Read about 10 famous software engineers, the applications they created and the software engineering degree they earned.

smiling software engineer

By Jennifer Wegerer

Software, like a novel or film, can leave some people remarkably pleased and others utterly disappointed—if not at the application itself, then at the software engineer behind it.

More likely than not, we have all sat at a keyboard feeling frustrated, and wondering why an application didn't work this way or that.

Then again, we may have felt truly in awe, using a piece of software that was so swift and seamless that we'd like to shake the hand of the software engineer who wrote it and thank that person for making it so understandable and so easy to use.

Ten Famous (or Infamous) Software Engineers

Here's a list of some of the most famous software applications and the software engineers who created them. Depending on your point of view, this list might include some of your unsung heroes, or perhaps a few people with whom you'd like to have a few words. Nevertheless, these software engineers have built world-famous applications, whether we like it or not. 

Software Engineer Degree Held Company Application Application Type
Tim Bray Bachelor of Science degrees in math and computer science Entrepreneur; co-founded Open Text Corporation, Textuality and Antarctica Systems  XML Developer's tool
Paul Buchheit Bachelor's degree in computer science Entrepreneur; worked for Intel and Google  Gmail Webmail service
John Carmack  None Entrepreneur; co-founded id Software Doom, Quake Computer games
Dave Cutler Bachelor's degree DEC, Microsoft; co-founded Agrippa-Ord Windows NT Operating System
Max Levchin Bachelor's degree in computer science Entrepreneur; co-founded NetMeridian Software, SponsorNet New Media and Confinity PayPal  E-commerce
Pierre Omidyar Bachelor's degree in computer science Claris; as an entrepreneur, co-founded Ink Development and created eBay eBay Online auction and shopping website
Alexey Pazhitnov Degree in computer software engineering Microsoft; as an entrepreneur, co-founded The Tetris Company Tetris Computer game
Jimmy Wales Bachelor's and master's degrees in finance Teacher and Internet entrepreneur; co-founded Wikipedia Wikipedia Web-based encyclopedia
Michael Widenius None Entrepreneur; co-founded MYSQL AB MySQL Open-source database
Jamie Zawinski None Lucid Inc.; Netscape Communications Netscape Navigator Web browser

Source: Softwaresecretweapons.com