How did you guys learn to program?



  •  I'm just curious about whether most of you learned in school or whether you learned on your own.  If you learned in school did you learn enough?

    I'm finishing an associates degree after the next semester before moving on to a university.  In the entire curriculum we only have two programming classes and we never got past chapter five during the first class.   I think I know more about c++ than Java just from reading this book    and Java is the only language we are covering.  At the same time it still takes me a while to figure out the WTF's on the main page if I don't give up and just read the comments to see what is going on.  Should I be doing more?



  • Once you are in a university you will have plenty of projects and courses to keep you busy learning.  Then afterwords if you get a job programming you'll learn a ton more.  I personally think the conceptual, design, and process things they teach in college is very useful even if you don't use it everyday at work.



  • I got a ZX81 home computer when I was 12, and several other home computers thereafter. Those were programable in BASIC and machine code(*), so I learned BASIC and machine code on my own. When I was 15, I attended a school with an emphasis on IT and business organisation, where we learned how to do it right.

    (*)"machine code" is writing assembler code without the help of an actual assembler, just using a hex editor or something similar. For obvious reasons, those programs were never long, maybe 50-150 bytes or so.



  • Taught myself at a fairly basic level (I was interested in computers in general and liked making those text-based adventure games), then got drunk one day and decided to enrol at university.

    Now I'm a software engineer :)



  • British Telecom had a huge R&D facility nearby the school where my mum taught.  IT & electronics was a big part of the local employment and at an open day there were a bunch of Commodore Pets where you could play a version of space invaders for 5p a go.  I figured if I had a computer I could write my own games and never pay again!  I managed to get a loaned TRS 80 from my dad while my ZX81 was on order as a Christmas present and played with BASIC typing in games from mags picking it up as I went.  When I got the ZX81 it was considerably less powered but the manual and BASIC tutorial was a totally awesome introduction.  I taught myself BASIC then Z80 machine code.

    Later I got a VIC-20 and again BASIC/machine code.  Same later with an Amstrad something-or-other writing stuff and cracking copy protection on games bought by my mates and me so I could put them onto disk instead of tape. 

    Eventually I dropped out of school and landed a work placement in a tiny outfit where I got to play with the awesome power of the IBM PC with twin floppies.  More BASIC then got hired by an ex-manager who I had chatted with while he was back in the office on a moonlight job.  He then taught me C and 8086 assembler.  Eventually I left and moved on to C++, various SQLs and the joy of OOP and RDBMS mismatches at various large institutions where I learned more, but mainly on the job rather than by any formal tuition although there was some.  Oh, and and VB.

    Somewhere along the line I found myself on a training course for Java.  I started Java/Web/application server type of stuff with Oracle and typically completely over-engineered it before remembering I was here to solve business problems rather than impose my technical might and over-design everything that came my way.

    Where I am now, I manage .NET devs without actually writing anything myself.  However after being around for a while I really do not think you need to know the specifics to know what you are doing.  You learn principals, trends, techniques and generally work out what it's all about.  After a while there are very few revolutionary new things and you very quickly see patterns, meaning you can comprehend and use new tech without actually getting into the gory details.  Of course new things come along and occasionally you do need to dive in to get the full benefit. In the mainstream business world the key concepts are

    • OO
    • Relational/set theory/SQL
    • Client/server
    • networks
    • Queues
    • state management

    Inside this realm the above will serve you well. Outside of that, assembler and C, threads are useful as you get close to defense/research/embedded.  Fortran for heavy maths.  COBOL because it isn't dead but stay well clear if you can - it can pay to understand it and its limitations

    I suppose I'd better sum up.  Basically, if there was a perfect tool for the job that could be applied to all situations there would only be that tool (and no XML does not fulfil this need no matter what anyone says).  Get some coverage, pick an area you like and work your way though it.  Accept things are not perfect.  Do your best to look beyond the hype and see things for what they are.  While things are more sophisticaed these days, WTFs are inevitable and you, along with everyone on this forum, will do something you think is awesome that is actually a complete howler.  Don't sweat it.  Listen to your peers and keep your eyes open so at least you can recognise your errors and improve.

