How did I get started in software development?

time to read 3 min | 510 words

Ryan Lanciaux has tagged me, so I guess I really don't have a choice

How old were you when you first started programming?

Depending on how you define programming, I remember playing with Logo and that annoying turtle at 8 or 9, using a machine that was old for the time, and using floppies that where about 30 cm square (never seen them before or after).

How did you get started in programming?

I was bored and programming was a way to do stuff with the computer that didn't required being online. At the time, being online cost a fortune, so I really had to limit myself, programming helped. Thinking back, I burned a lot of hours on trying to figure this out.

What was your first language?

Probably BASIC or Pascal, if you want to discount Logo. I remember being very frustrated with programming, because I hit a ceiling in my understanding of programming, and I wasn't not able to go over it. Throughout high school, I was simply unable to understand dynamic memory allocation. After high school I took a course at C & C++, and then it was: "Oh, of course, it makes a lot of sense".

What was the first real program you wrote?

Hm, good question. The first that I would define as an Application, rather than just a bunch of code was an online forum, then still called BBS (although it run on http). I had a lot of fun building that, but thinking back, it was scary.

What languages have you used since you started programming?

Another complex question. What is used?

Written applications at: C#, obviously, VB3,4 and 6, C and C++, PHP. Perl.

By that standard, I never used VB.Net, but I wouldn't say that I don't know it.

What was your first professional programming gig?

Writing a website for a printing company. The pay was lousy, but the job was a dream. I was getting paid to play around in the computer, heaven!

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

Yes, no question about that.

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

If you didn't get it to fail, you haven't done anything. The only way to learn is to fail, and after it has failed, fix it.

Oh, and read the bloody error message.

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

Writing Rhino Mocks, I would say. That was a purely intellectual exercise at the time, but it was a lot of fun coming up with the design and making it work. I remember capturing two of my soldiers and having a do a design review. None of them was a programmer, or a technical person by any means, but it was very useful. I was teased about that for years :-)