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How Did I Get Started In Software Development?

Filed Under Human Factors

So Jurgen just tagged me on the “How Did I Get Started In Software” meme. I thought it would be fun to play along (because everyone enjoys talking about themselves). Here we go:

How old were you when you started programming?

I was a slow starter, 19 – freshman year of college. I barely knew how to run a computer, as I originally started school with the intent to graduate with a degree in sociology and become something like a social worker. When a buddy gave me a crapped out Apple LC 475, the rest is history. I must have tinkered with that computer for 20 hours a day flipping files in attempts to understand how it worked. As a result, I enrolled in a few CS classes.

How did you get started in programming?

The first CS class I ever took was Fortran 302. Don’t ask me how I ended up in that class as an intro, but calculating base 2’s was way over my head at the time. I dropped that class and went into a nice and easy C++ 101 course.

What was your first language?

C++ using the Borland 3.0 DOS IDE – it was nothing short of being magically painful.

What was the first real program you wrote?

Gosh, aside from common college assignments, I think the first *real* program I wrote would have been some FileMaker Pro databases and accompanying scripts.

What languages have you used since you started programming?

C++, Lisp, Java, C#, Objective C, Small Talk…too many to count except PHP and Ruby. (Need to learn PHP, too lazy to learn Ruby right now)

What was your first professional programming gig?

Although I did have tech desk like jobs before, I would consider Microsoft my first real programming gig. I was a clueless punk, so I honestly have no clue how I got on this team, but I landed an internship on a small team aiding the .NET framework team during its pre-alpha construction.

I worked with some brilliant people and eventually graduated to working on some tools for the Visual Studio team. The projects eventually died a slow and horrible death, but I worked on an internal NDoc alternative and a GUI ORM mapping tool. I sincerely don’t know if I would be at the level I am today without the timely guidance of my elders (thanks Steve and Mark).

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

Don’t know – I think one can take many paths in life and be equally as happy. But I do enjoy my job and skills…

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

Be humble, and never stop learning from others.

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

Creating the GUI interface for my MAME arcade machine.

Next one…
I’m tagging these people: Russell Ball and Alvin Ashcraft.

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2 Responses to “How Did I Get Started In Software Development?”

  1. Dew Drop - September 9, 2008 | Alvin Ashcraft's Morning Dew on September 9th, 2008 6:43 am

    […] How Did I Get Started in Software Development? (Max Pool) – Doh! I’ve been tagged by Max. My entry coming up shortly.   […]

  2. How Did I Get Started in Software Development? | Alvin Ashcraft's Morning Dew on September 9th, 2008 7:36 pm

    […] been tagged by Max on the “How Did I Get Started in Software” meme started back in June by Michael Eaton. I would […]

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