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Because I needed a job and there was good money to be made in IT
I actually learned on the job (and in my spare time after I got my first job).
I liked it, it kind of stuck, and I've been doing it happily ever after
The year was 1992. It was DOS on a IBM386. My dad was a programmer back then, so I learned a few nifty things using his class notes...I ended up studying it in college after my hopes to pursue a career in aviation got crushed. But hey, 10 years into doing this for a living, no regrets!
Because this world needs more people doing good things to make a difference.
// ♫ 99 little bugs in the code,
// 99 bugs in the code
// We fix a bug, compile it again
// 101 little bugs in the code ♫
Tell your manager, while you code: "good, cheap or fast: pick two. "
I was 10y old. In primary school. My neighbor got a British made ZX Spectrum microcomputer. I consider the day he brought it to my place the luckiest in my life. That night, knowing only five BASIC commands - LET, INPUT, PRINT, GOTO (yes!), and IF - I wrote my first code. On paper, using graphite pencil, of course. And I knew this was what I wanted to do.
Why? Were you ever asked by your girlfriend or your wife (or both?) why you love her ( of course you were -- it's a standard let's have a fight trap ) Not an easy question to answer. I suppose it is the creation of new, the individual self- dependency, the freedom to do whatever you want and the responsibility to fix bugs, the adolescent loneliness, the instant gratification of software - simply a good match to our characters.
Later in life I met a lot of people who never found themselves. Never knew what they want to do in life. It lead to realization of how lucky I was. Life gives you many boons and bones. But it's all easier if you have passion for your work. We, who do, are the lucky ones. We are the privileged few.
When: In 1980, our high school was picked as one of the 'test' high schools in the province to have computers: 3 Commodore PETS - 16K models.
Pretty much self-taught on Commodore BASIC and then 6502 Assembler.
Why: I had taken a data processing course before where we studied the history of computers, then, in the last term, we wrote programs using mark-sense cards. That peaked my interest.
From there... it was college and over 30 years of professional work.
I started in high school back in 1979 when I was a junior. We had three teletypes connected via modem (rotary dial phones and acoustic couplers) to the minicomputers across town at UND. The actual computers were a PDP-8 and a PDP-12 and we were learning BASIC. They wouldn't let us save anything on the computers but the teletypes were able to punch holes in paper tapes and read them. In my senior year they actually got an Apple II. I spent a lot of time in the computer lab and found that I really liked working with the computers. After I graduated from high school we moved down to Florida and I went to college. I just really enjoyed working with computers and I was able to get paid doing it as well. It's always nice when you can get paid for doing something that you like doing.
I saw a computer at a trade fair when I was a child and even it was green letters in black background I had it clear I loved that...
I started at an academy when I was 9... since then I've never stopped.
I started professionally at 1998 (some years before I did small jobs in different companies but the first serious thing was 1998). I specialized in the industrial/mechanical environment where robots and special machines live...
I started learning to code in 1977, when my stepfather bought a COSMAC ELF[^] single-board computer. It ran a 6502 processor with 2K of RAM. Our ELF was a deluxe model, and included a hex keypad for program entry. We found a Tiny BASIC interpreter that only took 1.5K of RAM. Adding a KSR-33 teletype gave us text I/O, and we were in business. I learned BASIC and wrote a lot of programs on that thing.
For the "WHY", we have to go back a lot further to the early 60's. We always watched the Gemini and Apollo launches. While the launch itself was great, I was mainly fascinated by the control room video and the idea that such machines were controlled by people pushing buttons on a panel. I eventually learned about computers being at the heart of things, and it's been all downhill ever since .
About 1975 and I thought it would be a useful skill as computers were going to be everywhere. Started on a dial up to the local university, with BASIC. My school had a teletype that we used to communicate with the HP mini at the OU.
1980, Commodore 64s and a TRaSh-80 in math class, 11th grade. It was fun. Wrote an Asteroids style game on the 64. It was crude and sooooo slooooow but cheaper than 25 cents for the real thing!
Now I do programming for the money and it's still fairly fun. Outside of work, I don't much like computers.
1973 - HP 2000C timeshare on an ASR-33 terminal.
I loved the Star Trek game and wanted to learn how to create my own.
Went over to the University Bookstore in LaCrosse, WI and bought the programming reference manual.
We had 8k of ram and 100k of program storage and kept our own programs on punched paper tape. Still have the Star Trek game on a roll of punched paper tape.
When: 1979, High School
What: Ohio Scientific Challenger II microcomputer, BASIC
Why: Video games were COOL even if the best that could be achieved was a CARET firing a PERIOD at an X!
Result: College degrees, but never published a game. I'm more DBA than coder these days, but it has been a fascinating journey that I have loved and continue to love everyday!
I wrote a FORTRAN program in high school to calculate chess moves. It was an eight-level nested loop. My Dad had to punch it in cards to run on an IBM 360. Somehow, he came up with the program needing more seconds to run than there are atoms in the universe. From there I went on to learn IBM 360 machine and assembly language and got access to a large mainframe to make the bell ring.
My WHY is that computers were cool, and might somehow help me with physics to build my flying saucer. Later, the WHY was changed to helping our country be more of a democracy than a republic, then changed to simply manage work flow in offices. Now, my WHY is to keep my health care after retirement.
I started with a commodore 64 and basic, moved to a Tandy with basic. Maybe 1980? I was fascinated and took all the basic programming classes in Junior High and High School. Majored in Math in college and took all the programming classes they offered, all the guys in the class were spending 20-30 completely the Pascal coding assignments at one point and it was just so easy for me. I loved it! In those days I was the only girl in the class, but I grew up on a construction site working for my dad. I was in my zone! Programming was a big puzzle and still is, and yelling at the code when it doesn't do what I want is a bonus... because that just means I need to figure out what I am actually telling it to do. I stay a programmer because I love the challenge!
In 1978 at college I made my first contact with a computer and programming language, BASIC. I didn't get it, failed. Then in 1980 at a different college I took a FORTRAN class, got the technical aspect of it, aced all the tests, but had to use punch cards to produce programs, which was a pain, so I 'borrowed' punch card stacks. Again, didn't really get into the whole computer and programming thing. Jump forward to 1986, after changing schools again and changing majors from Aeronautical Engineering to Electrical Engineering to Architecture to Art to Forestry then to Jewery/Silversmithing, thru a few part time jobs, in and out of college then back in, I came to the realization that my brother graduated in CompSci and was making good coin. So my whole reasoning for jumping back into CompSci/programming was "If my brother can do it and make money then I can to." No other reason. So I reluctantly jumped back in, had courses in BASIC, Pascal, Assembler on DEC-PDP11 w/ giant floppy disks, C, but what really REALLY hooked me was a graphics class using Turbo Pascal on a PC. I could visibly see results from my coding efforts. So after 10 years of wandering the planet I finally graduated in 1988 in CompSci, and now 30 years later, I still code C/C++, creating data entry tools that generate code for others so they don't have to. Which is really sad they miss out on programming but that's a whole new topic...
I learned to program on a HP 2115 minicomputer whose primary IO methods were paper tape and a teletype. One evening while trying to get something to work, I typed "why" at the command prompt. The computer replied "Why not". Since HP published the source code for the basic OS (HP Assembly Language), I dove in to see if I could find where "why" was being parsed as a legal command. As I remember, it was very well obfuscated using octal constants for both data and executable code.
I guess I'll have to go with the HP2115's answer to the question Why? Why not!
I designed and built a ADC card. We were recording nerve signals on a high quality multi-channel analog tape recorder, playing it back into the computer at 1/16 speed and doing FFTs and correlations to see how the nerves encoded information.