Software Development

Why did you try programming?

Programming isn't something that people accidentally get into -- you need some sort of initial motivation to try it out. Respond to this quick poll to let us know what lit your fire to give programming a whirl.

Lots of people try things for all sorts of reasons. In the case of programming, I doubt few people ever accidentally find themselves coding, especially given the amount of learning it requires -- you need some sort of initial motivation to try programming.

What lit your fire to give programming a whirl? Let us know by taking this quick poll.

J.Ja

Disclosure of Justin's industry affiliations: Justin James has a working arrangement with Microsoft to write an article for MSDN Magazine. He also has a contract with Spiceworks to write product buying guides.

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

97 comments
Barcode54
Barcode54

It started with my first computer in the early 80's - an Australian made PC using a Z80 chip - the Microbee. Got serious when doing an IT certificate course during the mid to late 90's with MS Visual Basic. This RAD programing made it fun and reasonable applications were quick to develop.

mmathewson
mmathewson

I learned to program because there was a problem I wanted to solve. I figured the best way to learn to program was to attack it with a specific problem in mind then learn the language as a means to the end.

cwalker1767
cwalker1767

High school class back in late 70s using Radio Shack TS-80 with tape recorder. The following year we received an expansion module which gave us our first floppy drive.

mehrotra.akash
mehrotra.akash

and the logic behind computer programs was quite interesting to me...

rod
rod

to do the thing I needed.

m7842g
m7842g

I learned FORTRAN programming in the early 1970s in order to create customized software needed to support data analysis for academic research. I later picked up several versions of BASIC for PCs, beginning with the Sinclair 1000 - 32 character lines with output to a TV screen; try doing graphics in that environment!

knut.boehnert
knut.boehnert

Lucky the person able to get their hands on 5 1/4 disks or cassettes. When I started most programs were typed from page to computer (most in hex). So writing my first text editor in Basic was nice and easy (compared to find that %$"!?%?$$% wrong hex code in a listing of 5 pages). Rest is many iterations of various programming languages and there is still the challenge to make the code as fast as possible with the maximum user experience. Oh and make time and money a limiting factor too.

dsdaviau64
dsdaviau64

Programming was part of my studies for collage.

r.tulloch
r.tulloch

47 or so years ago my school in Edinburgh (UK) set aside a small room with a teletype link to the computer at Edinburgh University. We wandered in, typed our little programs and watched the answers come back. Since then , whenever I could afford/get my hands on a computer I have used it - initially purely for pleasure and now to make a living. (www.HospitalRegisters.com) Bob@walnutMedical.info

Mark Miller
Mark Miller

I've told this story on my blog (at http://tekkie.wordpress.com/2008/12/29/my-journey-part-1/), but I could go into it here a bit. I was motivated by watching someone else program on a microcomputer. It was 1981. I was 11 years old, going on 12. My mom and I visited the local library. I'm sure I had gone to the library before this incident, but I don't remember seeing the computer before this. Maybe it was a new addition. In the children's section I saw a middle-aged man working on something on a computer. I sat at a table watching him from behind. He was cycling between a couple of screens. One had what I later understood was "code", and the other ran what looked like a low-rez horse racing game, but there were some things wrong with it. He ran the game over and over again, but I didn't see anything change. I would later learn he was "debugging" his game. I got the idea that he was trying to influence it by doing some things, because of the defects I was seeing. I figured he was not using commercial software. I had seen a few other computers in my life before this one. So I had a little context. The graphics on the screen were colorful and they drew me in immediately. I got real curious how he was doing what he was doing. At first I thought the guy was a member of the staff of the library, that there was restricted access to it. I found out that evening that anyone who was 10 or older could use it. I just had to attend a 15-minute orientation. I took that the following week. I had heard of Atari before and I thought they just made game systems. It turned out they made computers, too. We learned how to use the computer that guy was using, the Atari 400. One of my first questions was about what that guy was doing. I learned it was called "programming", and they told me that there were a few programming languages, along with manuals, available behind the desk. They had an automated Basic tutorial available called "Invitation to Programming". I wanted to learn how to do what that guy was doing: programming. I tried using the tutorial, and I learned a little. I really had to look at the Atari Basic manual, which I did. That helped quite a bit, but I still needed a lot of help, which I got from other people who would come around and watch others use it, or they'd sign up for time themselves.

