Top 15 Books That Inspire Coding

Reading can be inspiring. It’s no coincidence that almost all of the high achievers are also avid readers. And by that I don’t mean speed readers they usually curate a short list that closely match their interest areas and they read the best or the most original.

I personally know many people that have been inspired while reading and I myself experienced the phenomenon while reading many books including Masters of Doom from this list.

John Romero working on Quake next to John Carmack's computer

Photo Credit: John Romero

So, since a carefully picked book can be the beginning of something amazing we’ve created a carefully curated list that might inspire computer programmers, coding enthusiasts, coding professionals, newbies and veterans alike.

I’ll try to focus in fiction or non-technical books. And as usual only bringing you the best!:

1- Masters of Doom (An epic tech story)

This book deserves the top in this list. It does an exceptional job capturing the journey of a developer team and especially two partners with the same name: John Carmack and John Romero.

There is every delicious ingredient in it that makes a tech related story enjoyable and inspirational: computers, friendship, coding, gaming, development, design, growth, success, romance, drama, failure. etc. etc.

The true-story book investigates the idea that the journey of Johns, their team and game development company id Software transformed the pop culture and pioneered the game industry with inventive ways.

David Kushner did a phenomenal job with this book and he totally nailed it after 5 years of research on the topic. Don’t just take our words for it, accuracy of the book is confirmed by John Romero on Quora. Both main characters of the book are alive and active today. In fact John Romero is known to be an active Quoran frequently contributing to relevant discussions there.

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture is also recommended by serious tech leaders such as StackExchange founder Jeff Atwood. He has an extensive post about this book on his blog, it’s a great read and you can check it out here.

Jeff Atwood himself is very motivational and inspirational especially in the computer programming scene. Similar to Two Johns he pioneered and transformed the coding industry. So you might wanna benefit from check out his articles on his blog. He always writes about such cool stuff.

Masters of Doom

Anyway, moving on.

2- Snow Crash (A Neal Stephenson Novel)

Yet another classic. Snow Crash is very likely to blow your mind and leave you impressed for a lifetime. Some say Snow Crash to books is what Matrix is to movies.

Philosophy, theology, cognition, relations and everything revolving around computers. Also, it doesn’t hurt that it’s set in an interesting environment such as future America.

If you’re looking for a fictional book around computers and coding, it probably doesn’t get better than this.

Author Neal Stephenson is coming from family background of scientists and mathematicians and he studied physics and geography himself. Also serving Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space company you can imagine where the depth in his work coming from.

We’re proud to introduce such high quality and relevant material to our audience. If you haven’t read Snow Crash yet, grab yourself a copy and enjoy the ride.

Snow Crash

Author Neal Stephenson: Perfect blend between scientist and literaturist

3- Neuromancer (The book that influenced Matrix)

A book from one of the founding fathers of cyberpunk literary genre, we’re talking about another pioneer that likely changed the course of history here.

William Gibson now aged 72 and living in South Carolina started exploring computer related futuristic dystopia before it was cool, in fact probably before it existed. Today we’re blessed with a plethora of productions in this genre from Matrix to numerous cool indies on Netflix.

In fact Matrix was heavily inspired by Neuromancer which tells us hints about how something like Matrix came to existence at all.

William Gibson is a real literary master for creating something like Neuromancer that became the Bible of Cyberpunk genre.

Many people think if you’ve seen the Matrix movies before this will create an even crazier than expected experience since you can visualize and elaborate on the imaginary Neuromancer scenes.

Also, if your mother tongue is not English you might want to get ready for a heavy literature product that mandates attention to detail and descriptions, some of the factors that make the book so legendary. You can still have a great time by aligning your expectations or reading/watching some more primer material on the internet about the book.

As legendary and as visionary as it all is this quote from the author might give you a hint about the book and if you decide it’s heavier than you require right now that’s perfectly fine too.

In an era where Elon Musk’s Neuralink venture recently announced and demonstrated successful brain interface on pigs and heavy discussions about ideas like “transhumanism”, “becoming cyborg” and “posthuman” are taking place this classic is definitely inspirational for any programmer. Although if you’re looking for something more practically related to coding we have those suggestions down the list as well. Here is a quote form the book:

“The matrix has its roots in primitive arcade games… Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts… A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data.”

Neuromancer Vintage Book Cover

ps: Neuromancer movie is in development process right now. To be directed by Tim Miller who also directed Deadpool, Neuromancer will be a huge test for the famous film director since it’s a cult with global following and very high expectations. The film is expected to come out sometime in 2021. Either way, we’re in a treat (or disappointment) so it’s a great sci-fi classic to read in 2020-2021.

