How Did I Get Started In Software Development?

by Nick Thursday, July 03, 2008 2:54 PM

Derik didn't tag me, but I found his responses so similar to mine, that I thought I'd jump into the meme...

How old were you when you started programming?  Like Derik, I was a relative late bloomer into programming.  I had a IBM PC XT at home, and I had a knack for writing nice and tidy batch scripts, but I didn't really get into real programming until I took an programming class in high school.  The normal class conflicted with the AP Calculus class that I was taking, so I took it with a friend independent study.  We would get our assignments for the week on Monday morning, finish them all by the end of that day, and then tutor people in Calculus in the library.

What was your first language?  Technically I guess it was True BASIC... though I also did a lot with QBasic.  I also did a little bit with Pascal back then... oh those were the days. Aside from the basic learning programs in class, the biggest program I wrote back then was an analog clock with real time display and a second hand.

What was the first real program you wrote?  I guess the first real program that I ever wrote was a web application (at least that's what we call it know) in Perl for a company to do online dispute resolution.  It actually was a pretty major endeavor, and aside from some patent issues, was pretty innovative.  To date, that is the one and only project I've ever written in Perl.  *shudder*

If you knew then what you know now, would you have started programming?  Duh... of course.  I also would have started sooner, not that I ever felt that behind... it's just I would have enjoyed it just as much even earlier I think.  I've never had a bad experience programming (aside from some normal bad jobs that any profession can have), that has made me regret being a programmer.

If there is one thing you learned along the way that you can tell new developers, what would it be?  Document!  Save emails!  I don't know how many times a decision was made by someone which led to a major architectural decision, only to be undone later by the same person, claiming he had no knowledge of the earlier decision.  If someone tells you something important verbally, send them a confirmation email and keep a record of it.

What was the most fun you've ever had... programming?  I'd say the last few jobs I've had with a small group of guys from my consulting company have been the best.  It's a great group, who knows what they're doing, just does the work, and we drink afterwards.  Really... how much better can it get?

Who am I calling out?

I'm not going to call out anyone in particular, but if you do decide to add to the fun, just leave a comment so I know!

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Nick Schweitzer Nick Schweitzer
Wauwatosa, WI

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I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit. ... Full Bio

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