jslarochelle
jslarochelle

APL in one class I just fell in love with it. COBOL and Fortran (on punch card) almost killed this love but fortunatly I went for one more class (basic programming on PET computers) and there was no turning back. One thing that help was that the teacher of my APL class renewed my account on the mainframe and I could keep writing unreadable APL code for another session. APL appealed to my mathematical side. After that Pascal, C, C++, ... JS

rancho
rancho

I was an over the road truck driver and I needed to make a career change for health reasons. I went back to school intending to study networking. I thought it would fit the bill as I thought I was mechanically inclined. Part of the requirement was to take a logic class. And I fell in love with the whole idea of problem solving in code. So now I have been lucky enough to have two careers I love.

mdhealy
mdhealy

As an engineering student I did not have a choice: FORTRAN -- on punch cards -- was a required course. I haven't written a line of FORTRAN in about 20 years, but I am living proof of the old saying "you can write FORTRAN in any language." Whether it's Perl or Java or one of the various other languages I've used over the years, probably all my code shows evidence of FORTRAN at an early age. For output formatting, I'm not sure which is uglier, FORMAT statements or sprintf, but neither is exactly a joy.

KodefuGuru
KodefuGuru

I discovered the gwbasic program on my DOS box when I was a teenager. Once I figured out I could write my own programs, I went about making a D&D character generator for fun. I never looked back.

georgie_jungle
georgie_jungle

I tried programming because it was considered a lucrative career and I needed to select something for after high school. However, after graduation (1969) I didn't go to college and instead went into construction for a few years and then held clerical positions in the Federal Gov't for a while. After feeling I was going nowhere, my desire to make a career was rekindled. I selected programming and attended college part-time in the evenings studying computer science. My first program was in COBOL typed on a keypunch machine and submitted to the main-frame's compiler via JCL.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I wanted to do it. Combination of an interest in electronics and a mad professor at school for me. 1976, I decided I wanted to be a programmer, I started then, one day I'll make it....

clarnT
clarnT

Because I was fascinated by all the binary coded octal I had to know while troubleshooting weapons guidance systems in the Eighties and knew only enough at the time that all those 1's and 0's meant the same thing as mechanical relay logic, (which I had learned earlier) and that it would be so much easier to create sophisticated solutions to big problems via digital vs. analog. Although, I have to say that the analog solutions to compute complex firing solutions were very elegant and inspired.

jshaw4343
jshaw4343

I was in tech support position that involved a lot of manual reviews of systems (printing out reports and comparing to system inputs line-by-line). I figured there had to be an easier/more efficient way of doing things so I started creating crude BASIC scripts to conduct the reviews for me. Pretty soon, I had scripts that could do most of my job duties.

marie.truman
marie.truman

Parents bought a TRS-80 along with a subscription to Rainbow Magazine. I was about eight at the time. Had to take the time to type in programs from the magazine and eventually learned Basic myself to create my own programs.

KSoniat
KSoniat

First degree in Music Ed - Economy like now so no jobs. Worked as assistant trainer at stables for 1 year and vet tech for 1 year then decided I needed to get a "real" job. Math & Science were always strong and in 2 years could get CS degree since I was already degreed. My first semester was on punched cards. :)

nikhilgavli
nikhilgavli

I accidently enter into the Programming field, but as soon i deal with the syntax part and all i could easily able to deal with it. Now im currently working at the S K International at dadar,Mumbai. where they help me to learn even faster and it help me to enhance in the field. S K International gives u blend of all types of technical experience with wide diversity in the services. For More info visit: www.skinternational.com

pgettys_z
pgettys_z

I started college studying Civil Engineering. I looked at encouraged minors, saw CS, and took a few classes. Realized after a semester that I was good at CS and liked it, and was bad at CivE and hated it. I tried reminding my wife of that when she asked me to rebuild our bathroom, but it didn't work...

