Why software developers are like the Queen

Sadly, programmers don’t typically get to witness the Trooping of the Colour in their line of work or have someone bring them tea at the ring of a bell (unless it’s via Deliveroo), but there is one key similarity between the two careers: both are celebrated on two days of the year.

We are familiar with the Queen and her two birthdays - her actual date of birth in April and the official public celebration in June - but did you know that International Programmers’ Day is also celebrated on two separate dates? The first date, 7th January, has been observed annually since 2007, but another date, 13th September has also grown in popularity and has officially been recognised by Russia since 2009.

13th September, or 12th September in a leap year, has been chosen for this occasion as it is the 256th day of the year. Why the 256th day? Well...

  • A byte is the most common base unit in a computer, which equals 256
  • 256 is the highest power of two* that is less than 365 (the number of days of the year)
  • The number 256 is also “zenzizenzizenic” for the number two - the square of the square of a number’s square, i.e. its eighth power
  • When translated to binary code, the day reads 100000000

*two itself being a magic number, as all signals in a computer can only have two different binary values, 0 (off) and 1 (on). One piece of information, which can store either 0 or 1, is called a bit.

So, in summary, 256 is a pretty special number in computing. It makes sense that International Programmers’ Day should increasingly be celebrated on this day of the year. And the 7th January? Well, we’re unsure why this first date was chosen, but no one is going to turn down a second day of celebrations! The Queen can relate.

How can you celebrate International Programmers’ Day?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Say thanks to any programmer or software developer you know. After all, they contribute towards the development of tools, software, and apps that we are all using on a daily basis in today’s digital world. It’s thanks to programmers that we can order our shopping at midnight or watch Netflix on a train.
  2. Take a beginner’s coding course on Codecademy, Coursera, or Future Learn and learn a new skill.
  3. Find a good programming meme on Reddit and share it with a coder to give them a chuckle.
  4. Make a cake. For bonus points, share it with a developer.
  5. Give a programmer a problem to solve. You’ll literally make their day.
  6. Be like the Queen and enjoy the benefits of a green screen.

If you’re missing a developer from your life, then drop us a line at Switchplane. We have a directly employed team of developers who build custom software for clients all over the UK.

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