While there are many ways to become fabulously rich, some are not worth pursuing. Take winning the lottery for instance, or finding out you are the only heir of wealthy distance relative! Those things rarely happen.

Programmers Who Became Millionaires

Such wild dreams often lead to a life of deprivation, rather than riches. A sure way to prosperity is learning a skill and using it to satisfy a national or global need. The advent of computers and the internet created such an opportunity.

As you might expect, the world’s top programmers were among those who took advantage of those needs, and made their fortunes – they still do. Interestingly, a majority were under 30 when they did it. Read on to find out who they are, and how they did it.

Programmers Who Became Millionaires

  1. Bill Gates
  2. Mark Zuckerberg
  3. Larry Page
  4. Sergey Brin
  5. Larry Ellison
  6. Satoshi Nakamoto
  7. Paul Allen
  8. Robert Nay
  9. Nick D’Aloisio
  10. Brian Wong
  11. Connor Zwick
  12. Gavin Andresen
  13. Riccardo Spagni
  14. Chad Mureta
  15. Sean Belnick
  16. Ding Lei
  17. Vitalik Buterin
  18. Pony Ma
  19. Judy Faulkner
  20. Rasmus Lerdorf

1. Bill Gates

You have possibly heard of Gates for quite some time, – but not so much of Paul Allen – they co-founded Microsoft together. In fact, Gates is now more famous for his wealth, than for his programming skills. While today there may be people with better coding skills than his, there was a time he was considered one of the top coders in the world.

After IBM announced it was creating a personal computer, Gates promised them a program that could help ordinary people use personal computers without coding skills. In those days, when you bought a computer, you also had to code your own Operating System to run it.

That was not a problem for big corporate organizations and government agencies, but it was going to be one for the ordinary buyers. Gates knew that, and he decided to offer a solution fast. When he was making that promise, he had not started coding Windows.

He was just “booking the opportunity.” Luckily, IBM had also not released their PC yet. By the time IBM was ready to test their PCs, Bill Gates had his program ready for a test run. That is how he became millionaire, and then the world’s richest person for quite a while.

2. Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg, the programmer, and FaceBook’s co-founder, has truly connected the world, in the true sense of making the world a global village. Riding on the power of the internet, Zuckerberg solved a common problem that graduates often faced, – keeping in touch after school.

Before we had email and smartphones, the only way to keep in touch for regular people was through landlines and snail-mail. As you may expect, it was not that hard to lose someone’s contacts permanently. Once Zuckerberg solved that problem, he struck gold. He went on to become a millionaire in his 20s, and later a billionaire.

3. Larry Page

Google was not the first search engine, however, when Larry Page, one of Google’s co-founders saw a gap in the way people accessed the internet, he knew he could change the world. Previously, search engines could just sell the first page listings to the top bidders.

They would then submit that listing to their visitors as the organic results for their search. Larry Page and Sergey Brin thought it was wrong to do so, and they decided to do something about. They wrote the best code in the world for their search engine, and the rest is history. That is how they founded Google; you can find the paper they published about their idea here.

4. Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin is not only the co-founder of Google, but he is also the brain behind most of its products. He is widely acclaimed as one of the top programmers in the world.

Brin and Larry Page are now among the richest and influential people in the world.  That is if you consider the power and influence of Google’s search engine technology on online businesses.

5. Larry Ellison

If you work in a production environment, then you may have heard of and used Oracle. A database program makes it easy to access and manage large volumes of information. Larry Ellison is among its founders, and he is as rich as they come.

Ellison used his coding skills to make Oracle the leading database software it is today. He still holds a leading role as a coder in the company, and perhaps in the world.

6. Satoshi Nakamoto

If the Bitcoin craze has not bitten you yet, you may not have heard of Satoshi Nakamoto. Nakamoto is the person or persons credited with coding the blockchain, the platform on which Bitcoin runs.

Though we do not know him in person, whoever they are, they are among the greatest programmers in the world. At the height of the Bitcoin craze, he/they were worth 19 billion.

As a coder, he/ she is definitely worth mentioning in this list. He/they saw a need to create a currency that is not subject to government control. It is now clear there are many people who needed a digital of currency.

7. Paul Allen

He co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, although we do not hear much of him when people talk of Microsoft. He is a programmer, and did some coding for Microsoft, earning him his shares, which made him a millionaire shortly afterward. Today, he is among the richest programmers in the world.

8. Robert Nay

Well, this list needs to mention a young programmer who still making his first few millions. In 2010, Robert Nay coded a free app for iPhone users that turned out to be a huge success, even though he was just 14 years. The exposure he got enabled him to launch his own brand – Nay Games. At the time, he was among the youngest top programmers in the world.

9. Nick D’Aloisio

Nick from the UK, is a programmer that was born in 1994. He coded Summly, an iOS app that can read a large batch of text, and then summarizes it into characters lengths of 1000, 500, or 140. Apple liked the app and featured it on the App store. The exposure allowed him to get funding for other apps, and today he is a millionaire.