Bizzo
Bizzo

Started off at school with Commodore PETs and BBC Micros, caught the bug from there. School, college, university, O levels, A levels, Degree. Just a natural progression that I'd end up working in IT. I have moved on from programming, but I still do a lot of scripting. 30 years since I touched my first computer keyboard, and I'm still here!

faricci
faricci

The basic questions that one person facing a computer could tell to herself is "How is made this program? Am I able to do a similar program?". This kind of questions perhaps will make you a programmer.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

I got this neat Commodore 64 but the games were nearly all monochrome, with only one colour game. I got a book on the BASIC used and learnt how to add colours and rewrote the code for my favourite games to add colour to them. They were great.

JackOfAllTech
JackOfAllTech

"Computers and Math" I was taking all the advanced math classes that were offered and this was one of them. It was a (really) dumb paper teletype terminal connected to the mainframe in the basement of another school. We 'programmed' by punching basic commands on a long strip of paper about an inch and a half wide. That came in handy years later when I programmed CNC Lthes wih Mylar strips. I was in heaven! I thought this was the coolest thing, ever! I could make it do what "I" wanted it to do.

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

Programming became a neccesary part of my job, first as a crypto repair tech in the later 60's and then later using an old teletype and punched paper tape to run telephone trunk adapters and registers through a QC program before sending them back to Western Electric. Basic followed shortly thereafter and it has been onward and upward since. Many languages are all the same, just thate ach has its own name for doing the same thing. Like Basic, push and pop, Peek and poke.

PMPsicle
PMPsicle

I was a SF fan and fell in love with the concept of computers. Especially with the early Star Trek. My future was already planned out (had been for 3 generations). When I went to university, I took Computer Science because it interested me. However, we became so successful we were forced out by the big guys. When I sold the division that paid my salary, I had to find a real job. So I fell back on what I had been trained for. Funny thing was, I only did programming for two jobs before I started moving up. And the job became less and less about computers and more and more about people. Always continued to play with it but left coding behind many, many years ago.

Slayer_
Slayer_

A brief amount of C++, CIn and COut, thats it, and a brief bit of VB5 with simple control structures, no variables even. From there I was hooked, took the next course, which taught VB5 again, but covered things some what more detailed, after I understood variables (was a big hurtle) I took off and within a month, I was teaching the teacher programming. I have never looked back since, though oddly enough, I have not touched C++ ever since then. After that, there was a new dedicated programming course in high school, but it was Java. I had one of those cool teachers that was just as interested in doing stupid things as we were. So if you were completely off topic or programming just stupid things, he was usually interested and he would even help out. He was a big inspiration for me.

zyzzyva57
zyzzyva57

VBA is what makes M$ Office products jump through some fun or serious hoops

mbeware
mbeware

I started programming because my dad brought home a modem (150bauds...) and a teletype... I was 7 or 8 and as curious as a kid can be... He secured an account for me and brought some beginner books home and voila....

vernonhorn
vernonhorn

I first programmed Apple Basic in about 1981 or 82. It was fun, but I didn't know what I'd do with it. Many years later in the late 90s I had the foresight to imagine what an interactive database application might do for the organization I work for. It was fun, very useful, and I've been at it ever since. Some days I wish I could do it full time, others, I'm thankful for other tasks too.

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

... you're giving away your age, comrade. I actually worked on writing a driver for a mark-sense card reader (use #2 pencil!) back around 1980, because the driver that came with the OS was stupid -- if a column was missed (because the column markers along the bottom edge were smudged) then it would read the 80th column from the first column of the next card, and so on. We wrote our own that signaled a failure in that case.

frank.picone
frank.picone

Well along with Star Trek(TOS) convincing me that the future was technology, I took a summer course in school on a PDP 9 and was amazed that *I* could make this machine do whatever I wanted. It's a control thing I guess! I was hooked from the first compile!

CoachRick
CoachRick

In my senior year of high school, I signed up bor an advanced science course but the person that was to instruct it could not do it and no one else was available. So the school rounded up 'experts in various math and science related fields to give a presentation to which we did work, projects, etc. for our 6wks grade. One of these was programming in BAL (Basic Assembler Language) for an IBM401 computer. I was hooked on day one.

doug.cronshaw@baesystems
doug.cronshaw@baesystems

... though C++ hadn't been invented then. Even C was "some weird new stuff" used by UNIX nuts. (I learned Pascal before I learned C.) Better still, this being rather more than 35 years ago, no schools had their own computers in those days. I had to learn programming via a teletype terminal connected to a mainframe computer about 130 miles away.

