Aug 09 2008

How did I get started in software development?

Published by at 10:45 am under General

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I’ve had this in my drafts for a couple of days.  So here goes with a meme forwarded to me by DamienG:

How old were you when you first started in programming?

I was a bit of a late starter when it comes to computers.  I didn’t get my first computer until I was (IIRC) 16.  I dabbled a bit with QBASIC with a friend of mine.  I didn’t start proper programming until I did a summer at Milvus (previously Datalink, now it’s Microgen) when I was 17.

What was your first programming language?

Technically it was QBASIC but I didn’t really know what programming was about when I was playing with that.  The first language I used and really recognised as programming was Visual Basic 6.

What was the first real program you wrote?

Looking back my programming history looks like a mine field of little utilities and big projects that I worked with other programmers on.

I guess the first program that I wrote that I know that people out there in the real world used is a tool called MojaviBuilder (still on this blog somewhere) that generated the files required for a PHP MVC framework called Mojavi.

What languages have you used since you started programming?

That all depends on how you define “used?.  If you take it in it’s loosest form I’ve used the following:

Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby
C, C#, Java, JavaScript

If you want to stretch the term programming language, I can also include:

Bisson, Flex, XSLT, RegEx, Brainf*ck

What was your first professional programming gig?

The first time I got paid for programming was when I was 17 and work a summer at Milvus although I’m not sure that would come under the heading of professional, as it was mostly doing little in-house stuff that no-one else had time for.

My first proper programming job was during my second and third year of university when I was DBA and web portal developer on an international head injury drugs trial being run out of London.

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

Hell yeah! Although I would have started earlier.

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

Care about what you are doing and think about the users that will end up using it.  The moment you loose sight of those to things it’s time to move on.

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

I always have the most fun when I’m learning something new.  I love that wow-feeling of everything  clicking into place.

The best moment was probably when I put my first utility online, saw people starting to download it and got my first email of thanks.  That’s a pretty awesome feeling.

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