Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How did you get started in software development?

Steve Horn tagged me to answer some questions about my history with programming. So, here we go, a lot about me and my history in programming; more than anyone should probably care to know.

How old were you when you first started programming?

I guess it was when I was 11 or so in 1984.

How did you get started in programming?

My mom was doing graduate studies in Boston, and had purchased a Commodore 64. We would buy these books with pages and pages of BASIC code to type in and save off to tape . I did that for a while (oh, later, I had upgraded to a disk drive) and then few years later got an Amiga 500. A couple friends had one also, they were getting into CLI, Machine Language Assembly, BBSs, and Phreaking. I dabbled a very little in that, but I was more drawn to the graphic design and animation power of the Amiga. So I played with that and did a few things on my own, and for school projects, and what not. I remember thinking CompuServe and independnet BBSs were kinda cool, but a pain to use.

What was your first language?


What was the first real program you wrote?

I don't know if I have ever written a "real" program. Or, is it that they all have been, "real". I can't find any reference to this one river rapids game that I typed-in on the Commodore 64, and I don't remember the exact name. I didn't do much programming on my own, I felt it took too long. Until I got into the work force in 1997 and worked with David Robertson (amazing programmer) and others to get Intranet to the mainframe connectivity using IBM CICS/TCPIP technology and our own C CGI and then later Java Servlets after I found IBM's Redbook that no one seemed to want to talk about in 1998. They all wanted to sell CICS Connector middleware. Or maybe the first "real" program was the MSDS application I wrote at AEP in Cold Fusion and Oracle then migrated it to ASP and Oracle, and worked with someone else to do the VB TWAIN Scanning of the documents.

What languages have you used since you started programming?

Summary Programming Languages List:

Detailed "Programming Lanagues" List:
BASIC (Junior High School)
Pascal (College)
COBOL (College)
Cold Fusion (is it really a programming language?) (1st Job)
PL/SQL (ORACLE's SQL) (1st Job)
Java Servlets/Applets (1st Job)
ASP (VBScript and JScript) (1st and 2nd Job)
J2EE JSP/Servlets/EJB/custom MVC like Struts (2nd Job)
T-SQL (Microsoft's SQL) (2nd Job)
C# (2nd and 3rd job)
VB.NET (3rd job)
Java and MySQL exposure using SQLYog (3rd job)
Objecive-C (My own crap)
C (My own crap)
Javascript (all jobs, "The sleeping giant of the Internet")
HTML (all jobs)

1st Job = AEP
2nd Job = fourthchannel
3rd Job = doing the start-up company consulting thing in central Ohio (movepoint, aircraftlogs, apneicare)
"my own crap" = VisualMark User Experience Lab

Have not and likely will not touch... PHP, Perl, Ruby, F#, Lisp, etc. I love talking to people about them, and I think they are great, but I don't have the time to really get into them. May play with Python, since it is supposedly one of only three production supported languages at Google (Python, C++, Java). And, TRAC and this Google Calendar Gantt Timeline thing looks so cool; two more reasons to get into Python.

If you knew then what you know now, would you have started programming?
Definitely. I sometimes look back and wish I would have gotten deeper earlier on. You know, into Assembly and what not... but it seems I just don't have the patience. I'd rather build something and see results more immediate. I remember when I interviewed out of college in 1997, I told them I would be happy to do some COBOL for a year or two (thankfully--I didn't have too), but in a few years I was going to be working in "Interactive Television". So, I was "lucky" and "blessed" to be able to get in on the Internet/Intranet technologies right away in 1997 in my career. The Internet is now the center of everything I do. I don't really care too much about programming languages--for me--the Internet--and all of its messy technologies--is "EVERYTHING".

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

Focus on People not machines, and in focusing on people, be Honest and full of Integrity in everything you say and do, don't be hesitate to talk about what you don't know and are willing to learn, and always look forward to learning from everyone around you.

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

The Mainframe to the Intranet using CICS TCPIP was a blast, the MSDS stuff was a blast, fourthchannel was a crazy roller coaster and a ton of fun. All of them were great because of the technology, the users and the people I worked with! But I'd have to say that the most fun I have is whenever I see the excitement on a user/customer/clients face about how the Internet and software can be used to simplify and better their lives.