How old were you when you started programming?
I think I was around 14 or 15.
How did you get started in programming?
My friend and I made text adventure games.
What was your first language?
It was some form of BASIC.
What was the first real program you wrote?
By "text adventure game", I really mean lame spaghetti-coded ASCII choose your own adventure "games." My friend had most of the funny ideas and I did most of the programming. He's now in a crazy band in Austin, TX called Natchet Taylor, and I work at a seminary!
What languages have you used since?
What was your first professional programming gig?
When I graduated from college, I took a job as a youth pastor. I needed extra cash, so I got a job as as ASP programmer for http://www.texags.com/. At that point, all I had really done was build a personal webpage in college (with animated flaming gifs!), so I just learned everything on the job. It was great fun. In those days, I'd write everything for IE, and then fix it for Netscape. Funny how things change.
If you knew then what you know now, would you have started programming?
Totally. There's always good work, and it really frees me up to be anywhere. I've made it through an entire masters degree since I could work whenever and wherever, and still be involved with friends and in ministry.
What is the one thing you would tell new developers?
I'll cheat and go with two:
- Always, always, always have a signed contract with everything spelled out in detail and a 25-50% payment before writing a single line of code.
- Release as much code as you can (to a blog or whatever). If your code is worth publishing, it means you probably did a good job, and would be something you won't hate to go back and modify later.
What’s the most fun you’ve ever had … programming?
I would have to say programming online education stuff with foreign language support. I have no idea what any of it says, but it's really fun to develop stuff that is used in a home in Dallas, a tent in the deserts of Iraq, in the Packers lockerroom, and in an underground church in China – and all of it not just to make a buck, but to make a difference in the world. That's rock-star coding.