the color 0x000100? Green's my favorite color.

Russian Labor Day is May 1.

Can you imagine "programmer's day" being officially recognized in a western society such as the US or the UK? Over here, intellectual pursuits such as programming are effectively spat upon.

"Effectively spat upon", really?

The reason Programmer's Day will never be a thing here is that programming is a low-risk, well-paid, white-collar professional occupation like many others. Nothing special about it, and we don't have a lawyer's day or an actuary's day or a guy who designs the machine that makes tiles for bathrooms day.

I, for one, am all for a "guy who designs the machine that makes tiles for bathrooms" day.

No seriously, manufacturing engineers need more recognition, and don't even belong on the same list as lawyers. More children need to know that "building machines" is a viable career choice. I wish I had known . . . [/rant]

I agree. It's fascinating to take pretty much any device on your desk, and think, "How would I build a machine / process to build 10,000 of these a day?" Manufacturing engineering is something I have a great deal of respect for. Lots of hard problems, infinitely changing constraints, many challenges - and then marketing fucks it all up. :)

That's not the best argument. We have System Administrator's appreciation day and Administrative Professionals day here in the USA.

Happy Programmers' Day! On this day I'll do what I love the most: code!

Wishing all programmers Manÿ Happÿ Returns of the Daÿ and Maÿ each one of those Returns compile successfullÿ

ÿ : 256th ascii character (should henceforth be the Programmers' day symbol)

correction: Extended ASCII character per http://www.ascii-code.com/

Nit-pick: that's not an ASCII character at all, since ASCII is a 7-bit encoding it does not contain a code point with the value 255 (or 256).

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASCII and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%B8#Character_encodings.

There are only 128 ASCII characters.

You're right, I should have said Extended ASCII

Extended ASCII isn't a proper term either. ASCII is 7-bits, that's all. There's no 8-bit extension to ASCII. Extended ASCII is really more like "some 8-bit encoding that shares the first 127 values with ASCII" -- and there are plenty of such encodings.

On Easter we hunt for eggs.

On Halloween we dress in costumes.

On Festivus we air grievances and perform feats of strength.

On Programmer's Day? We argue about the naming of things!

(Though we have to figure out how to turn it into a drinking game.)

How about: λ

Today is the day I must hunt down that irritating segfault, then!

I should add that 10 minutes later I got rid of that specific segfault I spent nights on! Wish you all the same luck.

Today is dedicated to all brave souls who dared to be a programmer...!!

Untangling code none dared untangle before.

Not to forget, created tangled code to untangle later.

Well happy PD to everybody.

Today just happened to be an unexpectedly productive programming day... I guess I was "celebrating" without realizing it :)

Any Russians want to tell us whether this holiday has any meaning to the ordinary Russians?

I don't know. Please have this Russian comic strip


(Programmer is working. / Programmer is celebrating the programmers' day)

хорошо... каждый день, день программиста (I have no idea if that's right, but I was playing with google translate)

Replace "," with "—", and you got it right.

> Any Russians want to tell us whether this holiday has any meaning to the ordinary Russians?


[UPD]: Disambiguation: this holiday has no meaning to the ordinary Russians.

Not much (as any other professional day - reclamation expert's day, railwayman's day, etc), but we're working on it!

Just to clarify: it's an official Programmer's Day today in Russia, but it's not a day off. There are all kinds of X's Day-s for many values of X there.

I'm ashamed. Came to work after lunch and just then got told it's today. Why didn't I read HN in the morning? Now have to figure out a way to make a hack in the office to awww everybody.

Happy Programmers' Day. I mentioned it to our Directors yesterday. Hoping we get cake at least.

Didn't get cake...


    while not out_of_cake:

Anyone tell me what I'm meant to do on Programmers Day or why it even exists?

solve an np complete problem in your head!

We can all do this!

Given { −2, −3, 4, 13, −1}, is there a non-empty subset of the numbers that sums to zero?

Easy, for sufficiently small problem size!

Pah, real programmers are doing that every day.

What are you supposed to do on "Martin Luther King" day?

I (stay in bed and) have a dream.

That's different, you're remembering a specific person and what they did. I don't need to remember programmers, I am one and I work with them every day.

It just feels to me like harking after gratitude but the reality is that there are loads of people who do useful, important jobs and who get on with it day after day with no more than the usual acknowledgement.

If you do this where do you stop? Firemen day? Doctors day? Sewage workers day?

If you're a programmer, you don't need a special day to think about programmers, if you're not a programmer, then programmers are just one of hundreds of useful trades you should be thankful for, but I see no reason why we're special.

The origin of PD comes from Russia and AFAIK they have this tradition (inherited from the times of communism) there to celebrate professions with a special day dedicated to them, so yes, they do have firemen day, miner day or policemen day.

Happy Programmer's Day. Wish you a full day of coding with no bugs :P

If you don't have any bugs, how do you know your code is working correctly? I personally never trust code that works on the first try. :)

You should try writing some unit tests then :P

I can't wait to see the Google Doodle for this.

No Doodle for you, get back to your BDD lean cloud-backed, mobile first bootstrapped startup! Stop messing on HN or your accelerator/angel investors will take away your shiny new MacBook Air.

Let's just be practical and all take today off!

Happy Programmers' Day! Keep on hacking!

Happy Programmer's Day guys and gals!

I did not know this, otherwise I could have taken the day off.

Looks like my birthday is on Programmers' Day, nice.

256 can NOT be represented with 8 bits

That's the number of distinct values you get with 8 bits. Since there is no "zeroth" day of the year, it makes sense to have it on the 256th day instead of the 255th.

yep. I just commented on exact wiki words.

Happy PD, dear colleagues!

Comrades? ^^.

OK then, let's solve that compile issue today then.

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