Did You Know Today Is Programmer Day?
Written by Lucy Black
Saturday, 12 September 2020

As last year Programmer's Day was September 13th, I imagined that tomorrow would be our special day. I was wrong. Because of the way it is calculated, for 2020, Programmer Day falls on September 12th.

If you've not celebrated Programmer Day before you might not even know about it:

Programmer Day is a day to celebrate Programmers and thank them for all that they do.

That's nice.

So the next question is, where does Programmer Day fall in the calendar? Here's the definition:

It's the 0x100th day of the year, or the 256th day in common currency, and this makes it September 13th if it isn't a leap year, and September 12th if it is.

Given that 11111111 is the maximum value an eight-bit number can hold is 255 not 256, why wasn't 255th day of the year chosen?  The reason is, of course, that we programmers, in line with the mathematicians, count from zero so we went to celebrate the 255th day starting from January 1st, which is day zero. As 2020 is a leap year that means its today. It's a good job we had our Happy Programmers' card made already:

As years go, for programmers, indeed for everybody, 2020 has thrown up a lot of challenges thanks to a global pandemic that has had, and is continuing to have, a huge impact on how we work and play. In the case of programmer's working remotely has in many ways been a change for the better. We've reported findings that programmers can be both more productive and happier when working away from their office environment, although there's something of an age divide - with younger programmers missing office life more that those in their 30s and 40s. It's probably not the commute that they miss but the chance to network with their peers at the end of the working day.

That reminds me, on Programmer Day 2014 we discovered a range of Cocktails devised by Programmers For Programmers. Luckily the GitHub repo is still there so I'm off to mix myself one now. For more ideas how to Celebrate see Mike James list of suggestions from Programmer Day 2015.

2020 has an extra amazing event of significance to programmers. In a not untypical "off-by-one" error tomorrow September 13th 2020 at 12:26pm UTC the Unix Timestamp, which is the same as the Linux date, increments to 1600000000 exactly. It would have been nice if it happened on Programmer Day but leap years and all that....

If you are curious, the next similar timestamp is 1700000000 on the 14th November 2023 and it is the number of seconds since 1st January 1970 UTC, which is when modern civilization began.

Programmer Day website

Cocktails for Programmers on Github

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