    </oldBastardTearFilledMemoriesOfDaysGoneByMode>



  • I taught myself to program from basic manuals at around 6, when i could just start to read them (my dad had a full bottom shelf in a mostly unused room where the 4051 manuals lurked).  By the time I was 8, I was writing little basic games like light cycles (although my enemy cycles weren't too bright :-).  When I was 10, I started learning C because my dad had "A book on C" lying around from a class he dropped in grad school.  From there, it's been downhill.

    But this is about how we learned.  For a year or so, by imitation.  Writing and re-writing the programs in the book like a religious scribe.  After that, synthesizing parts of programs to get what I wanted.  Coming up with the absolutely most degenerate way to take C - the left canyon wall, and W - the width, and print C X's, followed by W spaces (with a V in there for the car), then (79 - C - W) X's again.

    Learning C at a very young age is like searching for treasure.  You spend a long time writing code and making tiny adjustments until it compiles, then learning to debug code cause it always crashes.  I spent this time developing an eye for missing storage and out of bounds pointer access.  I became decent at spotting these things.  This is also where I started writing programs big enough to need logical organization.  I learned to love functions and structs at this time in my life.  This was the first time I though I knew how god felt when he was assembling the universe.

    Somewhere around 89 I got a copy of Turbo C++ and decided (on my uncle's advice) to learn object oriented programming.   Advice learned from this stage:  You can't really understand object oriented programming without attempting something a little complicated. 

    When you're young you try to re-create programs you've seen before, and
    my bane was 'Archon II, Adept' for the C=64.  Although this was much
    later, I had fond memories of this game and tried to make a version of
    it for PC, armed with my turbo C++ and a little mode13 library I'd cobbled together from magazine snips.  Trying to write that game made me understand objects in a visceral, physical reaction sort of way.

    I got a rude awakening when I took a C++ class for credit in '92 after dropping out of high school.  'Calculator is an object', 'Button is an object', 'UI is an object', 'Button subclasses window'.  Please.  The elevator and calculator examples typically used in programming classes are enough to drive you nuts.  They're too simple to be convincing exemplars of object oriented style.  Writing these programs shows you the mechanics of object oriented programming, but can't convince you you really need it.  I meet many many C++ haters and I think that poor examples in object oriented programming classes is a primary reason.

    I kept learning from there, getting a mind-blowing introduction to lisp along the way, another similarly mind-blowing introduction to ML, and finally taking "Theory of Computation" and "Digital Systems" (also, mind-blowing) in college.  

    Theory of Computation IMO is probably the best programming class I've ever taken.  I think it should be taught just after algerbra in middle school.  The main thing I got from it: everything you can compute has a knowable complexity and doing it more complicated isn't useful.  There are less powerful, but still relevant types of machines than turing computers.  If you can do something with less powerful abstraction, you can prove more about it and know it better.

    Digital Systems primary message to me was: there's nothing special about any kind of program or any kind of hardware.  Anything you can reach in a computer is reachable as digital information; virtualizable, computable, understandable.  Operating system code is more fragile for being complicated, but no different from any program that's in front of you.

    Perhaps the best lesson I ever learned came from working at a streaming media startup with 2 other programmers: to make something big, you need teamwork.  We need to learn the discipline of working as a team, getting along, avoiding unnecessary modification of other people's code, respect for others intellect, boundaries.  My father is very overbearing and it took me longer than it should haveto unlearn his attitude and give my colleagues a wide berth and believe in them.  Perhaps the biggest lesson here: the best way isn't always the best way.



  • For starters, don't knock the Associate's Degree, that was the first one I completed (in my second pretense of going to college), and if nothing else, you've learned the basics of thinking critically about problems (ie, you're asking here about programming, right?). That's all an Associate's was ever designed for, even once upon a long time ago.

    In addition, learning to program isn't so much about being able to write a good version of hello world as it is about learning how to best structure your thoughts, and learning how to turn that structure of thought into a useful tool. Being able to say <font color="#808080">"the program should reserve some internal space for a specific set of hardcoded predetermined data to be displayed on screen, the program should request said data be displayed on screen by the operating system, the program should release any memory that it was allocated at initialization back to the operating system and then exit with a status code of 0" </font>is just as important as understanding <font color="#808080">"if y=2x and x=4, then y=8"</font>. If you think my little contrived spec of "hello world" wasn't correct or complete, try writing code off it and tell me what I'm missing.

