Ivan Porto Carrero

IO(thoughts) flatMap (_.propagandize)

12

Jul
2008

How I Got Started in Software Development

Michael Eaton started a meme with the question: How did you get started in software development?

Yesterday Simone Chiaretta tagged me in his post, so it’s now my turn to answer the questions and tag other bloggers:

How old were you when you started programming?

Like many other programmers I started at an early age. I learnt to read and write when I was 6 years old. By the time I was 8 a friend of my mother showed how to use the DOS command line and how to create batch scripts. This got me started to create the menu system so that my mother could also use the computer, I’ve been supporting my parents on their pcs ever since. All the books I could find in those days were in English and I’m a Dutch speaker which made reading them at 8 years old quite hard.

How did you get started in programming?

That same friend also showed me windows 1.0 and paint which was nice but more cool to me was the gwbasic command he gave me. That thing opened up a wonderful world of line numbers and goto statements which made the computer do stuff. Hmmmmm do stuff. Suddenly I could understand the books because they had code in them and I understood code.

As a kid I was more interested in soccer and playing than programming but I came back to it from time to time.
A couple of years later I got interested in girls which was disastrous for my programming time, not much later I could drink alcohol so I abandonned programming as a hobby for a couple of years. In school however I got taught Turbo Pascal which revived my interest around the age of 15. I wrote blackjack in it that year and that was my big achievement for that year.

The next couple of years I had to make do with a very old computer that wouldn’t do much. In school I got 2 hours a week of programming dBase IV (joy joy) and MS Access in my graduation year. After my graduation I started working in the hospitality sector and started partying hard, no programming for the next couple of years :).

What was your first language?

I guess it was batch scripting, the fancy menus back in those days with drop shadow boxes etc.

But I wrote snake and such around the same time in GW-BASIC which I really consider to be my first language.

What was the first real program you wrote?

I won’t count the little batch scripts etc. I guess the first program I wrote completely from scratch and without the help of a manual of some sort must be BlackJack at the age of 15 in Turbo Pascal.

What languages have you used since you started programming?

Batch scripting, GW-BASIC, qBasic, Borland Turbo Pascal, VB6, VB.NET, C#, Javascript, HTML, CSS, XML, XSL, Bash

What was your first professional programming gig?

I guess that would mean the first time I got paid. I wrote a couple of scripts and a little bit of Access for a company my father worked for when I was 16. After that it took me until I was 22 to get started as a web developper after my day job.

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

Hell yeah :) I loooooove programming :-D. While I took prolonged break during the early years of my programming life it has always been there silently calling my name. I don’t know if there is anything else in the world I love doing more as a profression.

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

RTFM and consequently go forth and explore. And never stop communicating with the team and users.

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

While there are many things in programming I love like learning new stuff and such. I guess for me programming is about getting into the zone. You code away and a couple of hours later you wrote something great. I also love the constant little victories :)

Now on to others

This is the time where I get to pick a couple of people. Uhmm, I pick:

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