What Is Day of the Programmer?

Day of the Programmer celebrates the accomplishments of programmers. Learn how you can participate in Programmers' Day.

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by Christina Payne

Updated August 24, 2022

Edited by Tyler Epps
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What Is Day of the Programmer?


Day of the Programmer is an international holiday celebrating programmers' contributions to society. The first language for programming was developed in 1883 by Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage. Currently, over 300 coding languages exist, though computer programmers don't need to know all of them to do their jobs.

Read on to learn more about Day of the Programmer and its history below. This article also discusses ways to celebrate Day of the Programmer — either individually or with friends.

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What Is Programmers' Day? When Is It?

Day of the Programmer takes place on September 13 (or September 12 during a leap year). The holiday occurs on the 256th day of the year. This day is chosen because 256 is the highest power of two that is less than 365 (i.e., the number of days in a typical year).

Additionally, 256 is the number of distinct values represented by an eight-bit byte. A byte is a unit of digital information. Historically, a byte represented the number of binary digits — or "bits" — used to encode a single character of text in a computer. Bytes are typically the smallest unit of memory in computer architectures.

Day of the Programmer, also known as International Programmers' Day, takes place on the same day as National Programmers' Day in the U.S.

The History Of Programmers' Day: How Did It Begin?

Day of the Programmer was officially founded in 2009 when President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia signed a bill in honor of computer programmers. The holiday was initially proposed by Russian programmers Valentin Balt and Michael Cherviakov of Parallel Technologies in 2002.

Many members of the international community accepted Day of the Programmer as an international holiday shortly thereafter. The holiday celebrates the contributions of programmers around the world.

Almost every major industry has benefited from advances in programming, including medicine, finance, and education. Programming also touches many aspects of everyday life, from our smartphones to our modes of transportation.

What Are Some Ways to Celebrate Programmers' Day?

Some tech companies celebrate Programmers' Day by encouraging employees to post on social media about their programming accomplishments or by recognizing coworkers for their hard work.

Tech companies may also make contributions to nonprofits that focus on building tech skills and providing job navigation support. Professionals can choose to celebrate with their company or on their own. The following list describes a few ways you can celebrate Programmers' Day:

Why Is Programmers' Day Important?

Programming is a critical part of almost every major industry. International Programmers' Day celebrates these accomplishments and the people who help make them happen.

The work that programmers do often happens behind the scenes, and this holiday helps bring this work to the forefront. Day of the Programmer also gives tech professionals an opportunity to recognize the personal accomplishments of fellow programmers, coworkers, and friends in the industry.

Programming professionals can reach out on social media or in person to show their appreciation for the hard work that goes into programming.

Frequently Asked Questions About Programmers' Day

Who founded Programmers' Day?

Day of the Programmer was founded by President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia in 2009 when he signed a bill in honor of computer programmers. The idea for the holiday came from Russian programmers Valentin Balt and Michael Cherviakov in 2002.

Many countries in the international community accepted September 13 as Programmers' Day shortly after the holiday was recognized in Russia.

Why is Programmers' Day on the 256th day of the year?

September 13 is the 256th day of the year. The number 256 is the highest power of two that is less than 365 (i.e., the number of days in a year), and it is also the number of distinct values represented by an eight-bit byte.

Is Programmers' Day an official holiday?

Day of the Programmer is accepted as an official holiday in some countries, but not in the U.S. Many countries in the international community celebrate Programmers' Day on September 13.

Professionals can celebrate Programmers' Day on their own or with their company. Many tech companies choose to celebrate Day of the Programmer by recognizing the accomplishments of employees or promoting coding education in the community.

Feature Image: Maskot / Maskot / Getty Images

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