Since, the book inspired and influenced Matrix movies, and Matrix is such an insane production at every level from Cast to Directing to Animations to Soundtrack, the two will definitely be compared at some point but at film level it’s really hard to compete with Matrix. We will see.

Here is the IMDB page for the future production.

4- Prey (Jurassic Park, Replace Dinosaurs with AI)

Does the idea of reading an Artificial Intelligence preditor-prey type sci-fi from the author of Jurassic Park interest you? Then keep reading.

Prey is a great novel about micro controllers going wild in a bad way. It touches multiple science disciplines such as material engineering, nanotechnology, algorithms and computer science.

As a cool side-effect you will be educated to be more cautious about dangerous tech which might be something that we all need in this era of super fast pace tech development in civilization history.

Michael Crichton takes us on a tech adventure on Nevada desert.

5- The Pragmatic Programmer (High Standard Programming Habits)

Here is a non-fiction book that directly elaborates on coding practices. This book has fantastic tips about stepping-up your professional coding game. It’s something that everyone could benefit from to gradually become a great programmer. Potentially boring but useful.

However, let’s talk about the paradox the book brings about. The concepts can seem trivial or boring to the beginner coder and make things more complicated. So beginners will likely have a hard time internalizing the concepts included here however great they are. Advanced programmers with experience will likely find most of the points provided in the book “old news”, things they’ve already learned through experience.

Still, the book is so well written and the points are so valid that The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master remains a classic in the programming world. Maybe take it as a reference book that you might take a look to see if something attracts your attention every now and then in your programming journey.

6- Ender's Game (Another Techy Classic)

Another brilliant book Ender’s Game is seriously creative and innovative. Don’t wanna give too many spoilers but just know that main characters are super intelligent children with children’s naivete.

Ender’s Game is another very unique classic that will broaden your horizons. Also as a bonus everything revolves around computers hence it’s placement in our restrictive list.

Ender’s Game was made a movie and received overall very good criticism with around 6.6/10 point on IMDB. If you like movies based on books then it might be a must-watch for you. You can check out the movie here.

7- The Phoenix Project (An IT Novel)

7- The Phoenix Project

Would you believe it if we told you there is a novel about IT operations in a company? It’s The Phoenix Project.

Although it might disappoint from the literary perspective The Phoenix Project is a brilliant book for IT crowd.

Delivery, deadlines, pressure, innovation, automation, software development, IT leadership and it’s not even non-fiction. Wow.

In this day and age it’s probably something everyone should read, IT or non-IT. But as a coder it’s definitely very appealing since some of the topics such as automation, software development and IT management are great topics to discover for most programmers.

The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project IT Book

8- Microserfs (Irony, reality, humor, tech, programming)

Microserfs is a sarcastic fiction work about coder lifestyle. It doesn’t necessarily apply to every experience or person however, there are so many brilliant tech world references that you might feel you were left out before reading Microserfs.

Coding is a consuming field and we really get so absorbed in the computer world. This book points out these realities in genius ways. It probably won’t make you change your mind or put you off the coding track so enjoy the original Silicon Valley lifestyle that’s portrayed with excellent humor.


9- The Design of the UNIX OS (Operating System Fever)

A masterpiece if you’re into operating systems or you might get into them after reading this book.

It’s a well written tech oriented book that really makes one appreciate what’s going on in the computers we use for hours every single day. It will give you an opportunity to get your foot in the door of operating systems from so many interesting aspects such as design, structure, user, etc.

With a philosophical twist, this UNIX system break down offers a very interesting read for the right audience.

The Design of the UNIX OS

10- Hackers and Painters (Big Ideas From the Computer Age)

In this book, Paul Graham touches very interesting subjects in coding.

How to make wealth through coding, why coders should think and act more like painters, good and bad attitudes regarding coding are surely very interesting and thought provoking dimensions in such a technical profession.

I think coders (and scientists and engineers alike) too often face the risks of becoming way too mechanical during the process of technical formation that takes years. So, a book like this is extremely welcome to excite a coder’s thoughts.

With that being said, there are some obselete/irrelevant views of point that you can and probably should navigate around while reading this book. So, like a productive bee feel free to suck the nectar parts of this book and hop onto the next flower.

Paul Graham's Hackers and Painters

11- The Emperor's New Mind (Computers, minds and physic laws)

Wow! So, do you fantasize about AI at human intelligence level one day? Something that’s self aware and relates to its environment the way we humans do.

Then my friend, this book might be highly interesting to you. Written by famous modern day mathematician Roger Penrose who by the way worked alongside with Stephen Hawking it’s not necessarily an easy read for everyone.