Jaqui
Jaqui

Basic and Pascal were part of the first computer science course in high school. [ lucky me, the teacher had worked for IBM as a programmer. ] then a post secondary course in computer operations, I had enough time to add ANSI C to the schedule. a bit of opportunity for cobol, in helping others debug cobol apps.

joe11701
joe11701

When i was 13 i had a matchbook( remember those?) that had a logic test on it, which i took and submitted. a few days later, someone called from the college that sponsored the test, spoke with my mother and wanted to sign me up for classes. she said that i was only 13, and asked how i did on the test. He said i scored 100.... that piqued my interest in programming.... i've been involved with computers since my freshman year in High School.... that was 1972.... been doing it ever since.

kevinh
kevinh

True enough, but unfortunately M$ in their infinite wisdom has a tendency to make some parts of your VBA coding not forward (or is that backward) compatible. Some things (eg: graphics driven solutions) that worked easily in Excel 2003 do not work at all in 2007, or work with greatly reduced efficiency. As a structural engineer foremost, I really couldn?t be bothered having to delve into old coding every time M$ release their latest lunacy. Logic would have it that if you have something that works well, it should work forever - but that is not the M$ way. I am so over being a code cutter.

kevin
kevin

I was introduced to the Internet while sitting at the nightclub I had opened only a few weeks earlier, by a friend with a laptop and a cell phone modem back in 1995. The whole time he was showing me websites I was telling myself, "You are in the wrong business".

Former Big Iron Guy
Former Big Iron Guy

I was a freshman physics/pre-engineering student at a very good small university. The physics department had "ownership" of it, and ran it with an upper classman as the director of programming of the computer lab. I'd designed a very small logic circuit to provide collision and/or loss of cushion control for a ground effects vehicle in high school for the science fair. [Basically half an adder using pinball machine relays.] I was kinda hooked on computing at the time, by all the things that other physics students were doing. Anyway, for physics students or anyone in the Sciences program, it was available, 7x24, you just had to pencil your name into the schedule. I learned how to program in machine language, down on the bare metal, from the Lab Director. Got the computer fascination then and it's still active now, over 40 years later.

dtec
dtec

Started with the manual then bought The Programmer's Reference Guide. It was an excellent book for learning how to get that computer to do whatever you wanted. Sadly, there's no single book like it for the x86 computers.

mlittledale
mlittledale

I was learning to use excel for my first accounting class. I started using VBA and from there on I enjoyed creating more complex code.

salisburyw
salisburyw

A high school bookkeeping instructor became aware of the 1st Jr. College Data Processing degree in the KCMo area and spread the word among the Class of 1962 students he thought would be suitable for the program. We had hands-on training on IBM 1620 technology, we were introduced to IBM 1401 single-user and IBM 7090 multi-channel technology and toured area installations that used leading edge computer technology to do reporting, maintain business inventory, billing, etc. This was waaaay before the advent of the internet and PCs. Operating systems and I/O control sub-systems were really "new wave". Gee, just watching the 1620 typewriter being controlled by a program you wrote was really impressive. However, business reports were either punched into cards and run through an IBM 407 Accounting Machine to print -or- they were written to mag. tape on a multi-channel machine and sent to the 1401 for printing. Smaller companies used the 1401 to do all their processing. Fortran, Autocoder or other variety of Assembler programs, and Cobol were the programming languages of the day.

customersevice
customersevice

I found early on in my work career that I had a great sense of detecting logical patterns. The excitement for me was multiplied when I could piece together codes and symbols in an orderly manner resulting in a projected outcome. My first exposure to programming was RPG II, then COBOL, then C++. I've experimented on my own using Macros in Excel, Access, Word. I also enjoy coding in HTML. I would more often than not forget to place a period somewhere in the COBOL code but because it was a faux pas I'd acquired, I knew what to look for. Everything is in Divine Order!

jngant
jngant

Back in 1961, ASU required ALL engineering students to take at least an introductory course in Programming (those were the days of rotating-drum-memory machines, the IBM 1620, etc.). The Fortran was kind of ho-hum but, assembly language cum machine basic code jobbers were a challenge!! It evolved into a dual pursuit: digital design, and numerical analysis ("IT", data bases, and other ordinary current constructs and concepts were essentially unknown; you were lucky to have paper tape reader to load a low-level interpreter!). So, I guess you might say I had a major predisposition to programming that came to the fore due to degree requirements.

