Michael Eaton started a meme with the question: How did you get started in software development?

Yesterday Matt Berseth tagged me in his post, so it’s now my turn to answer the questions and tag other bloggers:

How old were you when you started programming?

While probably most developers started programming at the primary school, I started using computers for more than playing games at my first course at the university in ‘93, when I was 19 years old. Actually it was even the first time I turned on a x86 PC: I used to play games on the Amiga. (Same thing as the last year meme 5 things you don’t know about me)

How did you get started in programming?

As said a few lines above, I started programming at my first course at the university: Fondamenti d’Informatica (roughly translated to Foundations of Computer Science, but it was more about programming than about general CompSci). I got in love with programming, and I passed the exam with the highest mark (in Italy its 30 e lode, which could translate to A+) and, since the exam included a project to be developed at home, I also helped other classmates with their projects (actually for that exam I developed 4 different projects). I even changed my university major: I started university with Science of Composite Materials, and after a few years I decided that all that math, physics, chemistry was not my cup my of tea, and I switched over to Computer Engineering.

What was your first language?

The language used in my class was ANSI C.

What was the first real program you wrote?

The first project I built for my first course at university was a “real” program: it was a program that took a text file with notes and the note files, and it printed a paper organizing the pages so that a note was in the same page as the reference to it. But if real means something not built at school I think it was an application to manage the training of the MTB racing team I was part of.

What languages have you used since you started programming?

In order of appearance in my programming life: C, Paradox, HTML, Javascript, ColdFusion, Livewire (a server-side javascript framework that ran on Netscape Enterprise Server), ASP Classic, ActionScript, Lingo, VBScript, VB6, Java and then, since 2001 mainly C# and ASP.NET. Lately I also played a bit with Ruby and Objective-C to develop things on the Mac.

What was your first professional programming gig?

I joined Esperia in February ‘98, while I was at the university, and I was the only developer/sysadmin of this web agency startup together with a designer and the account/owner. We grew from a 3 man band, to 60 employees and then, after the web bubble in 2001, we went back to 15 people. I worked with that company for a bit less then 7 years, till the end of ‘06, when I quit to move to New Zealand.

If you knew then what you know now, would you have started programming?

Definitely… the best part of programming is that you never stop learning new things.

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

When students come from university the think they know everything because the studied all the theoretical stuff and they know how to code. But sooner they realize that linked lists, binary trees and bubble sort algorithm are never used in real programming. But what you don’t learn at the university is how to interact with team members, how to cope with the managers and most of all, learn to be humble and self-critic: there will always be someone smarter then you, and in programming there lots of things to learn everyday. If you are not willing to do this, don’t take this career path.

What's the most fun you've ever had ... programming?

I have fun every time I’m programming, except when I’m working on obsolete technologies (like VB6) or things I’m not interested in (like Reporting Services or Sharepoint). But in the last few years the funniest part of my programming life is sharing my experiences and findings with my blog, delivering speeches and presentations, discussing about technologies and practices with friends and colleagues.

Now, let’s tag someone else

First of all I want to thank Matt for tagging me and sending me back to my first days of programming.

I’m tagging:

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