How did you get here?
Reading the last few posts about what people do and don't know, I started thinking about the path travelled into the IT industry.
I got here from hobby computing with VIC-20 and Apple // while earning a living as a welder and truck driver. When I saw my first IBM-PC, I thought to myself "If this thing catches on, I'm gonna make a killing!" Well, I haven't made a killing, but I have made a living.
Well, I predate all that. I had been a machinist back in the 60s and then got a degree in Industrial Eng. in the 70s. I was a product of the industrial revolution who converted to computer revolution in it's infancy. Started programming in the early 70s. I got a MSCS in 81 at the ripe old age of 33.
Computers: Vic20s, Spectrums and C64s (I spit on BBCs), Amigas and STs then boring old PCs and now Macs.
I was flipping burgers... philosophizing about how much debt I was in from school and what I was going to do about it when I decided to take a few 'computer' classes. I had programmed trash 80s in high school, and in university I had a few classes where we had to get on the mini & write some fortran, but this was VB3 on Windows 3.1 and I was hooked.
Yep, I'd had my TRS-80 about 3 months when I decided to write the game of Life in Basic. Thought it was broken as the screen never updated, but couldn't find the problem. Went to pee one day, when I came back the screen had updated.
How do you find your background effects your thinking now?
Started with the old Rubber Key 48k Spectrum at the age of 8. Then never touched a PC until about 10 years later. Started programming 3 years later still at 21. I didn't even mean to be a programmer - I just liked computers and happened to join a company that suggested I should write code.
I was always going to be some sort of engineer or scientist. I inherited engineering genes from my Dad (mech eng, jet turbine fuel systems designer) and maths genes from my Mum (mathematician/computer programmer).
I started with a Sinclair ZX-80 doing Basic. They wouldn't let me do Computer Studies at school as I "knew more than the teacher", admittedly it was the first year they were running the course. I got set of TSR-80 manuals from somewhere and lusted after the power. Then there was a ZX Spectrum that put me off programming for a bit as there were too many games for it… Dad got an ACT Sirius 1 for his accounts and I started playing with that, more Basic. Then an Apricot Xen I-386, a very early (read expensive) 386. A couple of years later I “borrowed” a copy of Turbo C and a copy of K&R and I was off… 8-10 years programming in the evenings and finishing my apprenticeship and working as a plumber with dad during the day. Time passed; various PCs, Windows 3.1, Borland C++, Petzold, Unix (SVR4), Linux (when it still came on 15 floppies)… etc.
I started on a ZX Spectrum, with BASIC. Then, in high school I took on COBOL. Then, I had a pause, during which I took up guitar, but returned because I didn't go very far with it.
Worked in an automated test group in the early 1980's, which used FORTRAN on micro PDP-11's. At the time, writing code was secondary to analog & RF circuit design and analysis regarding my role in that group. C Language became dominant as we swtiched to Apple MAC II based control. I learned C at the time.
In high school I could barely use Word, I had a hell of a time formatting the documents. But I knew how to use ICQ. I was going to be a Chem or Physics major, but then tried out computers second quarter of college, and got hooked. By the end of the year I was running Linux (Redhat 5.2, I think) and writing a mod_perl application over the summer. Graduated with my B.S. in CSE last June, and now am working at a National Labratory and am working on my Masters in CSE.
I Started with a Commodore Pet in about 1979. Built a ZX81 & learned Basic, then got ZX Spectrum in ’82 and learned Z80.
I started with a Sinclair ZX-80 doing Basic when I was about in 7th grade (Puerto Rico). I was one of the few that had enough money to buy one of those things back then. One summer a hurricane destroyed our house and my father was in the hospital for a year. We lost everything, and on a chance moved to the main land (stateside) and started anew.
I didn't really take the traditional route. After doing various work in the contruction industry I actually got a break at a local ISP as a tech support desk jockey for 7.50/hr (w00t!). Got promoted to admin after a year or so and started programming to ease the pain of administration. I started with scripting, PERL and ASP and stayed in that area (Including VB) for most of the tech boom. Finally I got a break with my company coming on board for J2EE. It wasn't the first Java app I wrote but it was the first in production. I loved the simplicity of it and when C# was introduced I hoped on it in hopes that I could leverage my current skills to the win32 platform level. I now use C# most of the time and sometimes they force me at gun point to use VB.net. Over the last year I've been working with ANSI C in a *nix environment but that's mainly a learning experience to fill in my knowledge gaps.