Edmund
Edmund

I thought I was going to be an astronaut. (seriously). I was taking the pre-physics curriculum and one requirement was to take a computer science class. I'd go down to the center between lectures, and would miss my next class. Then, I'd miss the rest of them. And I would have to sprint to the cafeteria to get dinner because it was closing. Then... just one more run... to make it work. And the card reader !!! wouldn't read. It was VERY quiet... and I'd look around. It was 3 am and they had just shut off access for nightly maintenance. That was 1975.

Beilstwh
Beilstwh

I saw my first remote terminal the size of a large suitcase and a 300 baud modem when I was 11. I fell in love with computers and never looked back.

scot_hauder
scot_hauder

Countless, countless hours of living in a Lego world back in the 70's (remember Rocket Launcher/Space Scooter/Mobile Tracking Station?) If we had mindstorms when I was a kid I probably would have taken over the world ala Stewie Griffin. This fed my creative addiction and naturally directed my interest toward being an architect--until I happened upon an Apple II. Here was something where I could build anything I could dream up--and test/run it instantly! No waiting for plans to be drawn up or waiting for contractors to finish. I had instant gratification (or instant crash as it were), something an architectural profession could not give me. Over 25 years of coding I can honestly say I have forgotten more than I know. Most of what I do now is bayesian networks, clustering classifications and custom logistic regression models for data mining. Hopefully that knowledge will not be obsolete in 18 months like much of what I've learned. I remember the ol' days when, if you really needed detailed, albeit dry, info on something you would read a white paper. Somehow this term has been twisted to mean "multiple-page advertisement" TechRepulblic and the rest of the IT community, PLEASE, PLEASE stop calling these ads white papers!!

des
des

I started life as an attorney and one day I saw a program for the first time and it consisted of lots of little holes in a tape. Then a little later it looked like a reel to reel magnetic tape. This fascinated me, so I decided to go back to varsity and be educated.

Ben
Ben

I started programming because I wanted to create an ad exchange script and I felt that if I learned php myself, I would save alot of money by being the programmer rather than hiring a programmer to do the job for me (plus I think it's rather lazy to outsource something you could easily learn to do yourself, especially if your intrigued by it). There are still alot of things I don't know, but of course, I've only been teaching myself php from the Headfirst php/mysql book (which only has a basic framework for understanding the language and is not at all comprehensive) since January of this year, so I've been stuggling to do certain things and when I try to find the information I'm looking for on google, it's very hard to find it.

cmereau
cmereau

I needed a piece of software for my small business which no one could offer at a reasonable cost. So I purchase VB 3.0 and never looked back. I obtained a degree in Computer Science at age 50 and now work for a Fortune 1000.

bsaucer1
bsaucer1

I started when I was three! I placed musical notes (metal bars) on a toy railroad track and then placed the train on the track and turned it on. It played a tune! I majored in electrical engineering in college, where they tought me some computer languages; first on the mainframe, and then on the Apple II. I became proficient in 6502 assembly language and BASIC. The CPU is the little train engine. The RAM is the track. The bytes of machine code are the little musical notes I placed on the track. Within a few years I had the Apple II computer completely reverse-engineered.

david
david

Programming was a requirement in my course of study in college. I was studying engineering where Fortran and assembly language were required. Programming turned out to be more interesting than engineering. Like Steve, I owned and programmed one of Sir Clive Sinclair's 1K Timex computers. I thought I had reached the promised land when the PC and BASICA arrived.

gaetgodi
gaetgodi

The University of Toronto was making 3 sec available free to anyone. Learned how to use it and tried it with a program from a book. Fortran. Still have that book and the first program I wrote. I was hooked and new it from the first. Still working in the field today.

pete.bos
pete.bos

In the late 70s worked on oil rigs with plenty of spare time and a HP 9825 (language HPL, great!) so as entertainment. Later (early-mid 80) found that I could do things better myself with dBaseIII/Clipper than what was then available commercially. It also impressed collegues and the boss. Same now (but less often) in VB6 (yes still!) and VBA in Excel.)

