How old were you when you started programming?
12. My parents ran a small business and had a TRS-80 to handle the number crunching, well it was just too shiny to resist.
How did you get started in programming?
Like I said, that old TRS-80 was just too good to leave alone, and there was a programming manual in the box too. 🙂
What was your first language?
GWBasic on the aforementioned TRS-80
What was the first real program that you wrote?
When I left school I wanted to be a fighter pilot (hell, who didn’t?), but it turns out that I have zero aptitude for flying fast jets. Not knowing what to do I drifted into a couple of jobs, including a stint in the Police. Finding myself employed as a van driver for the council they were short of bodies one day for a data entry job and I got drafted in to bang in figures to a Lotus 123 spreadsheet. The process was so long and laborious, and remembering my TRS-80 days, I grabbed the macro language manual and coded up an automated system. I never went back to driving the van after that and spent a bit of time writing macros for Lotus 123, still on drivers wages of course, lol.
What Was Your First Programming Gig?
Lotus macros were okay for a lot of things, but there came a point where we needed something more powerful, a proper language if you will, so I picked up a copy of Smalltalk and started to teach myself.
Not long afterward, IBM was began recruiting for Smalltalk programmers for a system to take advantage of the deregulation of the utility industry so, somehow, I blagged a job with them.
If you knew then what you know now would you have started programming?
Of course, how else would an uneducated lout from the sticks make his way in the world.
If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new developers what would that be?
Knowledge never goes out of fashion. Remember what you have learned and keep learning new stuff all the time.
What’s the most fun you’ve ever had … programming?
Those near all night hack attacks on the TRS-80 with other guys from the school computing club. And damn, the software we wrote then was soooo important too. LOL