I played games on my 8086 and later computers when growing up, but never seriously considered CS as a goal until summer after my sophomore year of college when I had a CS research job. Was so much fun and so challenging, I decided to go ahead and major in CS.
I think your impression is pretty inaccurate.
From early 70s - HP 9100, HP 9300, Mini computer with paper tape I/O (no disk), IBM 360, PDP 11-24, Commodore 64, APOLLO, PC.
> Old Timer,
[I think your impression is pretty inaccurate]
I was doing quantum mechanics and astrophysics at university (Cambridge UK), wondered what kind of job I'd get afterwards, took a year off before finishing the degree, found a job at Nortel (Ottawa CANADA) where I did network performance modelling and estimation ("Queueing theory") and was happy when they told me to come back to work there permanently when I finished my degree. I finished my degree, and I started to learn programming there as a "software maintenance engineer". When after a year I fixed a difficult (I chased it into some microcode) but high-profile (it was preventing a sale) bug, they praised me and promoted me to "software development engineer"; I spent a year doing that as the junior of a 2-man team (I did the design, he was learning to do management). After those first 2 years, I wanted a 3-month vacation (I'd never had 2-week-per-year vacations in all my life before); they said I could take a leave of absence, if I signed a paper saying they couldn't guarantee me a job when I got back. 2 weeks later at the beginning of my 3-month holiday (now in Oxford UK), I got a phonecall saying there was a new VP who wanted me to come back (to Canada) immediately or resign: I resigned. I looked for a programming job (sending out resumes), got a call from a headhunter (who I'd never written to) offering me a job as a technical writer in Slough (I guess he liked my English), so I did that. After a year in Sough I asked them to double my salary or to let me live in Wales instead; he said he couldn't afford doubling, so he let me work remotely from Wales instead. After that ended, I got a series of contracts as a technical writer for IBM (Rome, London, Toronto). When IBM went into recession they let go of their contractors first, and I was out of work. I had my own Compaq portable though (cost me £2K 2nd-hand) from my tech-writing days in Wales, with DOS and Basic and a WP and nothing else. I taught myself Intel assembler (wrote an assembler using Basic and debug.com, rewrote it in assembler, let the assembler assemble itself). A headhunter who couldn't place me as a tech writer advised me to "learn C", so I did that by canvassing door-to-door for Greenpeace as a night job while writing some accounting s/w for them in C on a volunteer basis. I later had one more tech writing contract with IBM. Then I was unemployed for 8 months; I found an ad in the government employment center for someone to do tech support, and interviewed for that (- "Can you talk on the phone?" - "Yes, if I learn the product and have something to say."). When I didn't hear back from him, I phoned and said "I can *do* the job." and he replied "OK, come in then". When I arrived, there was no software product and no customers; the previous programmer had quit, leaving behind a deliberately-mangled set of source code. The source was assembler, so I fixed the sabotage by comparing it with a disassembed copy of a working executable, and went on from there as their programmer. The 1st person I helped to hire did not have a university degree and was working in a warehouse: but he'd written not only an assembler in assembler, he'd also written an entire IDE complete with debugger and incremental assembler: so he was hired... and the company continued on its way over the next 12 years, from 2 programmers with a pair of DOS client/server TSRs to a 1 MLOC system and 20 developers, selling to telcos, the company sold for $26M to a multinational which withered in the dot com crash when it could no longer sell to telcos, and our product/jobs were sent to India because the multinational didn't want to develope it anymore but had some maintenance contracts which it couldn't afford to break. I've been unemployed since February, may get a job offer this month from someone who knew me from where I last worked. While at this company where I was senior developer, I had no-one there who I could ask for technical help when I needed it; so I went online (CIS) to ask questions, and ended up an MS MVP there due to the concept of "paying forward". I don't remember how I found JoS; it's the only Web site I come back to (except for MSDN).
I started with basic.
received my first computer (Commodore 64) at age 12.
zx spectrum for playing games in high school sparked interest in computers,
by grade school, I meant 8th grade:-)
Games, on an Atara 400 in basic and then assembly. By my junior year in high school I had decided I never wanted to program again. BA, 8 years as a cook and chef.
Still not a techie
I'm sure this thread has appeared at least three times before...
Better Than Being Unemployed...
Oh and I nearly forgot, a short stint of ADA and a fair amount of Pascal in the middle eighties.
Oh, and Modula 2 in 1987.
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