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

have the skill to post at the correct level of a discussion. This post, if correct, should have been at the foot of the tree but I choose to post it here to highlight the point. Would not trust these jokers above with a basic IF, THEN, ELSE.

Snak
Snak

and often constructed little boxes that did various jobs. Then some idiot published a circuit diagram of an 8-bit computer..... I realised that I no longer had to design boxes to do things. Here was I box I could tell what to be!

dford
dford

I have a vague memory of a small printed circuit board with an RCA 1802, 1K ram, a keypad and a display. - It did nothing till you typed a program into it. After that I seem to recall a (cloned) Apple II - I couldn't afford the Apple disc drive but I managed to acquire an 8 inch floppy with its own power supply so I built a plugin card with a disk controlled and wrote my own DOS It was a long time ago!

p.j.hutchison
p.j.hutchison

I got interested in computers in the early 80s with loads of different 8bit computers around and only small amounts of software around. Most computers came with a variation of BASIC installed. I learned Basic with a old book called BBC's 12 Hour Basic (a black ring bound book) which was excellent and so I could write my own applications such as databases, games and utilities. Learnt loads more since.

ade.fell
ade.fell

my first computer (an Acorn Electron) came with an excellent version of BASIC and a decent BASIC manual. I soon realised writing my own little games was more fun than playing most of the commercial games I could buy.

KSoniat
KSoniat

Yep, it happens. I got the degree when most people didn't have them - they just slid into it from other areas. Of course I won't point out you did the same with your card reader driver a few years before I entered school. Oops, I guess I just did! ;)

Prague
Prague

I too had a teletype terminal connected to a GE timesharing system. I learned an early BASIC to create a randomized poetry generator, creating a parts of speach catalog and different line schemes. What a renegade I was!

pete.bos
pete.bos

Right, like hitting a flint on the side of a matchbox, or trying to stuff a match in lighter as fuel!

dtec
dtec

I programmed the Big-Trac to go through its routines even before the c-64.

ncubezedm
ncubezedm

Fell in love after doing a bit of HTML, Javascript, SQL at varsity (we start a lot late in third world than first world)...when i started work at a GIS company saw how programming made repitive task easier...i never looked back...from VBA...to VB.NET....to FLEX>>>Several javascript APIs....they get me drooling.....its been two years now....still loving it...next to tackle Java

klmorse
klmorse

I was teaching high school mathematics in 1978-79. I gave my grade nine math option class a video about computers. It was the old reel to reel setup with computers that encompassed the major part of the floor of a building. I was totally inspired. The following summer I returned to the city and enrolled in a night course in the Assembler language. I moved a month before the course was over and planned to return to write the final exam. The instructor told me I would never pass. I got 100% on my final exam and I knew this was for me.

Mark Miller
Mark Miller

I really liked your train analogy to programming, and I think it's quite appropriate for beginners. Just imagine if in response to the tone of a kind of bar (or heck, maybe a pin sticking up out of it) the engine toggled between reverse and forward. That would be coming close to a Turing machine! (though to really make a Turing machine the engine or some mechanism attached to it would have to be able to replace bars with new ones, and change direction depending on what note it heard) This reminds me of an experiment a Smalltalker talked about doing with Squeak EToys a few years ago. He said that Squeak had a (virtual) musical keyboard in it. He painted a train engine in EToys, wrote a little code to make the engine "press" keys on the musical keyboard when it encountered them. Then he ran his virtual engine over the keyboard, and it played a scale.

jose.a.nunez
jose.a.nunez

The fact is that, I saw a newspaper ad about MAI BASIC FOUR classes when I was ten. It called my attention so when I was 12 I started to go to the public library to read about programming (Basic) and literally imagine how my programs would run (I did not own a computer at that time)... It was just my passion, not only to program, but also to understand computers and make them work for me.