However, substance in this book is the frontier knowledge about understanding intelligence and will surely help any aspiring AI engineer/coder acquire sophisticated perspectives on the matter.

Penrose interestingly suggests we need laws deeper than quantum mechanics to understand the way mind works. From the book’s description:

He is among a growing number of physicists who think Einstein wasn’t being stubborn when he said his “little finger” told him that quantum mechanics is incomplete, and he concludes that laws even deeper than quantum mechanics are essential for the operation of a mind. To support this contention, Penrose takes the reader on a dazzling tour that covers such topics as complex numbers, Turing machines, complexity theory, quantum mechanics, formal systems, Godel undecidability, phase spaces, Hilbert spaces, black holes, white holes, Hawking radiation, entropy, quasicrystals, the structure of the brain, and scores of other subjects.

It’s crazy to think about how little we understand what we carry between our ears, brain, and how it works. Maybe we should talk more about this parallel to the AI aspirations in tech society today.

The Emperor's New Mind

12- Computer Networks (Bible for Networks)

12- Computer Networks

As the name suggests this book is about computer networks. The thing is it does what it does best. If you’d like to understand computer networks and/or acquire deep level knowledge in this topic, this book is almost a must.

Author Andrew S. Tanenbaum is a Physics Phd yet he manages to write in super clear language while elaborating a highly technical topic to a very complete level.

13- The Manga Guide to Databases (Princesses, fruits and databases)

As soon as you start to understand Programming in a deeper sense you start to realize the importance of databases and knowing how to use them.

Wheter it’s finance, sports, medicine, science, research, game development or social media, there is always data involved. Database is where you keep them in an insanely efficient manner. Databases have their own syntax but luckily you don’t have to learn a whole lot, it’s pretty straightforward and repetitive. Design of databases is where you need expertise which comes with some database practice.

Anyway if you’re interested in databases, this cute book by Mana Takahashi does a great job teaching them with the assistance of Anime characters. Who said databases have to be colorless and boring.

It’s a genius approach not only in a programming and computer science sense but also from the pedagogy perspective.

The Manga Guide to Databases

The Manga Guide to Databases

14- Clean Code (A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship)

If you get into corporate level software development you might want to check out this bestseller in software testing. This will be a smart move for people who are looking to be employed at tech companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Uber, Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, Amazon etc. as well since high quality coding has a crucial impact in the running and continuous development of these companies on a daily basis.

15- Quantum Computing Since Democritus (Edge-cutting & Thought-provoking)

So, here is something seriously intellectual. Author Scott Aaronson is a Quantum Computing Theorist. In this book he discusses and elaborates topics like complexity, logic, quantum computing, quantum states, cryptography and time travel.

This book should be a treat to anyone looking for some serious knowledge that might inspire big futuristic ideas. You might need a STEM background either by education or practice to be able to fully grasp the concepts discussed here although author is known to employ an entertaining and informal language.

Well, we hope you enjoyed the list and discovered something new. Books inspire and literally change people’s lives. Almost every self-made and highly accomplished person turns out to be a heavy book reader. So, there is definitely a message there.

Happy reading!

We have a similarly well-crafted coding music list if you’d like to discover interesting music ideas as well.

Please share this page if you found it useful.

Music Ideas for Programming / Coding (Timeless Music)

As programming becomes more and more mainstream, I’m sure there will be a need for more lifestyle ideas in this space. You can consider this article as one of them.

I’d like to share some of the music ideas that I was able to gather for anyone who wants to explore music for coding. I can almost promise you, you will never run out of music ideas when coding after reading this extensive article. 

I say coding but I can imagine a broad range of professionals benefiting from these ideas such as financiers, quants, doctors, research analysts, scientists, business developers, accountants, entrepreneurs, IB analysts, designers, engineers. etc.

Obviously, music taste can be personal. But here are some tracks that will likely inspire most tech oriented people. You can also use some of the other tracks for relaxation or uplifting your mood as well as just plain vanilla concentration. Music really does help and is known to have an effect on the brain.

The list will be as diversified as possible but it’s impossible to cover everything. I think it’s really distracting to listen to music with lyrics while doing creative or technical work which coding usually is both of those.

Synthwave and Cyberpunk (Space & AI Vibes)

Ex Machina Film Poster

These incredible futuristic tracks are guaranteed to wake up the deadest coder spirit inside you.

Carbon Based Lifeforms – Derelicts Incredible for programming

Bunsen Burner – Ex Machina (2015) Wow.. Just wow.

Illum Sphere – Sleeprunner (2013) Legend.

