Explaining Some Programming Jokes to Non-Programmers

credit: https://en.dopl3r.com/memes/dank/learn-programming-for-future-work-learn-programming-to-understand-programming-jokes/330147

When you work in a certain field, you appreciate jokes related to your work and find them (or most of them) hilarious. However, the struggle is when you want to share these jokes that made you laugh a lot with your friends or family.

Recently, I’ve been posting programming jokes on my Instagram account, and that caused me to get a lot of friends and family say something along the lines of, “I wish I understood at least one of the jokes you post.” So, I decided to try and explain some of the images I posted to non-programmers.

0. Programmers count from 0

Let’s start with something simple. In programming languages, counting generally starts from 0, as opposed to how people normally count from 1. Because of this, there are many jokes, like this one, that refer to counting from 0.

In this joke, instead of saying “World’s #1 Programmer” as expected, it says “World’s #0 Programmer” because we start counting from 0. Simple, right?

1. Puns in Programming

The problem with understanding this joke is to know how to read it. When you learn any new language, you learn what the words in your native language are translated to in the new one. Learning programming languages is similar to that.

An example of this is how to say “or” in a programming language. In most programming languages, “or” is represented by “||” So, If we were to read the text in the joke above, we can now understand that it says “question = to_be (or) !to_be;”

Now, let’s look at the “!” before the second to_be. In most programming languages, “!” means not. So, now the joke can be read as, “question = to_be (or) (not)to_be;” I think the joke is starting to look clear now.

Finally, there’s a “;” at the end of the joke. This simply represent an end of the line, just like we use a period to end a sentence in English.

So, this joke basically is a play on words to a phrase from Hamlet, Shakespeare’s play.

2. More Than One Programming Language

This is another pun. Even if you’re not a programmer, there’s still a chance you have heard of Java and C#. If not, these are two programming languages. Just like in our life, some people can speak a certain language but not other languages, this refers to programmers knowing Java, but not C#.

Ok, but what does that have to do with glasses? This goes back to how C# is read, which is read as C Sharp. So the joke is saying that Java developers need glasses because they can’t (program in) C Sharp. Get it? Funny, right?

3. A Programmer’s “First Words”

When someone starts learning programming, the first “program” they usually create is one that just prints “Hello World!” Kind of like a programmer’s first words. I think this joke is pretty straight forward now. A programmer since day 0!

4. A Nightmare Dressed Like a Browser

I think we can all agree that Internet Explorer (IE) is the scariest nightmare of all. Whether you’re a user or a programmer, there’s a 100% chance you just can’t tolerate it. For users, it’s because of how slow it can be. For web developers, however, it’s because it’s a source of never ending struggles. Basically, whenever you create a website that works magnificently on Chrome and Firefox, there’s this endless worry about what’s going to happen when you try it on IE. When you do try it, your worries are met and the problem is most probably worse than you imagined. For that reason, web developers always have to accommodate their websites to work on IE, which can be very exhausting.

So, in the joke above, the “programmer” in the picture is struggling because their website works on Chrome and Firefox…but guess where it doesn’t work? Yup, you guessed correctly.

5. 404 Jokes

Throughout your years of surfing the web, you’ve definitely stumbled upon at least one page that said “ERROR 404: Page Not Found” or something along these lines. 404 is a code that means the website couldn’t find what you requested. For this reason, there are many programming jokes related to this error code. Whenever something can’t be found, we’ll make an “error 404” joke.

So, in this joke the maintenance guy at some company replaced a missing tile with a paper that said “404: Tile not found.” A funny maintenance guy.


These are just a few jokes that can give you an idea of what programmers can find funny and how to understand it.

Did you like any of these jokes? If so, please be my#0 fan.

However, if you find any of the jokes or explanations mentioned above lame…well, you’re probably right.



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