    Being able to spot the WTFs on the front page is more often about experience, no matter what the members of the board will tell you. Almost all of the posters with more than 10 posts have been writing code for much longer than they've been reading TDWTF, so they've had time to get that experience to immediately see the problem with the presented design/implementation/management flaw. So saying that you don't get that right now is like saying that I don't quite get how LHC is the inverse of science. <font color="#c0c0c0">(Really, the Scientific Method says "formulate hypothesis, then test the hypothesis, then revise the hypothesis and start over if the data from the experiment doesn't support the hypothesis" - what the folks at CERN are doing is to run the experiment, then see if the collected data matches hypotheses to be developed post collision - Hey, I've just had a two week closed door session with a lot of theoretical physicists, this is what they told me)</font>

    So, having said all that, and after trying to reassure you that it's just a matter of time, I'm going to ask you a few questions, in the spirit of interaction:

    When did you start programming on your own?

    Why did you start programming on your own?

    On what platform did you create your first game?

    What sort of math did you get to in High School?

    What O/S's do you boot on your computer (hopefully you carry a laptop - having a desktop is optional)?

    My first program was written at the age of 12, on a Tandy (!woot) and was done in BASIC, and after that I kind of stuck with BASIC till I learned C. I probably didn't learn functions till I learned C, even though BASIC had some functionality for functions (no puns intended). I started learning C to learn how to do a flatfile database for myself, before I knew what databases were, and once I learned what they were, and how little I knew, I pretty much quit that one (it was a simple PIM, there were a lot of those at the time). My first game was written on a TI81 calculator (the model that couldn't transfer information to other calculators) - it was a basic selection based story model game, but it was the first one I did on my own and it had a plot and weapons and everything. Ok, so it was cheesy, but it was a true program.

    What makes that last one really sad was the kid two years younger than me with a TI82/3(?) who wrote a mech-style game with a canopy that didn't move and other mechs that did, and laser blasts. Talk about inferiority complex, although I was never that motivated to write a graphical game for the TI series.

    So, sticking with the Math theme, I was at a Calculus 1 level in HS but opted not to take it. I was also rather good at trig and geom, and those are just as much about understanding complex structures and organization as basic programming is. So I would say that having a strong math ability is a good thing, but not absolutely vital. What is vital is a dedication to the art, much the same as how artists always have a sketchpad and pencil around - therefore do you tote a laptop, and if so, how adventurous with it are you? With good backups you really can't mess them up, so ... do you dual boot? Triple boot?

    I think the one thing you'll find most people doing on this site is that they play with technology obsessively. Perhaps it's for work, perhaps it's for play, perhaps it's to be benevolent, perhaps to be malicious.

    Have I rambled enough yet? I should wrap this up...



  • I started programming at a very young age.  At about 6 my father sat me down and forced me to learn BASIC.  My grandmother was a programmer in the 50's, 60's and 70's.  My father in the 70's and 80's.  My father is now the CFO of the non profit he works for.  My first computer was a commodore 64 that i got from my older sister.  Currently I work as a software dev in the healthcare industry.  I work mostly with c#, c++, some vb.  I also have a ton of batch scripts dumped on me by a former colleague.   Thank you somewhat creapy basement dwelling stereotype man who now works for the federal reserve.  I also work with sql server, sybase, oracle, a couple ancient access 97 db's, and crystal reports. The software we write is mostly web apps/windows forms but we also have some software that runs on pda's, wpf apps, and one or two java apps.  We're a bit all over the place as you can probably tell, 


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Aside from some misadventures with... Jesus, what did they call it back then? Lego Technic? (BASIC powered legos, WIN!) I started rather late, in High School. First class to run the AP Comp Sci program in Java rather than C++. The thing I find most interesting about that particular class is that the language it was in was prettymuch irrelevant. The first part of the course concentrated on general control structures and OO, the second half was all data structures (with Big O and algorithmic efficiency wedged in the middle somewhere). If I hadn't had those data structures so early, particularly having started with expressive modern languages, I would have probably turned into a very WTFy programmer.

     

    University - roughly half my relevant courses were projects. I have come to the conclusion that you're not going to learn the vast majority of programming topics unless you're presented with a project and are forced to use it. The bigger the project, the better. The best ones are when you and your teammates sit in that initial meeting and say "There's no way we're capable of this." but fight on anyway. The other half of my courses were support courses - things like project management, systems analysis and design, web development, database design, UI design, all those things that aren't usually in the job description but we always have to do anyway. Remarkably little math - the theory there lies in that if you can understand Calculus and Statistics, you're covered for anything you're likely to run into as a business programmer (scientific programmers usually come from within the ranks of that particular branch of science anyway) - and if you're not, you're a god damned programmer - look up the algorithm.