Solar Fields – Insum (2005)

Rob Dougan – Clubbed To Death – Oh yeah. Give me some Matrix.

Mega Drive – Converter

Moby – Extreme Ways

Lost Years – Converter

Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow – Ava

Deadmau5 – Alone With You

The Midnight – Nocturnal

FatboySlim – Right Here Right Now

Lorn – Acid Rain

Mega Drive – Dataline

The Martian OST – Work The Problem

Cliff Martinez – First Sleep

Dying Light – Horizon

Germind – Consciousness

Mr. Robot – Soundtracks

The Social Network – Soundtrack OST

Blade Runner 2049 – Soundtracks OST

Inception – Soundtracks

Altered Carbon – Soundtracks

Dystopia – A Synthwave Mix – Another Masterpiece

Gone Girl – Ambient Mix

Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch – Sea Wall Extended (Long)

Drive – Soundtrack OST – Hella Cool

Ad Astra – Soundtracks

System Shock 2 – Engineering

TimeCop1983 – It was only a dream

Deus Ex – Highland Park Ambient

Mirror’s Edge – Kate

Game Soundtracks (Best kind of nostalgia ever)

Look, if you’re a 90s kid or a millenial or a Gen-Z, chances are high that you’ve played with fantastic soundtracks. 

Furthermore, game music is usually specifically oriented to make you concentrate on missions, so they are perfect for flow state, they have that hypnotic quality.

If you’re looking for game soundtrack from 70s or 80s, that’s a pretty premature era for game music and I’m not sure if anyone would like to listen to 8-bit Super Mario music for hours. However, even for that there might be some options 😉

Here is a fabulous list to lift your spirit up without distracting you. Subconscious and uplifting designed for concentration. Best combination ever so you can focus on creative work.

Cyberpunk 2077 – Trailer Soundtrack – Really great.

Fifa 98 – Blur

France 98 – Tubthumping

Fifa 2002 – Gorillaz

Fifa 2010 – Wavin’ Flag

Half Life 2 – CP Violation

Need for Speed 1 – Get Low

Need for Speed 2- Riders On the Storm

Rollcage – Soundtrack OST

Simcity Soundtrack OST – Perfect tunes to exist to.

Hotline Miami – Soundtrack Playlist: Really nice. I mean mad cool!

Assassin’s Creed Revelations – Soundtrack OST: This has really really cool medieval vibes.

Civilization – Soundtrack OST

The Witcher 3 – Soundtrack OST: kindda emotional

Portal – Self Esteem Fund

GTA V – Soundtrack Playlist: West Coast Heist Vibes. Good thing you chose a legal hustle in real life.

Way Older Games: Chiptune Music (8-bit, 16-bit music, Retro Samples): If you really insist in listening to this we won’t stop you either. You do you.

Attention: Some of these tunes are entering the lyrical music territory so that sort of conflicts with the logic we previously presented. However, most of them still have no or very little lyrics and, few of them are extremely uplifting and nostalgic despite the lyrics. So we decided to include a couple like that anyway.

Jazz Cafe (Easy, modern tunes)

Jazz and subgenres such as Cafe Jazz can be incredible companion while coding Python and give you that cafe/bar feeling in case you’re stuck home or somewhere without those kind of vibes.
Serious jazz music can be tiring and especially if it has lyrics it will likely get in your head if you’re like me! But Jazz Cafe is a fantastic laid back alternative that won’t distract much and still make you concentrate and feel happy.
Luckily there is an active channel on Youtube that streams live Jazz Cafe on the daily. Cafe Music BGM Channel. Check it out. They even got multiple live streams going on at the same time such as Chill Jazz, Work Jazz, Friday Jazz variations. We really are living in abundance in modern days.

Chill Hop & Lo-fi (Cool kid music)

If you’re a hip hop fan you might crave for a nice track and it’s great but before you know it you might be checking out lyrics and background stories and then binge watching Tupac – Biggie documentaries on Netflix and coding progress will take a hit. (no pun intended)

Star Trek Meme for Programming Crowd

But there is Chill hop. This genre has crazy cool hiphop vibes and they might take you to a New York park while you’re coding, again without distraction!

Here are a couple of fantastic channels that stream a lot. But feel free to do your own Youtube search.

Hillhop Music Channel

Fantastic Music Channel

Note: If you’re new to Chillhop and Lofi, the mood can vary a lot in these genres so if it’s a sleepy tune make sure to mix things up and find an upbeat track or stream just in case you have a hard time staying awake.

Darkwave, Dark Synth, Postpunk, Goth, Coldwave (Dark Music)

Dark Tunes can be inspiring too depending on the mood/timing. It’s good to mix things up anyway. There are different genres with subtle or big differences. Here are some very original alternatives, get ready for some bizarre stuff:

World Music with lyrics (Oh, but wait!)

