Of course, there have been great programmers in the past and primarily those that created programming languages and stuff like that.
Let me put a list of tech people I really consider of tops in the industry right now:
1) Linus Torvalds (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Torvalds): The creator of Linux Kernel and git also known for his "special" character.
2) Joe Beda (https://twitter.com/jbeda): One of the creators of Kubernetes .
3) Kelsey Hightower (https://twitter.com/kelseyhightower): A Developer advocate in Google, known for his amazing live demos.