Give a Developer a Hug

I am super excited about this month! A day is coming up in September that is better than Christmas, Thanksgiving and St. Patrick’s Day combined (I have a weird thing for green beer and leprechauns). This coming September 19th, everyone will be celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Okay, maybe you are not so excited. But you may have noticed a lot of these types of commemorative days coming out from nowhere. Particularly on social media, you will see things like National Ice Cream Day or National Garlic Day or World Tripe Day as trending hashtags on Twitter.

Specialty days have become a thriving industry. Helping to organize all of this is the Chase’s Calendar of Events, which has become the arbiter for officially recognized days. And of the tens of thousands of suggestions sent in every year, only a dozen or so are added to the calendar each year.

So what about programmers, do they not have their own day? Have they been left out of all the fun?

Of course not! On September 13th, some people will be celebrating Day of the Programmer, an international professional day celebrated on the 256th (hexadecimal 100th) day of each year (or the 12th during leap years). The number 256 was chosen because it’s the number of distinct values that can be represented with an eight-bit byte, a value we should all be familiar with. The number 256 is also the highest power of two that is less than 365, the number of days in a common year.

Not surprisingly, the origins of this day started in Russia back in 2002 by a couple of programmers. By 2009, it was officially recognized in Russia and later on recognized in Indonesia. Both countries also happen to have a ton of software developers and are heavy users of Stack Overflow.

No word yet if this day will become an official day of celebration anywhere else in the world. So on this Sept 13th, I recommend that if you are not a developer, find some developers that you work with and let them know how much you appreciate what they do. Who does not like to be appreciated?

But if you think about it, how often do we ignore the developers busting their behinds writing the code that launches our products on time? Do we really appreciate the engineers creating the technology that makes our lives easier? I read this post recently that brought home the point:

It’s just that engineers are typically the last people to hear if a launch is successful. Or why it’s successful. Or what that success will do for the company.

All developers ever hear are the complaints about what does not work. They are on the receiving end of bug reports, but rarely on the receiving end of customer praise. So give your developers a hug (metaphorically speaking of course) and show them the recognition and respect they deserve.

And if you are looking for other geeky holidays and days to celebrate with your team, here are just a few that I pulled out that could be interesting:

  • February 8 — Clean Out Your Computer Day (this is me like every week)
  • February 21 to 27 — Engineers Week
  • March 14 — Pi Day (lots of math related days like June 28th Tau Day, July 22th Pi Approximation Day, October 23th Mole Day and November 23th Fibonacci Day)
  • April 4 — Square Root Day (the next Square Root Day will not be until May 5, 2025)
  • May 4 — Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You!)
  • May 25 — Geek Pride Day
  • August 29 — Terminator / Judgement Day (Skynet becomes self-aware on the 29th)
  • September 20 — Software Freedom Day
  • September 28 — Ask a Stupid Question Day (how is not a Stack Overflow holiday?)
  • October 03 — Techie Appreciation Day
  • October 11 — Ada Lovelace Day (her actual birthday is December 10th)

How are you going to celebrate your fellow developers this year? Do you think there should be a recognized day for developers around the globe?

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Spent a few weeks in a region where lactose intolerance is a big deal …

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Thoughts on developers, digital transformation, startups, community building & engineering culture. Author is Mark Birch @ AWS 👉