5 Replies Latest reply on Jun 29, 2017 12:00 AM by PhilWilkins

    Career Genesis: When Did You Know You Wanted to be a Software Developer?

    Bob Rhubart-Oracle

      code_baby_350.pngUnless you have special Dr. Strange-like superpowers, you did not suddenly, magically appear in your current career incarnation. This moment in your career is the latest point on a continuing timeline that started a long time ago, though probably not in a galaxy far, far away. (If I'm wrong on that last point, we really need to talk!) For this particular discussion I want you to rewind your personal and professional history to identify that moment when you first knew that you wanted to develop software, and then answer as many of the following questions as your time and patience allows:

       

      • How old were you when you first realized that you wanted to create software?
      • What inspired that realization? A person? A book? A movie? A video game?
      • When did you write your first bit of code? What was the purpose of the software?
      • Did you study computer science or programming in college? What was your major?
      • How does what you are doing now differ from what you thought you'd be doing when you first started?

       

      Your responses will provide background for an upcoming Oracle Magazine article, and may be quoted in that article (with full attribution, of course).

       

      In order to be considered for inclusion in the article, responses must be posted by Wednesday July 5, 2017.

        • 1. Re: Career Genesis: When Did You Know You Wanted to be a Software Developer?
          luisweir

          Hi Bob

           

          below my answers:

           

          • How old were you when you first realized that you wanted to create software? R. I was around 8 or 9. I started programming in LOGO. I was always fascinated by computers and after bothering my mom so much to buy me one, she actually enrolled me into this logo course to see if I was really up for it. Well I was . Logo was a great introductory language as it was quite rewarding to visualise graphics resulting from command lines.

           

          • What inspired that realization? A person? A book? A movie? A video game? It wasn't in one or in one go. There were few key moments I can remember. I guess the person that inspired me the most was my uncle Jorge (who recently died of Cancer). He was an expert in financial models and used Excel/Macros to implement all sorts of mathematical algorithms for cost/risk calculations. He helped me a lot during university to program with my scientific calculator and rapidly solved different mathematical and physic problems (can't remember now the details though!). But also during my university times, around year 2000, I started a website (kind-of a rudimentary version of Facebook) with a friend of mine in Caracas, and during this time I got exposed to languages such as HTML, CSS, Javascript and also Macromedia flash. During this period, I still remember this site called eyes4u.com which had a superb flash animation (at the time, most sites were static) so I really got into flash. In fact, some of my projects are still online! check this out: Movies >> 3D >> Effects: Real Touch Sequence - Flash Kit and Movies >> 3D >> Effects: Partial Virtual Tour with Zoom - Flash Kit

                 

          • When did you write your first bit of code? What was the purpose of the software? Since early age, but professionally (meaning I was earning money from it) it was during university. I was writing code in several languages and for different purposes. For my university in Caracas, I was writing applications in Macromedia Flash / Actionscript and PHP (i.e. things like Virtual Tours for the university, or departamental websites and others), I also had a part time job with one of the largest life stocks companies in country writing software in Visual FoxPro 7 and 8 for a system to actually manage their cattle (they had around 60 thousand of them, and about 130 thousand hectares of land.. so yes, they needed software to help with the management), in this job I also designed and developed the companies website in LAMP (Linux-Apache-Mysql-PHP), and as a side business I was building websites and web applications in LAMP as well to multiple companies out there. In fact, after I finished my university I formalised my own business which earned me enough money to pay for my masters education in Valencia/Spain. It is after my Masters when I first got exposed to Oracle middleware.

           

          • Did you study computer science or programming in college? What was your major? I studied Electronics Engineering, so did a lot of low-level programming, mainly in assembler and C. But in parallel (as mentioned earlier) I was building websites and web-apps. My masters was in Computer Science (systems integrations) though.

           

          • How does what you are doing now differ from what you thought you'd be doing when you first started? Not at all. I am doing what I always wanted to do. I have the job I always dreamt of, which is probably why I dedicated so many hours to it and put so much passion into it as well
          • 2. Re: Career Genesis: When Did You Know You Wanted to be a Software Developer?
            Rolando Carrasco

            Hi Bob.

             

            Here are my answers.