Here is another creative idea.

If the lyrics are in a language you find cool but don’t understand well or at all then it will just blend in with the music yet you will still feel the presence of another human being.

Coding can be lonely. Which is why you might prefer music with lyrics which can be distracting in your native tongue. Listening in a language you like but don’t really understand can give you comfort and help you focus at the same time!

So just discover some artists in a language other than your native tongue. Here are some ideas but feel free to explore there are so many original options.

For English speakers: (in no order, shout-out to all of our visitors from every single country in the world).

Also, excuse us if we made a cheesy selection for your country this is merely just to give people some ideas.

Latin Music: Buenos Vista Social Club

Indian Music: Old Hindi Collection (Super cool Himalaya vibes)

French Music: Noir Desir

Israel: Ishay Ribo

Bollywood: Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik (They seem in love, lol)

German: CRO

Algerian: Cheb Mami

Swedish: Laleh

Danish: TopGunn

Turkish: AYA

Japanese: Aimer

Korean: JYP Entertainment

Arabic: Amr Diab

African Vibes: Zamina (catchiest song ever!)

Netherlands: Maan

Brazil: Kaoma

Mongolia: Traditional Throat Singing

Note: If you’re reading this page through translation you may also wanna opt in for music with English lyrics and not find it distracting.

Ambient - Lounge (Elevator Music)

You wouldn’t listen elevator music in a concert but it turns out to be pretty zen in certain occasions, such as, riding the elevator and maybe through concentrated work like coding. It brings hours of bliss and not a single vocal.

Elon Musk Elevator Music Tweet

There are so many options but Ben Pfeifer has a pretty cool Channel that’s worthy to check out. His footage are insane.

Ben Pfeifer – Lounge Music

Chill 2 Chill – Summer Mix 2019

Paris Cafe Ambience – Cafe de Paris – Voulez vous un cafe?

Parisian Patisserie Ambiance with Croissant

If you still run out of ideas after this list, you can always refer to

  • Classical,
  • Contemporary Classical,
  • Dubstep,
  • Tribal Tunes etc.

Alright. That’s it! We hope you liked the list and took away some new ideas. Focused work is exponentially fruitful. And well chosen music can increase your stamina and focus. Just because something’s labeled study music or coding music doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for that purpose for everyone. So this list should help you decide for your own coding, studying or work music.

Enjoy yourself! While coding. 🙂

24 Movies That Inspire Coding

You know the memes about how Hollywood sees coding vs reality? I think these jokes are becoming sort of obsolete because everybody is starting to have a pretty good idea about coding. This is great.

Nevertheless, you can still enjoy numerous Hollywood classics with amazing acting or visual effects.

We prepared a pretty complete list that consist of many cool films.

Primary list includes films directly related to coding with scenes, plot, background, main characters etc.

Majority of them are also very inspirational movies. While some has incredible Hollywoodesque scenes that impress others are based on true stories that really inspire.

Here goes the list with no specific order:

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Primary List (Directly Coding Related)

1- Swordfish (2001) – Great Hollywood action flick

Director Dominic Sena, also being a cinematographer did a pretty good job directing this famous Hollywood flick. Besides an iconic hacking scene, it has a cast which consists of major stars like John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry who are all doing a phenomenal job playing their characters. If you’re looking for an action movie with a hacker main character this is your movie.

2- The Social Network (2010) – Entrepreneurship and Ivy Ways

This is a great movie trying to paint a picture of Facebook’s early stage development process. Although Mark Zuckerberg low key mentioned his discontent with the main character scripted after Mark’s real life experiences with Facebook, Jesse Eisenberg is absolutely slaying it with his performance in this movie. Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake are delivering their supportive roles quite well as well and overall we have a moving and inspirational movie with lots of references to coding, algorithms, a major, high-growth tech startup, Ivy League environment and Venture Capital experience of the founder(s). Inspirational? Yes!

Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and John Travolta are absolutely killing it in this successful Hollywood production: Swordfish

3- The Internet’s Own Boy : The Story of Aaron Swart (2014) – Coding, tech and cyber-activism

A young Brooklynite Aaron Swartz lived a phenomenally accomplished life as a programmer who also co-founded Reddit. But, before everything he was a heavyweight cyber-activist first. He co-developed technologies like Creative Commons, RSS and for Python.

In this high quality documentary you can expect a breathtaking story that involves lots of coding lingo and unfortunately a tragic end.

