A 24-year-old programmer amassed over 600,000 TikTok followers with code tutorials and thirst traps and says his independence as a coder-creator is worth more than any Big Tech salary
- Ben Awad is a part-time software developer and TikTok sensation.
- When he isn’t creating new apps, he’s creating content for his 670,600 TikTok followers.
- He’s best known for having a loyal fan base that leaves risqué comments on his videos.
Ben Awad has two jobs: software developer and TikTok Casanova.
When the 24-year-old developer isn’t creating apps — like a Clubhouse clone called DogeHouse and a dating app for programmers where users swipe on each other’s code rather than photos — he’s channeling his wry coding humor into making tame TikToks for his rather untamed audience.
“Ben, my tail is wagging ferociously,” one commenter wrote on Awad’s stitched video about the hygiene of “comp-sci boys.”
“Ben please just give me a chance,” another added.
Some comments contain genuine thoughts about coding. But most are not G-rated.
But aside from his thirst traps and the risqué replies they inspire, Awad has an audience of 670,600 followers on the app that’s mixed with young developers and fan girls dying to get his attention. Some would leverage that fame to level up in their industry, but he’s more interested in creating his own niche as coder-creator than locking himself into Big Tech’s golden handcuffs. And he isn’t alone — many up-and-coming software developers are straying from the safety of Google salaries, for example, to forge their own paths outside the tech norms.
“I have a hard time working as a regular employee for somebody,” Awad said, adding that he felt like full-time software-development jobs slowed the rate at which he could learn new coding topics and put his “life on pause.”
“So I don’t see myself working at a FAANG job. I just rather do my own thing,” he said.
A man who wears many hats
Like many TikTokers, Awad is living a digital-nomad life, currently en route to an Airbnb in Nashville, Tennessee. But before becoming famous for being a “TikTok hunk,” as Vox referred to him, Awad was living in Austin, Texas — best known for its general weirdness and budding tech scene. He was homeschooled before he got into the University of Texas, Dallas, to study computer science.
Recently, he created a widget for Visual Studio Code that allows users to post stories (just like on Instagram), which he sold for $9,000. The buyer decided to turn the extension into a way for developers to share code snippets with each other.
Awad also created Hyperfan, an invite-only app for creators to launch exclusive communities with their fans. He recently stepped down from this business, telling Insider he often jumps from one idea to the next. He’s about “50% done” with his newest “creator-economy” app, he said.
Content and coding go hand in hand
Awad’s advice for fledgling software developers is simple: Try everything until you find something you love, and specialize in it early. Once you figure that out, make some content.
“Take the leap and make a piece of content, whether it is a blog post, a TikTok, a YouTube video, something. I just think it’s very helpful in any type of developer career to make content,” Awad said.
And he’s far from the only coder to find value in content creation. Awad is one of many developers with a massive following on TikTok. And videos tagged #techtok, one of the most popular hashtags among programmers, have been viewed over 7 billion times.
“The brain that does coding is different from the brain that makes TikToks,” Awad told Insider. “They tell you all the time in programming — whenever you get stuck or anything, go take a walk, go do something totally different. For me, that’s TikTok.”
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