             

            How old were you when you first realized that you wanted to create software?

            A. I think it was in the elementary school.  I used to have a class where we learned a very basic language by the name Logo. I just got along with it very fast. I kind of had the feeling that I could do more with it and by the time I entered to the junior high I was eager to have my programming  classes. I used to have Visual Basic classes and there was where I realized that I wanted to do that for a living.

            Then in college I leared PASCAL, C, PROLOG and JAVA. I basically wanted to program as much as I could when I had the chance to look for a part-time job I looked for one related with programming.

             

            • What inspired that realization? A person? A book? A movie? A video game?

            A. I can say that Intellivision was a major influence. My dad bought to my familly an Intellivision and I used to play with it a lot, but with a lot I mean 4-5 hours a day.

            That was during my childhood, which also had that moment of the first Tron movie during the 80s, that I also liked it a lot. So that can be another influence.

            And then in junior high and in college, a couple of teachers gave me the last push to realized what I wante to be in terms of programming

            And when I got a job in HP, I met a person who I really felt defined my career, he is: Juan Meza.

             

            • When did you write your first bit of code? What was the purpose of the software?

            A. During the elementary school with Logo. And then in junior high I coded several mini games, calculators and that kind of stuff.

            In college I programmed a compiler, a chess game, master mind game and several mini projects. In college was the decisive momment when I really learned to code with order, not just for entertainment.

             

            • Did you study computer science or programming in college? What was your major?

            A. Yes. I studied computer science. I am an engineer in computer science by Universidad Iberoamericana here in Mexico

             

            • How does what you are doing now differ from what you thought you'd be doing when you first started?

            A. Not that much. I always imagined myself working for companies solving this type of issues. When I started to work for HP back in 2001 and had my first contact with Web Services, XML and integration itself I really thought that I had to be very profficient around those topics and that those technologies will give me the edge to work for other major companies such as Oracle.

            • 3. Re: Career Genesis: When Did You Know You Wanted to be a Software Developer?
              Martien van den Akker

              Hi Bob,

               

              • How old were you when you first realized that you wanted to create software? It was 30 years ago, when I was about 15. I was drawn to the mystical idea that you can have a machine do what  you want it to do in a creative way.
              • What inspired that realization? A person? A book? A movie? A video game? The mere availabilty of home computers. i saw one in a post-order magazine, my cousins had a ZX spectrum, many school friends had a Commodore 64, but one uncle had a Goldstar MSX1. i ended up to buy a Toshiba MXS 1, with a great Basic (from Microsoft). A year or 2 later, i got a Sony MSX2.
              • When did you write your first bit of code? What was the purpose of the software? First it was Basic programs, mainly to learn how to get certain things done. like drawin Sprite graphics on the screen end reading the mouse and have it influence the location of cursors or Sprites. Also I typed over Basic programs like a database program or games from a magazine. In college I learned (Turbo)Pascal, C and assembly, to interface with electronic devices.
              • Did you study computer science or programming in college? What was your major? In College I started with technical physics, with differentiation in Meassurement and Control technology. Then i did an extra graduation/differentiation in Technical Computerscience. So it was all quite interestingly low level.
              • How does what you are doing now differ from what you thought you'd be doing when you first started? After I got released from my Military Duties (one of the last in the Netherlands) I got to work as a Cobol programmer and systems analyst (So had to learn that too). But after 3,5 years I got bored with Cobol, and wanted to learn something new. So I got to join Oracle Consulting. There I learned Pl/sql, Forms and Designer. Via Streams AQ, Oracle Workflow, InterConnect and the dawn of Oracle BPEL and SOA Suite, I'm now into Fusion Middleware: SOASuite, BPM Suite, OSB, Weblogic and Cloud: ICS&PCS. So not so low-level as in College, no affinity with physics, but still quite technical. But I still enjoying the mystics of having machines do what you want them to do.

              Regards,

              Martien

              • 4. Re: Career Genesis: When Did You Know You Wanted to be a Software Developer?
                Maarten Smeets

                Hi Bob,

                 

                Below my answers. Since it is more or less chronological I made a little story of it and did not split up the individual questions.

