So Mike knows that some of us were band dorks (and orch dorks too!) and some of us still play some kind of musical instrument. But he wants to know his Twitter peeps’ software development stories. So I figured I’d play – let’s explore Sarah’s steps into software development.

How old were you when you started programming?
I was 13 years old.

How did you get started in programming?
In 8th grade, we had to learn some kind of BASIC (Applesoft?) programming on Apple IIEs. My teacher made a comment to me that I picked it up quicker than a lot of my classmates. That was probably the first time I realized that I had a lot of potential to run with.

Ahh, the days of …

20 GR

What was your first language?
Applesoft BASIC?

What was the first real program you wrote?
Address Keeper, under the guise of Sarahwares Productions. It was an address book program written in VB with Access as the database. People actually downloaded it from NoNags and used it! (And as I tried to look up the old link for it, I came across this link to a post I wrote awhile back.)

What languages have you used since you started programming?

Strictly in the classroom: FORTRAN, Lisp, Smalltalk, C++, Assembly Language (MASM), ML, Ada

Outside of the classroom (professionally or personally): PHP, SQL (MySQL, PostGres, Oracle, MS SQL), Squeak, Perl, Java, Javascript, JScript, HTML, XML, XHTML, QBASIC, Visual Basic, VB.NET, C#, VBScript, VBA (ha!), FoxPro (before VFP)

What was your first professional programming gig?

First programming position: Right out of high school, I landed an internship with Bell & Howell, building a VB data entry app that would interface with their MS SQL Server databases. I learned a lot from there, as they were primarily a Unix house, and I had 0 prior experience at that time. I wish I could find the contractor I worked with back then – he was an awesome guy to learn from, and he was very encouraging, so that always helped. So if any of you know a guy named Rich Woodland with a British accent, tell him to check out my site!

First programming position out of college: My first job out of college didn’t get into programming – that was my foray into technical support and eventually management. My second job out of college, though, got me back into some dev work. My job title was “Systems Support Analyst” or something like that, but I wore a lot of hats in that job, including developer. When I started, there were 2 of us (out of a 4-person team) that did development – mostly maintaining Access programs and upgrading some to VB6/SQL apps. When my lead left, I ended up getting her workload as well, which meant more SQL development, more report writing, and more VB6 apps to take care of.

If you knew then what you know now, would you have started programming?
Definitely! I see this more as a creative outlet for me, and knowing what I know now, there’s a lot more for me to work with on my palette.

If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new developers, what would it be?
If you get the chance to get involved in the community, run with it. Attend Days of .Net, local user group meetings, and other developer events in your community. If you don’t have any going on, get a bunch of other devs together and plan one! (That’s how Cleveland Day of .NET came to be!) Network with the community, as you never know where it will lead or who you will meet.

What’s the most fun you’ve ever had… programming?

Check out this previous post.

Now, I’m just as curious as Mike about my readers and Twitter friends. I read a lot of blogs, but I don’t know their backgrounds either. So let me learn more about you guys! Answer these questions on your blog and link back here or at the original post!