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I liked the format @gayleforce used in her about page (which gives kudos to another) so decided to monkey-see, monkey-do the same here. (thanks Gayle!)

I’m currently a Craftsman at Pillar Technology.  Each day brings a different challenge, from designing a solution to a business problem, to helping troubleshoot a development or other technical issue, coaching on agile principles or technical practices.  But my favorite of course is heads down coding.

If you have a LinkedIn account, you can also see my profile there.

How old were you when you started programming?

I got my start in technology when I was around 9 years old, as I couldn’t resist the video arcade.  With the release of the Atari 2600, I was in 7th heaven.  Of course I was more than happy go to a friend’s house to expand my experience with game play on the Odyssey II, Intellivision, and Colecovision systems.

In the 8th grade I developed my first software application on an APF Imagination Machine.  It was written in BASIC and drew a face on the screen made from asterisks and had a loop that would make it the face blink every so often.  From there I did some fiddling in BASIC on the Commodore 64 and TRS-80, but mostly used the C-64 as a gaming platform.

What was your first programming language?

My first programming language was a form of BASIC.

How did you get your start in programming?

In the 8th grade a class was offered that I don’t even remember the name.  You had to have a very good grade, B+ or higher as I recall, in math or get the OK from the math teacher to even take the class.  This class involved programming on the APF Imagination Machine.

What was the first professional program you wrote?

As I was going to school, I was working at a steel fabrication company in the quality control department.  We did many different parts for various companies and one in particular had a requirement that the first 3 runs of a new part had to go through an inspection process where each dimension on the drawing was measured and documented.

The way the department kept track of which part numbers had this inspection done on them and how many times it was done was simply amazing.  A yellow legal pad with a list of part numbers (not in numerical order mind you) and a little tick mark next to the part number denoting how many times it had gone through the inspection process.  Each time a part for this company came through we would need to manually go through page after page of part numbers to see if it was there, and if so, if it had been inspected formally 3 times.

Needless to say, that got old real quick so I wrote an application in Pascal, on an IBM XT PC (8088 if I recall correctly) that had a green screen and two 5 1/4 floppy drives.  This application would allow the user to type in the part number and it do the work of determining if the part needed to be formally inspected.

What languages have you used since you started programming?

Assembler, BASIC, Business Basic Extended (BBx), MAI OpenBASIC, C, C++, COBOL, C#, Delphi, F#, dbase/Foxbase, Java, Javascript, LISP, Objective-C, Pascal, Python, QuickBASIC, T-SQL, Visual Basic, VBA, Visual Basic.NET.

I’m pretty much a language junkie.  There are also things such as DOS batch programming, *nix shell scripts(mostly bash and korn), PowerShell, etc.

What was your first professional programming gig?

Working for the steel fabrication company, in addition to handling all of their networking and PC’s, I also did custom development for their accounting and shop floor tracking system in Business Basic Extended (BBx).

If you knew then what you know now, would you still have gotten into programming?

Without a doubt!

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

If you want to be a great developer, instead of learning a programming language, dig deeper, into software engineering concepts, into operating systems and into the platform(s) for you which you are writing software.  When you have this deeper understanding, you can write software in any programming language.

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

I would have to say in general that I have the most fun when I’m pairing with another developer who has the same love of development that I do.  I’ve done a number of fun things over the course of my career such as working with the self-driving car team at one of the big 3 auto makers.  However, the most fun I’ve had was pairing with @morider on a Silverlight proof of concept where the time just flew by each day.


Posted May 8, 2011 by namzat

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