I’m a long time developer. Now approaching 42 years of age, I’ve been writing code since I was 18. Perhaps earlier if you can count crufty attempts to write my own version of Tron on the Commodore Vic 20. But less said about that the better!
I started out using a 4GL called ‘TAS’ which was a fine little language and great to get started on. When I first used it, I was doing a clerical job, ordering food for a retail chain’s central warehouse. Some programmers who were subcontracting to the company left the manuals around, I picked them up and stayed late, and implemented a system to help do my regular day job. Turned a 6 day a week job into a 2 day a week job, and improved the performance of the warehouse in terms of stock levels. When I presented it to my boss, his said ‘so what’, so I asked the programmers if I could have a job, and they were happy to take me on. I’ve not looked back since.
I quickly then turned to the C language, and that has been my mainstay since. Most other ‘modern’ languages are syntactically very similar to C, and so I’ve never had much difficulty converting. I never really for into C++, mainly because one major project that lasted for about 10 years required complete portability across DOS, Windows and Unix systems, and C was really the only standard at the time. I did all sorts of weird and wondering things though, often implementing object-oriented programming approaches in C where they made sense.
The product was successful enough that it led to the business being acquired by an American company that was expanding into Europe. I stayed on a for about 3 years until I got thoroughly fed up with corporate life – it was probably the least productive period of my working life. I don’t regret doing it, but do I had not lost the focus on development.
For the last 12 years I’ve worked for myself, doing whatever I can with computers to make a living. I’ve done less development, and more IT consultancy in that period, but I still itch to create wonderful things in code. Maybe iPhone development will be the next chapter in my life as a developer.