Owning the world’s largest eCommerce business makes you wonder if Jeff Bezos coded Amazon and if he knew how to code when he started the company over twenty-five years ago.
Yes, Jeff Bezos does know how to code and therefore can be called a ‘programmer’. Like many CEOs of tech companies, Bezos was always what people would call a bit of a nerd. He was interested in computers and science from a young age. Even pursuing these interests throughout high school and university.
Scroll down to read more about how Bezos learned about coding and how he developed the Amazon platform.
Computers Throughout School
As mentioned above, Bezos was interested in computers from a very young age. His very first experience was with the school computer in the fourth grade. In a Business Insider interview, Bezos recalls that “none of the teachers knew how to use it, so me and two other kids stayed after school and sort of figured out how to do it, and kind of taught ourselves programming from books.”
This was just the beginning of Bezos’ being immersed into the world of technology. Throughout high school, he was driven to take part in the NASA high school initiative. Then when he was at Princeton, one of his major’s was Computer Science. Being a Computer Science major means that you learn a lot about coding and programming.
Bezos’ Career Before Amazon
After graduating from Princeton, Bezos was approached by a lot of companies for employment. Some of those companies were Intel, Bell Labs, and Anderson consulting. He turned them all down though, instead opting to work for a tech startup called Fitel. He was hired on to debug code for the company.
It was after two years working for Fitel that Bezos decided to leave the world of coding and moved into the realm of wall street. He took on the role of Product Manager with Bankers Trust Company. At Bankers Trust, he became their youngest Vice President, but left again after two years to work for D. E. Shaw & Co.There he also became their youngest VP. That was his final job before leaving to start Amazon.
Did Jeff Bezos Code Amazon?
Bezos had a hand in developing the website, but he did not do it all by himself. When he started the company, he had employees from day one.
The very first person to work at Amazon, other than Bezos himself, was Shel Kaphan. Shel moved from Santa Cruz to Seattle before Amazon was even registered as a business and some people like to argue the Shel is a forgotten founder. Shel himself does not feel this way. In a 2011 interview with Geekwire, he even stated “In fact, to be completely technically true about it, he (Jeff) is the founder.”
Not long after hiring Kaphan, Paul Davis was hired onto the team. He is a British software developer who moved to Seattle in 1989 and was working at the University of Washington before being hired on by Amazon. Most of the programming for Amazon was performed by Davis and Kaphan, while Bezos worked to build the business plan and secure deals with book wholesalers.
If you want to learn more about the early days of Amazon, you can listen to an interview with Shel Kaphan by following the YouTube link below.
How Did They Program Amazon
The programming language that they used to develop Amazon is a computer language known as C. This was because the programming languages that are most common today either didn’t exist yet or were extremely new. Mike Davis was a very talented coder and although he only worked for the company for a year, his work proved to be invaluable.
Although Bezos does know how to code, he did not have a huge hand in writing the code for Amazon, which fell to his employees. Taking on the role of a true business man, Bezos worked to secure deals and develop a plan to turn the company into the giant we know today.