The Internet’s Own Boy also is a reminder on the importance of taking care of ourselves mentally and physically and also maybe the importance of having a good support system through meaningful, loving human connections. These can be common struggles in many high performance professions including coding and tech.

4- Who Am I : No System is Safe (2014)From Germany with Love

Original name: Who Am I – Kein System ist sicher is probably as Hollywood as a European movie gets. Having said that it’s still different and preserves its European vibes.

It involves lots of IoT, city infrastructure and computer interaction with city structures that surround us everyday and does a great job raising one’s awareness in that sense.

Baran bo Odar did a great job directing the movie with nice cinematography and cast, consisting of Tom Schilling, Elyas M’Barek, Wotan Wilke Möhring, delivers a very strong performance as well. It’s an action flick about hacking and coding so don’t expect a true story or a highly realistic documentary.

5- Hackers (1995) – 90s Throwback computer-action flick

Anyone who knows a thing or two about computers today will cringe to the computer scenes of this movie with fake GUI. However, Hackers manages to do a great job at the movie side of things. It has a great plot, characters build nicely and acting is pretty good.

Hackers also feels a bit like traveling in time especially when computer geeks in the movie are overly excited about 28.8Kbps Macs. Additionally, Hackers has nice Retro undertones from time to time and if you’re an Angelina Jolie fan it’s probably a must-watch as she delivers a fine performance at the early stages of her acting career.

You’re guaranteed to enjoy the film and experience great nostalgia if and only if you don’t over-analyze the computer scenes.

6- The Imitation Game (2014) – A true-story about the first modern computers

Wow! A realistic and dramatic true-story based film about the Turing Machine which is usually referred as the first modern computer design? Yes, please.

It doesn’t hurt anybody that Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a superb acting performance playing Alan Turing.

Only in a couple of years, Alan Turing’s work was followed by the invention of electro-mechanical computers which employed light-bulb-like vacuum tubes instead of modern-day transistors and were eventually replaced by fully electric computers as mechanical limitations were quickly recognized.

You can see a lot about this tremendous progress in human history that led us to the tech eco-system we’re living in today. 

7- Tron Legacy (2010)Gaming & Sci-Fi Legendary

Tron is kind of a cult movie. The Big Lebowski star Jeff Bridges really shows off his acting skills in this movie. In the end we have a computer fantasy that involves so much production dedication that it actually feels like a real story. This is an amazing product of imagination, film and good execution.

Do we need to mention that it’s very retro too?

For the first piece of the sequel you can check out the 1982 production where Jeff Bridges plays a computer programmer who then movies into the virtual world. And we’re happy to announce that a pretty sound Tron 3 is in the making as a Disney production and it will also star Oscar winning actor Jared Leto. There is no official announcement about the expected debut for this film yet.

8- Antitrust (2011)A Very Entertaining Programmer / Cryber-Scandal Movie

In this movie, a successful computer programmer’s life experience with a troubling employer is brought to the screen. A very entertaining movie with programmer main characters.

Again, you’ll need to be able to look beyond the fake GUI and not cringe. That’s the punishment of a coder that actually understands how computers work and you should be happy for that! And maybe one day, directors will nail computer programming and GUI scenes.

The Net is full of scenes with computers and GUI and it's actually not that bad. Very cool Hollywood cast including Sandra Bullock make it pretty enjoyable too.

9- Blackhat (2015)Cybercrime action flick

Pretty cool action movie starring Chris Hemsworth. Adventure extends through various cool locations in the world from LA to Chicago to Far Asia. It seems entertaining to say the least.

10- Pirates of Silicon Valley (2001) How Microsoft and Apple Started

This is a very entertaining movie based on true stories of Microsoft and Apple and their founders: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ridley Scott and Bill Gates.

It’s fun, it’s relatable, it’s real and it’s biographical.

11- War Games (1983) – Young programmer messes up, will WW3 break out?

This is a cool and entertaining movie and if you like old movies and if you are into coding you might really enjoy this 80s throwback. (2001) – A very realistic startup journey

This is a tremendously valuable documentary for everyone but especially those who don’t have serious life and business experience under their belt.

According to some surveys 80%+ new businesses fail. And that includes mainly traditional business ideas. When you isolate startups and innovative ideas the number goes even higher.

A tech startup entrepreneurship hype can be observed in real time from its ground zero point to the end in this movie and there is so much to learn from attitude to lack of wisdom and maturity.

We hear and see so much about success stories but I believe humans actually truly learn from failure and that’s something we usually fail to observe and study.

Especially, if you’re a business major, MBA, Finance student, tech student with lots of hype or even a seasoned business person that’s considering to try something new, you might really benefit from watching this production.