safnate
safnate

I also enrolled in a Information Technology Diploma at TUT (Tshwane University Of Technology) in 2004 and we had to choose between 3 areas of study [Web, Software, Support]. I choose Web Developement. As everything was Java....Java....I started with Visual Basic .Net. I didn't even know how to switch Off my pc, just turn off my monitor and leave.LOL, Every1 hate it. Now i am hooked.

systems
systems

I enrolled in a Science Degree at Melboune Uni in 1986 and we had to choose four areas of study. I choose maths, chemistry and physics. For me the fourth option came down to biology or computer science. I didnt even know how to turn on a computer back then but was very quickly hooked.

Transplanted Texan
Transplanted Texan

The same teacher that bored me to death with Algebra II was teaching a Comp.Sci. course my senior year. We programmed in BASIC on Apple IIs. When I went to college, I stepped backwards, a bit, hacking out code on a punch card machine. There were only two dummy terminals (Cande) connected to the mainframe. Twenty-five of us had to wait our turn. I've dabbled in Assembler, Cobol & RPG. I never finished my prog. degree and dropped out of school after 3 1/2 years (my job was killing me with overtime). I entered the Admin./Comp. Oper. field and stayed there until 2002. A job listed as 'Admin. Asst.' morphed into something much more technical. I re-entered the prog. field like gang-busters and wondered why I ever left. Now, I'm a web programmer and database management (I wear two hats). I've had lots of fun with HTML, XHTML, CSS & some Javascript. I'm learning XML, Flash & VBA. I'd love to jump into Cold Fusion, PHP, Perl and anything else I can get my hands on. I've used Dreamweaver & FrontPage. Sometimes, it's just fun to hack out code on Notepad2.

davalop
davalop

Started my BMath at University of Waterloo in 1968. One of the mandatory courses was "Fortran IV with WATFOR" - course was taught by Graham (one of the authors of the course text). Was hooked half-way through the first lecture - still developing today.

mrmfoster
mrmfoster

I'm glad someone else has mentioned the good old Acorn with its hot keys for all your keyword so you knock out a program in no time. Your right about the manual - easy to read and follow. Basically the same as the BBC's that we had at school so I made good use of my time making rude comments about the teachers scroll past on the screen.

danap
danap

My Radio Shack TRS-80 introduced me to BASIC. It was just fun for its own sake. Also a book about building - and programming - your own robot got me interested. It wasn't until years later that I actually made a career of it, though.

cyberwiz888-tech
cyberwiz888-tech

I paid $99 for a Timex Sinclare computer. When I got it hook up to the TV all it did was say OK from an otherwise blank screen. I didn't even know what OK meant.

Shaunny Boy
Shaunny Boy

My ambition was to become a games developer for the likes of Codemasters, who I still adore to this day. The thing that hampered it for me was first of all, the applied maths and physics needed went way over my head. So I thought to give it a couple more years after gaining some experience in programming, but then I heard that games developers didn't get much more in terms of accolade and salary than say a e-solutions developer, or any other lateral in computing. Even some IT support roles, which alot require way less technical depth were competing with stature. Now with recent news about said companies struggling financially due to falling sales on projects that have gone on for over 5 years, only the most hardcore coders, (which I humbly admit I am not!) would pursue a career in games development. I'm satisfied with just being a e-solutions specialist for now, as I believe it's an industry that is so wide, saturation would be almost impossible, so the demands are always there. Plus it's an industry that moves so dynamically, I find myself never bored of learning about new technologies. Roll on the next .com bubble!

marco_faustinelli
marco_faustinelli

Same story in my case. I bought a C64 and enjoyed immensely programming in BASIC. Did lots of calculus+drawing stuff to speed up my study of functions at high school. Lots of PEEK and POKE, lots of fun. A nice day to all of you, Marco

zenoscope
zenoscope

My first computer was a vic 20, lol. My friend and I would get books ourt of the library about basic, though most of it didn't work and we didn't get very far. My next computer I pulled apart after a few months (I used to pull apart clocks and radio's too, so I was kind of scared it wouldn't go back together!). I do a bit of scripting for work in vbs and dos, and at home in bash.

hwpratt
hwpratt

Bought an early Apple II computer ... software do to what I needed was not available, so I just dug into it and got the job done.

