The classic geek haircut. I still sport this cut today. :)
How old were you when you started programming?
Somewhere around the age of 8 or earlier, computers were always just there – they’d been in my life since I can begin to remember.
How did you get started in programming? What was your first language?
My dad went to College for robotics when I was around 8 years old. His robotics program involved lots of programming and together we worked through a couple BASIC programming books. I continued to mess around with BASIC and wrote scripts so I could get at my favourite games. Later I was frequenting BBSs (The Fisherman’s Scroll), and surfing the internet through lynx (a text based browser). I eventually became a Script kiddie – being a Script kiddie was what really turned me on to programming. My friends and I would write IRC war scripts, play MUDs, and try to figure out how Trumpet Winsock, networks, and HTML worked – those were the days of Netscape 1 (the version with the big glowing ‘N’). Later we tried writing our own version of NetBus with the help of C / C++ programmers on IRC – the fragments of the C language these programmers exposed to me were magical, and sparked an genuine interest in computer programming. In addition to all this my dad kept a constant supply of old and new computer parts funneling into our house, my brothers and I would build computers from the parts – today my closest brother is a Linux fanatic, evidently all this sparked his interest too.
Programming has always been a part of my life, BASIC was my first language.
What was the first real program you wrote?
I followed a couple game tutorials from my BASIC books, but my first real program would have been Pacman programmed in Turing – in my final year of high school I enrolled in a computer course, where the instructor let us write any program we wanted for half a school year I chose to write a game.
What languages have you used since you started programming?
While using multiple languages are great, I really believe that we you should completely understand the fundamentals of at least two languages (like say a static language and a dynamic language), because:
Once a programmer realizes that programming principles transcend the syntax of any specific language, the doors swing open to knowledge that truly makes a difference in quality and productivity. – Steve McConnell, Code Complete 2nd Edition.
What was your first professional programming gig?
I would have been 18. It was my first year of College, I needed a part-time job in order to pay rent, I initially worked on an assembly line, but would occasionally help the office workers troubleshoot their IT issues. I soon found myself working as the company’s network admin / computer gopher. I went on to develop their cataloging system and a website. At the time I was going to school for Electronic Engineering, but decided to switch to a Computer specific program. Previous to this, I had freelanced a couple websites for local businesses while in high school.
If you knew then what you know now, would you have started programming?
Absolutely! The industry continues to instill a sense of wonder in me. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new developers, what would it be?
- Read! You’d be surprised how little progress has been made in the software industry over the past 30 years. By reading we can learn from the mistakes others have made.
- Don’t be intimidated by code or frameworks handed down by large organizations, their code isn’t any different than yours.
- Hard work always pays off, or as Thomas Edison said: “Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.”
What’s the most fun you’ve ever had … programming?
Collaborative programming is always fun whether it be paired programming or working together on a project. It’s hard to pinpoint the most fun I’ve “ever” had, because it’s all fun. :)
This post was in response to Michael Eaton’s initial post on: How did you get started in software development?
Now it’s your turn to answer: How did you get started in software development?