Having said that, film making aspect of this film is pretty catastrophic. So, you win some you lose some, but it’s to be watched for other reasons than cinematography. 

Revolution OS is very inspirational from the open source coding perspective. Plenty of interviews with experts of CS community help you pick up their intelligent minds.

13- Revolution OS (2001) Operating System and Philosophy

This documentary has a really cool story with lots of entertaining elements. It offers lots of knowledge about Open Source movement and really broadens one’s horizons about software and computers.

If you’re into Operating Systems or Open Source it really is a must-watch production.

14- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)Coolest hacker ever?

This is a very successful and high-quality movie from director David Fincher. Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara truly excels in their acting as well and what we have in the end is a classic movie that’s very watchable.

It’s not very educative or realistic but it’s very cool to watch. 

Rooney Mara plays the tatted up (hence the name) punk computer hacker tremendously well.

Finally The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is based on the book with the same name which was adapter from the original Swedish novel.

You can stream it for free on TUBI’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo here.

15- TPB AFK (2013)Documentary About the Internet and The Pirate Bay

This documentary about The Pirate Bay and main characters behind it is absolutely awesome. There is so much to learn about the internet and so many new perspectives not just about the internet’s development in time but also tech and personal triumphs and defeats.

Definitely recommended to every techy person.

16- The Net (1995) – Beautiful and Naive Programmer

Alright, we’re in the Hollywood territory again. First let me say this is a fantastic Hollywood thriller that’s aging well just like its main star Sandra Bullock.

Sandra Bullock does a great job playing the young, beautiful and highly talented computer scientist. It’s also really cool to see somewhat realistic scenes in such a main-stream production in the 90s and social naivete and awkwardness of the computer nerd played by Sandra Bullock is probably something lots of individuals from our audience can relate with.

Very fun and exciting. Still watchable as a 90s throwback.

The Net is full of scenes with computers and GUI and it's actually not that bad. Very cool Hollywood cast including Sandra Bullock make it pretty enjoyable too.

17- Jobs (2013) – Life Story of Steve Jobs

Ashton Kutcher delivers an outstanding performance from emotional range to mannerism to looks. Some say its his career’s highlight as far as acting goes. This unforgettable performance makes the movie watching-worthy although most people will agree that there is more intellectual juice in the Pirates of Silicon Valley in this list, despite its age.

Also, again there is lots of pain, failure and sacrifice very successfully portrayed in this film. Lots of people don’t like to see that but for the wise and trained mind there is a lot to learn and appreciate in hardship and struggle.

From major league entrepreneurship perspective this is a pretty noteworthy movie though it might be too honest and maybe dull for some.

Also the film ends in 1996. That’s how they decided to do it and that’s why it’s so much more about a young entrepreneur’s struggles leading up to the Ipod’s launch which re-vitalized Apple big time and was ensued by groundbreaking products Iphone and Ipad.

18- Steve Jobs (2015) – Behind the scenes of 3 iconic Steve Jobs product launches

A great biography production where Steve Jobs is again very successfully played by Michael Fassbender and directed by Oscar winning director Danny Boyle who also directed Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting and 28 Days Later.

It’s also interesting to see that the man who wrote The Social Network and The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin wrote Steve Jobs. Aaron Sorking was also friends with Steve Jobs and this movie focuses on Steve Jobs backstage preparation and mannerism before the launch of products like IMac, NeXT Cube and Mac.

Also if you like Seth Rogen, you will enjoy his Steve Wozniak performance.

So, Steve Jobs focuses on a very short period of time unlike Jobs which focuses on 

19- Indie Game: The Movie (2012)Video Game Industry

Very cool documentary about the journey of indie game developers. You get to see many aspects of game development and if you’re interested in this field this is probably a must-watch. Luckily, this production also delivers from the film perspective. Lots of great shots and fantastic story-telling combined it makes a very pleasant watch in the game development niche.

20- Operator (2016)A very original take on a programmer’s social struggles

A very unique Indie flick that touches a very sad and dramatic side of humans and particularly programmers under the comedy genre.

This film modern and so unique and plays with the Artificial Intelligence topic brilliantly. Main characters are played by Martin Starr, Mae Whitman, Nat Faxon who really aced their performances too.

Overall a must watch for anyone who understands programming and who is wishing to watch a very original drama.

You can watch Operator for free on the free TV and movies platform TUBI’s Operator page here.

Playing character Emily, Mae Whitman absolutely slayed it in the Indie movie Operator (2016)

21- Enigma (2001)Great Cryptography Drama

Enigma is a hybrid movie between fiction and true story of WWII code decryption aspect of German Enigma codes. There are lots of intellectually satisfying scenes about the inner workings of the Enigma Machine (which is used to crack the enigma code).

