In today’s post, we’ll share some of our favorite computer science quotes. Some are funny, some are serious, and many are somewhere in between. But all provide some insight into the complicated and exciting world of programming.
In this article, you'll hear from computer science pioneers such as Bill Gates, Reshma Saujani, and Satya Nadella about what they have learned through their experiences in coding. And when you're ready to pursue into your own computer science journey, explore our free computer science events with experts from Intel, Pixar, NASA, and more, as well as the best online computer science classes for kids.
Discover computer science quotes for students
Computer science is a vast and diverse field. Programming is way more than just code: programmers must design, create, solve problems, and think outside the box. These quotations from famous computer scientists and thinkers frame CS as a discipline that is incredibly flexible, occasionally frustrating, and constantly full of innovation.
- “The computer was born to solve problems that did not exist before.” — Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and former CEO, philanthropist
- “We need to understand that if we all work on inclusion together, it’s going to be faster, broader, better, and more thorough than anything we can do on our own.” - Ellen Pao, former Reddit CEO
- “Before software should be reusable, it should be usable.”— Ralph Johnson, Computer Scientist, UIUC
- “Simplicity, carried to the extreme, becomes elegance.”— Jon Franklin, computer scientist
- “The quality, relevance, and impact of the products and services output by the technology sector can only be improved by having the people who are building them be demographically representative of the people who are using them.” - Tracy Chou, current CEO of Block Party, ex Pinterest, Quora
- “A program is never less than 90% complete, and never more than 95% complete.”— Terry Baker, coder
- “Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counterclockwise.” - Grace Hopper, computer scientist and military admiral, one of the first to program the Harvard Mark I computer
- “Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid. Human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate, and brilliant. Together they are powerful beyond imagination.”- Albert Einstein, physicist
- “A good programmer is someone who always looks both ways before crossing a one-way street.” - Doug Linder, computer scientist
- “Most of the good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program.” — Linus Torvalds, software engineer, inventor of the Linux operating system
- “Design is where science and art break even.” - Robin Matthews, activist and professor
- “Everybody should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.” - Steve Jobs, former CEO and creator of Apple
- “Computers are good at following instructions, but not at reading your mind.” –Donald Knuth, the “father of analysis of algorithms”
- “The spread of computers and the Internet will put jobs in two categories. People who tell computers what to do, and people who are told by computers what to do.” –Marc Andreessen, Entrepreneur, inventor of Netscape
- “Coding, it's an endless process of trial and error, of trying to get the right command in the right place, with sometimes just a semicolon making the difference between success and failure. Code breaks and then it falls apart, and it often takes many, many tries until that magical moment when what you're trying to build comes to life.” - Reshma Saujani, Entrepreneur, founder of Girls Who Code
Funny computer science quotes
Not all thoughts on computer science are serious. Computer scientists often have their own, distinct sense of humor as you will see in the following quips.
- “Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.” – Martin Fowler, software engineer, object-oriented programming pioneer
- “Sometimes it pays to stay in bed on Monday, rather than spending the rest of the week debugging Monday’s code.” – Dan Salomon, computer scientist
- If carpenters made buildings the way programmers make programs, the first woodpecker to come along would destroy all of civilization. - Unknown Author
- “People think computers will keep them from making mistakes. They're wrong. With computers you make mistakes faster.”- Adam Osborne, computer scientist, inventor of the first portable computer
- If debugging is the process of removing software bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in. - Edsger Dijkstra, computer science pioneer
Computer science teacher quotes
With such a high demand for programming and algorithmic thinking, it is critical that we teach computer science thoughtfully and comprehensively. The following quotations demonstrate how some of our leading educators frame their thinking on the discipline.
- “Coding is today's language of creativity. All our children deserve a chance to become creators instead of consumers of computer science.” - Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College
- “I think everyone should get a little exposure to computer science because it really forces you to think in a slightly different way, and it's a skill that you can apply in life in general, whether you end up in computer science or not.” - Tony Hseih, Internet Entrepreneur, founder of Zappos
- “Code is going to continue to play a major role in defining our future. I think it’s crucial that young women learn to code as early as possible to ensure that we as young women have a voice and a stake in what the world looks like.” - Karlie Kloss, Model and Founder, Kode with Klossy Scholarship
- “Computer science empowers students to create the world of tomorrow.” - Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft
- “Students who study computer science unlock a world of opportunities for themselves.” - Dr. John Deasy, Former Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District
Use the best computer science quotes
We hope you enjoyed reading some of our favorite programming and computer science quotations today. Do you have children who are interested in becoming “creators instead of consumers of computer science?” If so, check out some of our free coding classes for kids to get started today.
Written by Sarah Rappaport, who graduated from Northwestern University with undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering and music. She's now working on a masters in data with Georgia Institute of Technology. She taught math and computer science with Teach for America for two years, and now works as a Systems Engineer.