What is the Right Age to Launch Your Programming Language?

Programming languages are truly incredible. They allow us to shape the world and our ways of using it, but have you ever wondered how old the developers behind these languages were when they created their “babies”?

Take, for example, the good old Dennis Ritchie, the creator of the famous C language. Well, he had just blown out his 31st birthday candle when he created this monumental language in 1972. Not bad, right?

And JSON, that ultra-popular data format? Its inventor, Douglas Crockford, was already 46 years old when he released it in 2001. It goes to show, there’s no age limit for innovation! And what about Kenneth E. Iverson, who created the J language at the age of 70 in 1993? Respect to the elder!

Moreover, if we look at the statistics more closely, we realize that the average age for creating a programming language is 37.5 years. With a record at 70 years old for Kenneth E. Iverson with J and a young prodigy who made his mark at 16. Guess who it is? Drum roll…

Yes, it’s Aaron Swartz! This little genius, who we sorely miss, created the atx format in 2002 at an age when most of us were still struggling with quadratic equations. It was already impressive, and he continued to innovate, later working with John Gruber to create the Markdown format in 2004.

Speaking of young prodigies, did you know that Rasmus Lerdorf created PHP at just 27 years old in 1995? Yes, while some were still trying to find their path in sociology, he was already changing the face of web development!

Conversely, look at TypeScript (2012, Anders Hejlsberg, 52 years old), Go (2009, Rob Pike, Ken Thompson, and Robert Griesemer, averaging 53 years old), and Clojure (2007, Rich Hickey, 48 years old); these languages were crafted by well-experienced individuals in their forties and fifties! Proof that experience is valuable.

Let’s also note that Brendan Eich created JavaScript at 34 in 1995, Guido van Rossum developed Python at 35 in 1991, and Tim Berners-Lee invented HTML at 36 the same year. As for Richard Stallman, he designed Emacs Lisp at 32 in 1985, and before that, Emacs at the age of 23 in 1976.

In short, if you dream of creating your own programming language or data format, whether you’re approaching your forties or you’re a youngster fresh out of school, there’s no age limit to start. It’s fun and rewarding, and who knows, maybe your little monster will become the next C or JavaScript!

Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I'm the creator and editor-in-chief of Tech To Geek. Through this little blog, I share with you my passion for technology. I specialize in various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android, focusing on providing practical and valuable guides.

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