                 

                My first tryout programs where 27 years ago (when I was 8yo) on an MSX2 typing BASIC code samples from a book. I enjoyed changing little things and see at what happened when I ran it. The first samples were coding graphics (lines, squares, circles and such) and later I started creating little games. When I was around 13 years old, I started playing with Linux and C/C++. I went to university at the age of 18 and have a major in neuroscience and ethology, did 2 internships, at a molecular genetics department (‘big data’) and at a theoretical biology department (simulating fish school behavior and doing statistics). At the time I considered IT like a tool to achieve a goal. Not a goal in its own. That's why I did not choose to study informatics. Biology is quite diverse, from being in nature observing birds to researching deceases in hospitals. At first didn't like the idea of ending up at a desk job. During my study I worked at a small insurance company doing all their IT, from website, workstation management to configuring a Linux mail server to writing integrations with other insurance companies. I realized I could not get myself motivated by doing research alone (+ did not like the lab work) and I did like the more concrete challenges at the insurance company. I wanted to create something and have people be happy about that. Also a biology department is not the best location to learn IT and I wanted to grow in the area. That's why after finishing university, I decided to work at a consulting company which had many experienced people and encountered Oracle for the first time. Integration is an area which also provides a lot of diversity. I eventually did end up at a desk job but going to different customers and picking different topics of interest, keeps it interesting.

                 

                With kind regards,

                Maarten

                • 5. Re: Career Genesis: When Did You Know You Wanted to be a Software Developer?
                  PhilWilkins
                  • How old were you when you first realized that you wanted to create software?

                  I first tinkered around with coding the age of 14. I played Dungeons & Dragons and going through the books to get the details on the different monsters as tedious and I wanted to use the computer to make it easier. I didn't get far at the time -  not really committed to it. I'd get too distracted with playing games,

                  • What inspired that realization? A person? A book? A movie? A video game?

                  I drifted into development as my father was an IT director, and saw it as a job that paid well, and didnt find it particuarly taxing. The serious realizationm and inspiration hit when I was working with a contractor early in my engineering apprenticeship. He took the time to find challenges within the development work we had that got me thinking beyond  mechanical basic coding to properly crafting and applying myself to structures and what we would now call patterns.  The penny dropped one day when we’re looking at about 20k lines of code; I was convinced I could make far more efficient and maintainable. I was told feel free to try but attempts to do it without adversly affecting the realtime performance needs hadnt been successful.  Two days later – 20k was 400 lines, and meant that we could reconfigure inter compute blade comms without recompiling all the nodes to accommodate changes and still retained the performance.

                  • When did you write your first bit of code? What was the purpose of the software?

                  My first professional software was for radar.  With the stringent requirements - you quickly learnt by experiencing Fagan reviews (peer code reviews) to write clean, standards compliant code with thought to all the unhappy paths along with test cases that covered everything. If you didnt the review experience could pretty embaressing and conversly when you've been coding a few months and people who have been doing it for years could not find fault and admitted as much was a real buzz.

                  • Did you study computer science or programming in college? What was your major?

                  I did an Engineering Apprenticeship, so I  had a year of general engineering training from microcircuit design & fabrication to precision machining of mechanical gearing. Then 2 more years working as a junior developer 4 days a week, with 1 day to study for an Higher National Diploma (comparable to a non honours degree). Packing what a fulltime student did in a week into one 12 hour day of lectures was pretty demanding.

                  • How does what you are doing now differ from what you thought you'd be doing when you first started?

                  When it comes to coding after over 20 years, I've gone from Ada, to C, C++, Java (dipping on an out of C#’ Node.js, JavaScript, fortran, cobol, Modula 2) and not much has changed in many respects. I still think the best developers are those who appreciate what is happening to the memory, CPU, compiler and network (pass by preference & value; shared memory and semaphores, threading & concurrency; network latency and packet switching). When I started people like Grady Booch where just breaking ground with pattern thinking, now we have a lot more. The use of frameworks, larger building blocks (J2EE, Spring & Springboot, ERPs) and more abstracting patterns ( MVVM, MVC) have changed the landscape. But we style go through cycles of framework complexity (4GLs, C, J2EE, microservices) We can apply more abstraction now as the compute power has changed so much. I code a lot less and design a lot more, and can think more about the big problems - scale, resilience, security.