Ask the Expert: Hello, Brian – A conversation with Dr. Brian Kernighan, creator of “hello, world”

Have you ever wondered where the "hello, world!" program comes from? How is it that we're all writing that same program? Who was the first person to write it, and why did they pick that phrase? Join us for this in-depth conversation with Dr. Brian Kernighan who first wrote "hello, world!" nearly 50 years ago at Bell Labs. We talk about his start in computing, his advice for students today, and his thoughts on some of the complicated ways that technology has had an effect on society.


  • 00:00:00 - Introduction
  • 00:00:40 - A Conversation with Dr. Brian Kernighan
  • 00:02:03 - If you could go back in time, would you have picked a different expression?
  • 00:03:46 - How did you get into computing?
  • 00:09:21 - What is the industry's responsibility in bringing up the next generation of programmers?
  • 00:13:35 - How do you convince students that programming is fun?
  • 00:24:52 - With desktop computing becoming so ubiquitous, do you think that people are now unwilling or less capable of programming for mobile devices?
  • 00:27:41 - Is it harder to get into development today than it was in the past?
  • 00:30:04 - Have you heard about GitHub Codespaces? What are your thoughts on it?
  • 00:32:43 - What type of IDEs and tools do you encourage students to use? And why?
  • 00:36:06 - What's the significance and importance of remote learning for student collaboration? How does virtual collaboration affect the current generation of students?
  • 00:39:05 - Is fully-remote development inevitable? What are the changes and opportunities compared to before?
  • 00:44:44 - Did you have much experience with remote development? Is that something you are seeing with students? And are people pushing back against office work?
  • 00:49:01 - What can we do to ensure that technology is a force for good?
  • 00:54:45 - What advice you would give to the next generation of computer science students?
  • 01:01:31 - Closing Notes