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How I Got Started Programming

It's an old meme but it still offers insight, I think.

How old were you when you started programming?


Before then, I had entered in programs from magazines (they had such things back in the early 1980's) but I had not actually endeavored to try to create something of my own. What I did create was a colossal din of ugly graphics and noise but it was something I actually created.

How did you get started programming

I grew up around computers. We had several TI-99/4A computers.

My father was a programmer as well but, to this day, I'm not sure if he did it as part of his day job or if he did it as a hobby. I think it was mostly his influence that kept me working with computers and programming. I don't know if that was deliberate or not.

What was your first language?


What was the first real program you wrote?

This depends on your definition of "real."

My first "serious" program that I remember was a program for playing Yahtzee in TI BASIC.

Discounting that, the next would be a BattleMech "database" project I did in Turbo Pascal 5.0. Exhibiting a lot of bad programming practices, it at least worked for what I needed it to do. However, there were issues and I was planning on rewriting it from scratch. I never quite got there.

What languages have you used since you started programming?

Trying to be chronologically accurate: BASIC, Pascal, C, sh, C++, Perl, Java, Python, SQL, PHP, VBScript, Cold Fusion, Ruby, Lua

Points of contention are:
Is LOGO a language?
Do different dialects of BASIC qualify as different languages?

What was your first professional programming gig?

I did a very small amount of Java during my internship with IBM.

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

Always ask "Why?" If someone tells you that x is a best practice, find out why it is before blindly using it.

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

Rewriting the dice rolling routine for my modular Python IRC bot. Different games have different dice rolling requirements so I ended up making the dice routine itself modular too. The first draft of that rewrite was done on notebook paper early one morning when I didn't have computer access.


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