How I Got Started Developing: Software Development Meme

So I got called out by my friends Rachel Appel and Kevin Hazzard to tell the world how I got started programming.


How old were you when you first started programming?

I was 12 I think, it was Christmas of 1982 when I got my first computer a Timex Sinclair 1000. Several of my family members 'conspired' to get it, a TV and tape recorder because I was a ' spending my money on Defender or b ' I was spending my other money for time on the library's TRS-80 computer to write code and play games. One of my teachers had brought in a TRS-80 for us to learn about computers. I took to it, second only to football (I grew up in small town Texas, Go Jackets!).

What was your first language?

BASIC, wasn't that about the only option for anything you could own yourself in 1982?

What was the first real program you wrote?

On that Timex I wrote a starfield simulator and then went big and wrote a Breakout clone.

But really it would have been the Textile Energy Models I wrote for my masters thesis. I continued research into building predictive energy consumption models for the Textile industry. I collected lots of sample data from dry processing machines to build models to accurately predict the cost of producing a product. I also saw patterns from the machines that could predict maintenance needs and just plain inefficient equipment. I wrote it in Borland C++. You know OWL.

What was your first professional programming gig?

Again it would have been my masters thesis. After I got out of grad school I went to work for Guilford Mills creating plant floor software in PowerBuilder (OMG what a disaster!). But I also got to build a wireless speech recognition system that worked in a high noise environment too, which was really cool.

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

Yes, no doubt. It is a passion.

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

Don't be dogmatic, but be pragmatic. Find what works for you and get real good at it. Most likely it will be something you are passionate about and you will be happy with your platform and tools. Don't be afraid to learn and of course always attend your local INETA approved user groups. :)

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

Tough decision, but probably my first project I did as an independent. I built an entire web application, including database, that talked to the North Carolina court records and DMV mainframes via 3270 sessions. I did the whole thing in classic ASP (Summer of 2000) with notepad and SQL Enterprise manager/Query Analyzer. Lots of 60-80 hour weeks those two months, but fantastic seeing how I could make it on my own.

Who are you calling out?

Rob Zelt

Daniel Egan

Ken Spencer

Wally McCluer

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