Sometimes an inspirational quote really hits. We’re not talking about the corny trite ones (“Live, Laugh, Love” or “But first, coffee”), but the poignant and beautiful sayings that articulate our complex thoughts and emotions.
It’s often difficult to translate the zeros and ones of coding into words. But there are lots of quotes from notable technologists throughout history that reflect the developer’s experience and will renew your appreciation for your craft.
If you’re getting started learning to code or just need some New Year’s momentum, we’ve got some quotes for you that’ll feel like a pep talk. We gathered the most relatable and inspirational quotes about coding and technology from books, posts on X (formerly known as Twitter), interviews, and more. Some of these are about the frustration and payoff of learning a new skill, while others are about the essence of programming and problem solving. Read on, share your favorites on social media, hang them by your desk, or simply file them away for a rainy day.
“Curse of the self-taught: fear that you know only points here and there, islands of knowledge, and between them are chasms into which you will fall in humiliating failure, a fear that followed me from the first time I learned how to code.” – Ellen Ullman, Life in Code
“The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’” – Grace Hopper, computer pioneer and naval officer
“Programming isn’t about what you know; it’s about what you can figure out.” – Chris Pine, Learn to Program
“Code is read much more often than it is written.” – Guido Van Rossum, creator of Python
“You might not think that programmers are artists, but programming is an extremely creative profession. It’s logic-based creativity.” – John Romero, video game developer and programmer
“This was one of the best parts of being a coder, and an artist: the thrill of being in the middle of creating something delightful. It’s like the anticipation of eating freshly baked bread after its aroma fills the room.” – Dr. Joy Buolamwini, Unmasking AI
“Every great developer you know got there by solving problems they were unqualified to solve until they actually did it.” – Patrick McKenzie, software engineer
“The code you write makes you a programmer. The code you delete makes you a good one. The code you don’t have to write makes you a great one.” – Mario Fusco, Principal Software Engineer at Red Hat
“The more I study, the more insatiable do I feel my genius for it to be.” – Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer
“Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.” – Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder
“In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind, there are few.” – Shunryu Suzuki, Zen monk and teacher
“Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.” – Martin Fowler, Refactoring
“The function of good software is to make the complex appear to be simple.” – Grady Booch, Chief Scientist for Software Engineering at IBM Research
Find more coding inspiration
You can find coding motivation in lots of places. Check out this list of books written by women technologists, or read about the non-coding hobbies that inform developers’ work. Connecting with our community and meeting other people who are on a similar path is another great way to get a boost and feel reinvigorated to reach your coding goals.