July 14, 2008

How I Got Started in Programing, Part Two

What was your first professional programming gig?
My first and only, so far, professional programming gig is at Data-Tronics. COBOL, VBScript ASP with JavaScript clientside, VB.NET (both console and WinForms apps; not much ASP.NET though). Although, it's not the first time I got paid for code or markup.

If you knew what you know now, would you have started programming?
I'm not sure. Probably, I would, but I'm also interested in and somewhat knowledgeable about the hardware side of things. Sometimes I feel that would be a bit slower: unless there's a problem or new hardware requirements, things could be pretty quiet. It's not that way at our shop, but we've got thousands of systems interacting.

If there was one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new developers, what would it be?
I can't write just one, so here's 2-3:

Learn how to maintain code. Learn how to write maintainable code. They're hard to do outside of a professional gig, but they're important. There is such a thing as objectively maintainable code, but I haven't seen any (including my own) that looked it.

Get used to other people seeing your code. There will always be someone who thinks it's crap, and usually someone who thinks it's good (as long as it works, anyway).

To second Brian, get involved. Even if you don't want to spend an excessive amount of time learning, you should always learn something new. I don't care if it's programming, computers, science, art, or history. The act of learning keeps your mind flexible, which keeps you employable.

What's the most fun you've ever had... programming?
It's a toss up between the final group project for a video game programming course we convinced out college faculty to "teach" and getting a joystick to run a little robot for JPL (it was a summer research fellowship) over a wifi connection.

Tag, you're it!
I'm not sure who to tag with this, so I'll hit some of Brian's up.

And add one: Tim Franklin.


David said...

Nice! I completely agree regarding maintainability and writing maintainable code. I posted my response to Brian's tag, so I guess it can be a response to your tag, too.

Thanks for the post!