It’s truly inspiring to observe the story of these first generation computers in history.

Also the film succeeds in maintaining a war tension through intellectual work without all the bombs and guns. One can’t help but realize war takes place at all levels of civil society and not only in the field.

22- Takedown (2000) – Story of hacker Kevin Mitnick

This very interesting movie about successful computer hacker Kevin Mitnick and the story of his capturing is very entertaining to watch. However there are more interesting things about it. Kevin Mitnick sues the production based on inaccuracy and false portrayal and ends up settling the lawsuit with the production company who never got to launch the film in the USA.

It’s a very enjoyable and realistic movie but yes, inaccuracy is almost inevitable when weeks and months and sometimes even years and decades of tedious computer work is involved.

A shot of the famous Hollywood Hills sign, Mount Lee, Hollywood

23- Codegirl (2015)Change coming with technology

This documentary about young girls bringing change and improvement to their communities through coding, tech and app development is very real and inspirational.

It’s also culturally rich as the stories of young entrepreneurs span from New England towns of the USA all the way to East Europe and Brazil.

You can also watch it for free on TUBI TV at this link.

24- Appiness (2018) – App development related Canadian startup comedy

This is another cool movie with Indie Vibes from Canada. Protagonist of the movie decides to develop an app and claim riches with his startup after losing his job. And a series of events starts developing as the film is rolling. Watch Eric’s tech adventure with his cool friends here on TUBI TV for free if you like.

It’s a very enjoyable and realistic movie but yes, inaccuracy is almost inevitable when weeks and months and sometimes even years and decades of tedious computer work is involved.

TV Series (Directly Coding Related)

1- Mr Robot

2- Silicon Valley

3- IT Crowd

4- Code Monkeys

Code Monkeys is an interesting and creative concept of TV Series.

AI and Singularity (Special Edition)

1- Ex Machina

2- Her

3- Moon

4- Demon seed

5- Archive

Developments in the contemporary and secluded house of Ex-Machina CS genius

Honorary Mentions (Masterpieces w/ various themes)

There are also masterpieces that deal with data or computer programming in different ways. But, they usually revolve around a larger theme that’s dramatic or philosophical. So, coding or computers are not the first thing that comes to mind yet they were too cool to pass:

  • Cypher
  • Matrix
  • Terminator
  • Chappie
  • Sneakers
  • I-Robot
  • Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
Matrix Animation

Matrix influenced so many people and movies to come after it. But what was Matrix inspired by? The answer is mostly by an amazing book named Neuromancer. You can check out this article to find out more about it: Top 15 Books That Inspire Coding.

Notable Loop Movies

Infinity Direction Signs

Loops have a huge place in computer programming. Although these films don’t involve computers or coding, it’s still interesting to ponder about loop events and as it’s usually the case: infinite loops. 

It’s almost impossible to imagine loops without some kind of coding logic being involved even if it’s a biological or philosophical phenomenon. So, if you like loops these will be interesting to you for sure:

  • Triangle
  • Time Travelers
  • Source Code
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Predestination
  • Premature
  • The Road
  • 12 Dates of Christmas
  • Palm Springs
  • Horse Girl
  • Happy Death Day 2U
  • Game Over
  • Naked
  • Looper
  • Primer
  • Deja Vu
  • Arq
  • Before I Fall
  • Project Almanac
  • The Endless
  • Repeaters
  • Mine Games
  • Inception
Inception has an infamous ending scene regarding the possibility of another loop

Technically not a traditional infinite loop like some other cool films in the list but Inception does dabble with the concept of infinity if the characters fail to follow certain procedure and actually there is the idea of nested loop with the dreams, really cool movie indeed.

Mathematics Focused Films

Finally, there are some fantastic movies with a strong mathematics concept. Yes, coding goes hand in hand with different levels of math however, pure math involved in these films are hard to pass as a coding themed movie to our audience, hence the exclusion from the primary list.

Nevertheless, they usually relate to coding in a theoretical sense and some of these will certainly appeal to our audience:

  • A Beautiful Mind
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Moneyball
  • Exam
  • Hidden Figures
  • The Man Who Knew Infinity

Also, If you wanna see something funny, someone created an emulator for creating Hollywood-like console animations and it’s hilarious. Check it out.

The software seems to be only working with Ubuntu (Github repo here) but you can still check out the demonstration video.

That’s the end of the list. We hope you found something to enjoy from the list.

Please share if you thought this list was cool.

Also some of these movies have amazing soundtracks that works great while coding. You can check out this article about “Music Ideas for Coding“.