  •  7 years ago, I wrote my first for loop in ASP JScript, not fully knowing how such a beast worked.

    During my media-centered education, I was exposed to code, but nothing that could be construed as a "prgramming class" or "cs course".

    I am far too limited when it comes to platforms and languages -- I only know JS by heart, and am the resident guru on HTML/CSS. Nonetheless, I toy around in the language, implementing algorithms for fun1, seeing what I can generate and then how I can do it faster, and I wrote several tiny applications, such as a money/profit graph, and a personal calendar. Writing and updating these things continues to give me insight into proper application building, refactoring, what constitutes a workable API and data format, and, most of all, writing understandable code: the other guy who's going to read it later is highly likely to be yourself.

    I should upgrade to C# for prof work, and a smaller language such as Lisp, Perl or Python for fun homework, but the learning curve is high and motivation is hard to come by. I have written a few lines of Haskell, but barely got further than Hello Wo.

    =====

    1) For example; calculating the orbits and subsequent fractals for simple functions; sorting algorithms; messing around with RGB coordinates;trying my hand at The Euler Project problems.



  • I was never that into computers when I was in school I thought I would be a writer or do something with biology so I'm entering late in the game.

    I didn't get a computer until I was 16 and never really  wrote any kind of script or program until I was 25 (3 years ago) I was playing Morrowind and was getting tired of walking back and forth so much so I wanted a teleportation ring.  When I finished the script and went back to playing I wanted to go back to what I was doing before. After some research I downloaded Python.  It's a really easy language to learn with by the way, halfway through the book I started just trying to make things and used the manual for a reference.

     My only game is a command line mastermind clone. I wrote it when I was taking a java class I rewrote it in python because I hadn't used python in a while.  I don't have a gui version and I can make something with a gui in both python and java now and I haven't touched c++ in a while so I might try to make a gui version in that language if I can't think of anything else to do in c++.  The problem is that relatively simple software is abundant and usually anything I can think of that wouldn't require a lot of time has already been made.  The only things I made for my calculator just made homework easier.

    My high school didn't offer anything above algebra so I just took what everyone else did.  

    I have Ubuntu XP and Puppy Linux and a few os's in virtual box menuet os looks interesting just because I have never heard of an os written in assembly or of a modern os that fits on a floppy.
    I actually hate laptops because realistically they are all prefabricated  the parts are not interchangeable they are hard to fix blah blah blah....
    I'm trying to figure out how to revive my old laptop or buy an old one that can run puppy or hopefully something better though.



  • I done teached myself.  It's actually not too hard to do when your getting paid to do it / have someone on your ass everyday telling you to do it.



  • How did you manage to get paid to learn? 



  • @Chame1eon said:

    How did you manage to get paid to learn? 

    You must be new here.  This site is dedicated to the amazing acts of stupidity perpetrated by individuals who got hired without the proper experience and "learned on the job".  I'm not saying this is the case for this guy, but it's not impossible.  Also note that good programmers are always learning on the job, but if you first learn development on the job there's a good chance you were hired without necessary experience.



  • Personally, I started when I was around 12 years (back in the ~'00). First very simple SSI site (oh fuck, I just checked, it's actually still up...). Then a bit later I setup a local vB instance and started hacking it a little. After I had made some modifications, I knew some of the PHP & MySQL basics. Then I started helping around on some of the sites where I frequented (they were pretty close-knit groups) and naturally I started to understand PHP a lot more. Suprisingly enough, I didn't even consider enabling register globals (there might have been some holes somewhere due to uninitialized variables if register globals were enabled tho).

    I did study some other languages basics back then, but due to free hosting services only offering Perl, PHP & MySQL and web being my primary target (I made a few desktop apps with PHP-GTK for my personal use), I never really needed them. As years progressed, PHP5 came out and I started learning OOP more. During my vocational school (as I didn't go to high school), I had to learn some basics of ActionScript, Java and ASP+Access (ASP.NET had been out for long enough, but our teacher was actually more of web designer and probably wasn't even aware of it...). I think I completed all of the required assignments during the first/second day eventho I hadn't really used the language before .

