Programmers Day - Why So Apathetic?
Written by Mike James   
Saturday, 12 September 2015

Programmers Day comes around every year and each year it is increasingly ignored. Why, when we are trying to encourage children to take up all things computing, is Programmers Day such a flop?

If you've not encountered it before, the idea is that on a specific day we celebrate computer programmers. It is designated to be on the 256th day of the year, which in most years is September 13th and this year, 2015, it falls on a Sunday. You'll find that January 7th is also celebrated. This was the date for the first International Programmers' Day when it was launched in 2007, but in 2009 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree for the “Day of the Programmer” to be celebrated on the 256th day of the year.

Why this particular day?

Well if you really need to ask you almost certainly are not a programmer. But for any casual visitor the answer is that 256 is the number of distinct values that that can be represented with an 8-bit byte, and 256 is the highest power of 2 that is less than 365, the number of days in a year. Of course, if you are not a programmer then you probably got the "365 days in a year" in that explanation and nothing much else. 

In previous years we have been able to find fun things to do for programmers and Lucy Black even composed a poem and created a card for the occasion:



No-one is saying it was a good poem, but it shouldn't have sunk the event without trace. The only Programmer Day website apparently hasn't been updated since last year and the hash tag reveals mostly tweets from previous years and not much in the way of details of any revels to come.



Why do we ignore this opportunity for celebration? 

Perhaps we lack the confidence to point out to the world just how important we are. 

Perhaps we are worried what might happen if we do point out how important we are. 

Perhaps we are just too busy programming.

What are you going to do for Programmer Day?

Here are the usual suggestions: 

  • Speak in code (or pseudocode) all day

  • Decorate a tree with zeros and ones to make a binary tree

  • Make Happy Programmer Day cards using ASCII art

  • Have a contest for the best binary pun / programming joke

  • Have a programmer themed cocktail  

Are these just too tired?

What about:

  • Teach someone to program just a little bit.

  • Explain why programming is a mode of thought that is incredibly effective.

  • Point out to an assembled group of people what the world would be like without software.

  • Describe how much better the world would be if EVERYONE could think algorithmically so getting to real solutions rather than just expressing vague desires about "a better world".

So what are you going to do to stop this opportunity slipping by unmarked?



More Information

Programmer Day website

Cocktails for Programmers on Github

Related Articles

Programmers' Day - Let's Celebrate

It's Programmer Day - What Are You Going To Do?

Celebrate Programmer Day       

Happy Programmers' Day


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Last Updated ( Saturday, 12 September 2015 )