AlphaCentauri
AlphaCentauri

Started in school in the UK. We wrote fortran progs, pop II also. I used fortran to solve my physics homework questions. We used punched cards, and used to take them down to imperial college in the center of london to have them run. The guys there even let us read the source code to the IBM mainframe OS. Thats what got me into real-time OS, and finally into kernel development. Spent 14 years doing unix internals, then gave it up for web program just to do something different.

Simply Dope
Simply Dope

Wow, that sounds like my experience and exact thoughts.

cliff
cliff

My first computer was actually an Atari 800XL, but the first machine I programmed was the C64. I had to know how programs worked, and it led me to assembly language programming, which taught me how the hardware worked. Man, you haven't exercised patience until you've loaded a program to a cassette tape, or logged onto a BBS at 300 baud.

tony
tony

I developed a lot of BASIC programming skills on the C64 while I was still in middle school. It paid off though as I progressed through high school and I was way ahead of the gang at tech school. I have to admit though, it wasn't my first programming experience. Originally I had a Radio Shack MC10 and programmed in TRS BASIC and saved the programs cassette tape through the mic input and retreived them through the headphone output:)

Cherlphil
Cherlphil

Yep, my husband & I bought an early Commodore 64 (4 dig S/N!)there were no commercial programs available for it - if you didn't program, it didn't do anything! Fortunately he had learned Basic in college, so he taught me.

patrick
patrick

It really got me interested in programming. I enjoyed it and it was fun.

segriboz
segriboz

It happened just the same for me too. Also the best friend of mine since 4 years old became a programmer in the same way when we were 11 years old :-) when programming was more than playing a game to us!! Sefik Egriboz

steve
steve

The Sinclair Spectrum - truly where computing for the masses started. Cost me ?48 and 11 million sold, copied all around the East & called Timex in U.S. At least that was the first 3G language where i wrote serious programmes. The first computer I played at programming with was a Cambridge build it yourself project, my brother built the electronics, when he passed it on to me i played with machine code - Red LED display, 1KB memory - that is one kilobyte!! & a keypad 1-0 A-F & i've fiddled with Fortran, Forth and FourGL, Cobol (a real favourite) Z80 MC, Programming fascinates me - shame i don't do it for a job any more..

martyn
martyn

Built a TIC-TAC-TOE machine out of matchboxes and colored beads. Wrote a program on paper tape to optimize machine, then I was hooked.

BOUND4DOOM
BOUND4DOOM

Cept I didn't buy it I was 7, friends older brother bought one for work, we confiscated it when ever he wasn't home to play things like Ultima. But we quickly learned how to program. I had an uncle who was an Admin for a company that had an IBM 360. Then in high school I got let out of study hall to go work on the Apple ]['s and the TRS 80's there to help keep them running. So really I got into it because it was a way to earn a living doing what I loved to do and came naturally to me.

tnt_85
tnt_85

I also played with an Atari 400 and Atari 800. I was amazed that I could get to a prompt on that machine and program to my heart's content. Fun indeed.

aardvark92
aardvark92

My parents bought a TRS-80 when I was 11. I spent many hours playing with it, pushing the limits of BASIC, to see what I could make it do. I've been hooked ever since.

jon.kiddy
jon.kiddy

At 8 yrs old, my father bought an Apple II E and put it in our living room. Looking back, I get the impression he bought it simply to tell others he had it. As for me, I became obsessed. Good memories with spaghetti GOTO code. I didn't seek formal training (books, programming buddies, etc) until late high school.

john.hollenberg
john.hollenberg

I went into programming in the early 80's. with a job in an automated plant. beside i was radioamateur and was practising morsecode. get a computercourse a went from kim to ibm to commodore's 20 and 64, the (immitation) pc couldn't afford a real one. and went form basic to pascal to c and everything programmable. still do some c and html/php programming. evaluation: if there isn't a problem I find one and make a program to solve it.