10. Brian Wong

Brian Wong is a Canadian programmer born in 1991. In 2010, while working with two other colleagues – Amadeus Demarzi and Courtney Guertin – they founded Kiip. The app allows players to get real-world rewards. The app had attracted over $15 million in funding by 2012.

11. Connor Zwick

Connor Zwick began exploring Javascript in middle school and soon advanced to a stage where he was composing online tutorials for many blogs.

He dropped out of Harvard and started developing on the Coco Controller. The project is actually a game controller that works as a tool for mobile phones. Zwick also exhibited an award-winning text to speech application that works with more than 23 different languages. He also developed the Flashcards+ app that allows learners to create their own training cards or use data to read.

12. Gavin Andresen

Gavin is one of the first bitcoin developers. He played a significant role in launching the modern cryptocurrency to the world. There are many rumors connected with his identity. Bitcoin is deemed the idea of Satoshi Nakamoto, but it was Andresen who transformed it into the leading cryptocurrency.

Occasionally stories are learned that the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto is Andresen, but he refuses them strongly. Andresen maintains that he has been in contact with the bitcoin’s creator. In late 2010, Nakamoto appointed him as his replacement. Andresen became the main programmer of bitcoin’s blockchain technology.

13. Riccardo Spagni

Riccardo Spagni, also known as ‘fluffypony’, became the front programmer of one of the world’s most notable cryptocurrencies known as Monero. Monero is a privacy coin. After the White Paper was published, it was chosen to carry Monero hard fork because the network’s owner made various decisions that the programming team did not support.

With an educational knowledge in informatics and logistics. Riccardo has many years of software development experience. He became associated with several cryptocurrency-related projects, and in 2017 he founded Globee, a multi-currency payment processor.

14. Chad Mureta

Chad Mureta was a real estate agent who was coming back from a sports game when he met with an accident. When he was hospitalized, the idea of the Fingerprint Security Pro app came to his mind. Chad saw the doctors at the hospital scanning through his phone and imagined security. During his free time at the hospital, he started downloading various apps, learning what was causing people to download them.

Two months after starting his own business, one of his apps equated to $30,000/month. The revenue of the business later touched almost $120,000 in just one month. In two years, he founded and sold three app firms, which value in millions.

15. Sean Belnick

Sean Belnick set a drive for e-commerce trading Pokemon cards online at eBay when he was just 14. After learning HTML, he started assisting his stepfather to manage the website for his furniture store.
Encouraged by his stepfather’s store, Belnick developed the concept for Bizchairs.com, which sells office chairs.

He began by fixing an opening investment of $500 to purchase some products and he was operating his company out of his room! In the year 2004, he went into his first shed and by 2009, he had a huge warehouse area from the initial small warehouse.

16. Ding Lei

William Ding is the CEO of one of the biggest mobile games business called Netease. After finishing a B.S. degree in technology from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Ding worked as an engineer in the state department. After that, he worked at Sybase in Guangzhou. After working there for some days Ding launched his own company.

The company first developed Internet applied software. The e-mail system launched by Netease immediately gained popularity. William Ding then designed and led the company into a new path by launching a search engine and microblogging on NetEase.

17. Vitalik Buterin

Vitalik Buterin is a popular name in the world of cryptocurrency. Buterin is the founder of the Ethereum platform. He has been associated with the Bitcoin community as a contributor and developer. He also launched the famous Bitcoin Magazine.

As a passionate member and contributor to various Bitcoin associations, Buterin often suggested creating a more changeable version of the Bitcoin core system that would promote the swift production of a decentralized application.

18. Pony Ma

Pony Ma is the founder of Tencent, one of the largest gaming companies.  He and his coding classmates together founded Tencent. The first outcome OICQ which is an instantaneous messaging service was coded and developed by Pony Ma, and it became a huge success.

This China-based company listed income of 325 billion yuan (almost $50 billion) in the last 3 years. Its mobile app WeChat has more than 1.2 billion users.

19. Judy Faulkner

Judy Faulkner is one of the most powerful women in the healthcare industry. She was born in August 1943 in New Jersey. She attended Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, where she completed her degree in mathematics. After that, where she completed her master’s in computer science from the University of Wisconsin.

In 1979, Faulkner established a Human Services Computing service called Epic Systems. It was reasonably small upon conception and observed a gradual but constant growth during the initial years. Epic Systems became huge when Faulkner delivered an electronic medical record software called EpicCare. EpicCare was a Windows operating based software.

20. Rasmus Lerdorf

Rasmus is also called the father of PHP programming. He was born in Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland. He completed his education in Canada, passing from the University of Waterloo in the year 1993. He earned a Bachelor of Applied Science in Systems Design Engineering.

In 1995, he published the first version of the PHP language. This was the beginning of a web design revolution. Today, PHP is important in almost every web development application. Rasmus Lerdorf is a scout in programming and his knowledge has transformed the appearance of web development.

20 Greatest Programmers

That winds up our list of the 20 best programmers in the world who made millions, and later on for some of them, billions. It is clear from the list, that learning programming skills can “open doors” of success for you. We hope that you found it engaging and inspiring.