    Now, roughly 9 years later, PHP is still my forte. I know basics of dozen or so languages. I only use Java for my school assigments. Then again, I'm not really a programmer these days. Sure, I do some odd jobs here and there, but my more or less primary job is more of sysadmin type (I do make some small programs to make my job easier of course). I'm studying CS tho, so quite a bit of the topics center around programming.

    If I had to recommend someone a first language to learn these days, I would probably still suggest PHP. While it does have it's quirks, it's widely supported high-level language with C-like syntax which I would consider as quite important thing. After you have learned OO PHP, you can also read Java & C# code without too much difficulty. And C after you understand how pointers work. Writing Java & C# code doesn't require much additional studying (tho, in Java, frameworks tend to play a lot bigger part).



  • hmmm, I think it started when I was really young, 8 or something, my father had a commador 64 and I decided I wanted to program games. So I actually got a really crummy book from the library which contained code that you had to type over. Few years after that I got my very own 286 and started programming in basic, at first modifying other peoples games and later-on writing my own. (think pong/breakout)

    Years later I went to a IT school, got pascal, java and delphi. (the school actually dropped C the year I would get it, to switch to java, then the year after that switched to delphi. gah) Programming wasn't the main focus of the study though, so I got a lot more network stuff and data theory. In my own time I learned a bit of C++ and perl. Later switched to PHP, then got an internship at a PHP company and have been doing PHP ever since.

    I hardly bother with learning languages though. I did have a periode in which I tried out different languages and a few even stuck. But for the most part I read up on best practices and the theory of software development. Also of course on new projects that are related to web or are just plain interesting. 

    It is hard to say if I actually learned on the job. Sure I learned a lot while working with others or while taking 5 minutes to read a blog post about something, which might or might not have anything to do with programming. But for the most part I think I learned on my own.

    So i guess you either you have an interest in programming or you don't. The only language you should specialise in is the one you want to work with, for whatever reason. Perhaps you think it is cool, perhaps you think lots of jobs will be out there with that language, or perhaps because your school wants you to know it. Doesn't really matter, although since your still in school you might want to try out as much languages as you can, just to get a feeling for what is out there. Because there are too many god damn java* programmers out there who think java* is the only language that matters.

     

    * insert your own favorite pet peave language with annoying zealots.



  • mIRC. It's got its own [pretty WTFish] scripting language for stuff ranging from autoslapping to creating full IRC bots. I started learning it when I was around 13.

    Then there was BASIC (in a C64 emulator!), VB, quickly switched to VB.NET then C#, and now C and C++. And PHP and VBA at work; and COBOL and RPG at college (the latter is one big WTF of a language).

    While going through these languages, I helped myself with a few tutorials, code examples, disassembling .NET with Reflector, IRC channels to help me, an, of course, my good friend Google and reference documentation. 



  • I just did. Then I went to college so people would believe me where I spent my time drinking beer and playing competitive Tecmo-Bowl. Then I graduated, got a couple jobs, and learned some more. Then learned some more. And more ... 



  • Fell asleep at LAN party. Woke up and had Linux installed.

    No but seriously, went to library to pick up books about this coder/demoscene buzzword which were floating around at LAN parties. A friend told me to look for books titled Visual Basic, every one of which were borrowed by someone else. Went home with some kind of C++ introductory book.
    Thank spaghetti-monster for that!
    Programmed 2 hours each day for about two years. Then I started playing CS...

    Surfed on my previously gathered knowledge all the way to last year of grade school, where I had to work on my diploma (involving gpu simulation and water visualization).

    Currently working as a .NET developer for a small company. Just finished the biggest wtf of my life. But I will be nice and not publish it . . . yet =)



  • @Dr Frankenstein said:

    mIRC. It's got its own [pretty WTFish] scripting language for stuff ranging from autoslapping to creating full IRC bots.
     

    Oh, I completely forgot about that (and my mIRC days as a whole, really). I dabbled a little in that way before I actually did any real programming. I guess it introduced me to the concept of code, variables and execution.



