How I Got Started Programming

This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and just decided that this it the time.  I saw this first on Michael Paladino’s blog.  I always wished I would get called out, but since I didn’t I am calling myself out.  I am also calling out a few others to share their story, and I hope you will pass it on to your closes enemies, eh I mean friends. ;-)

How old were you when you started programming?

In my senior year of High School I was overjoyed to be able to take a 1/2 semester programming class.  The computer class had 11 TRS-80 computers where 1 was the main host.  That meant that we all had to share the floppy drive on the host computer for saving data to disk.  It was a basic programming class, of which I still have some of my code.

How did you get started in programming?

When I got to college I of course was seeking a computer degree.  There I took all of the standard programming classes for my field which included a lot of Pascal programming, but I think I learned the most writing IRCII bots to share files and keep the channel ops in line. 

What was  your first language?

I would have to say that first language I developed in was Pascal or IRC Script.

What was the first real program that you wrote?

During college I was working a our local Wal-Mart and got the chance to go work in their Information System Division.  After working there for about a year I was moved to a programming team and started using Visual Basic (starting with version 3) to create reporting tool was used to monitor the health of the companies system by analyzing help desk ticket information.

What languages have you used since you started programming?

I have spent time in several languages since then, C/C++, Perl, Visual Basic v3-6, ASP Classic, C#, VB .NET, and a short year working with Java.

What was your first professional programming gig?

As I mentioned earlier, creating reports with Visual Basic at Wal-Mart was my first paid programming gig.  I learned a ton from my mentor John Lafoon, who I owe a great debt for setting me on my programming path.

If you knew what you know now, would you have started programming?

Heck yeah!!! I consider myself lucky that I get to do all day what I would be doing if I was independently wealthy had free time on my hands.  A friend of mine, I believe it was Raymond Lewallen, stated like this, “I am a professional problem solver who has chosen software as the tool of choice”.  I love learning and improving my development craftsmanship and spend as much time at home as I do at working improving my skills.  Really that just means I have a lot things to improve.  I like to say “I am failing my way to success” :-)    

If there was one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new developers, what would that be?

Be a practitioner of your craft, practice your craft and keep your axe sharp.  Set out to learn the fundamentals of your craft don’t just skim the surface to gain enough knowledge to get the job done.  Be a proactive programming, too much of the time programmers are reactive. I need to perform task X lets get the book and hit the reference section and find the example to get me past this hurdle.  This path has little learning, learn enough about your craft so that when the problem arises you already have enough information to formulate the correct action to solve the problem.  In short study and practice your craft.

What’s the most fun you’ve ever had…programming?

For the past two years I have attended the We Are Microsoft Charity Challenge, a give camp event, in the Dallas area.  Where developers come together for a weekend to produce web project for charities.  It is awesome to see dev teams put together produce the awesome project they do in such a short period of time.
Tag, you’re it!

I’ve enjoyed hearing other people’s stories, so I think I ought to keep this going.  I’m going to call out:

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