  • Got my first computer when I was 10.  It was an ancient DOS 3.something machine and since it couldn't run anything approaching modern software all I could do was look for old floppies at yard sales, thrift stores, etc..  It had GW-BASIC on it and several of the games I acquired were written in it.  I eventually taught myself rudimentary BASIC and wrote some of my own apps to manage simple tasks and eventually wrote my own quasi-shell to give me a menu-like interface to the file system.  Eventually I got a newer computer and while teaching myself Linux at 15 I learned to read (but not really write well--memory management confused me) C.

     

    I planned for a career in systems work while in high school and was lucky enough to have a Cisco networking class during my junior and senior years.  I also got quite interested in hardware, Unix, networking and CPU architecture.  When I started college the closest program to what I wanted to do was CS.  That was my first introduction to Java and "proper" OOP.  Initially, I loved Java's verbosity and strict syntax as it seemed to make things so clear.  It did spur an interest in CS, though, and I studied the subject quite a bit outside of school advancing far beyond the meager lesson plan.  I loved the theoretical aspects such as computability theory and studied cryptography a lot.

     

    I got sick of school and decided to drop out after 2 years and take a full-time job doing web app development with PHP.  Initially I hated PHP for not being Java and it took me a good two years to realize that Java was overly-verbose crap that required writing tons of boilerplate code.  Along the way I picked up HTML, CSS, JS, perl, Ruby, a bit of Python, C++ and improved my understanding of C and ASM.  I also got quite interested in the Linux kernel and studied the internals.  Now I'm in my mid-20s doing systems engineering and contemplating starting my own business in my spare time once I come up with a profitable software or service idea and stop wasting time on TDWTF.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Now I'm in my mid-20s doing systems engineering and contemplating starting my own business in my spare time once I come up with a profitable software or service idea and stop wasting time on TDWTF.
    How about a company where you troll forums for a fee?  Clients would include people who are too lazy to do so themselves, and perhaps forum owners who want to generate more activity.



  • @bstorer said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Now I'm in my mid-20s doing systems engineering and contemplating starting my own business in my spare time once I come up with a profitable software or service idea and stop wasting time on TDWTF.
    How about a company where you troll forums for a fee?  Clients would include people who are too lazy to do so themselves, and perhaps forum owners who want to generate more activity.

    Oh, I really wouldn't even know how to troll!  Maybe you can teach me, O' Master?



  • @bstorer said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Now I'm in my mid-20s doing systems engineering and contemplating starting my own business in my spare time once I come up with a profitable software or service idea and stop wasting time on TDWTF.
    How about a company where you troll forums for a fee?  Clients would include people who are too lazy to do so themselves, and perhaps forum owners who want to generate more activity.

     

    Hmm, I think morb would excel at team building/training. He could be hired by companies to come in and bring their development teams to the next level. 

    He of course would do this in his own charming way of calling them idiots until they do it right. This in turn will get the team to pull together against a common enemy. Hopefully even complaining to management that they talked it over and he's just a jerk. Which he can then use as argument to management that his psychological based techniques of group building have paid off.



  • @stratos said:

    @bstorer said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Now I'm in my mid-20s doing systems engineering and contemplating starting my own business in my spare time once I come up with a profitable software or service idea and stop wasting time on TDWTF.
    How about a company where you troll forums for a fee?  Clients would include people who are too lazy to do so themselves, and perhaps forum owners who want to generate more activity.

     

    Hmm, I think morb would excel at team building/training. He could be hired by companies to come in and bring their development teams to the next level. 

    He of course would do this in his own charming way of calling them idiots until they do it right. This in turn will get the team to pull together against a common enemy. Hopefully even complaining to management that they talked it over and he's just a jerk. Which he can then use as argument to management that his psychological based techniques of group building have paid off.

     

    Only if I get to hit people.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Chame1eon said:

    How did you manage to get paid to learn? 

    You must be new here.  This site is dedicated to the amazing acts of stupidity perpetrated by individuals who got hired without the proper experience and "learned on the job".  I'm not saying this is the case for this guy, but it's not impossible.  Also note that good programmers are always learning on the job, but if you first learn development on the job there's a good chance you were hired without necessary experience.

     

     

    I had the good fortune to work with an employer that wanted me to grow out of a limited tech support/management role and I wanted to do the same.  I already knew quite a bit and was working on my own to expand my knowledge and he'd give me little code assignments to complete (pieces of a project he was working on) that started getting bigger and bigger and within 2 years I was the company's senior developer.  It was one of the benefits of working at was was then a very small company.


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