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Mr. Bloch - your CV

Johannes de Jong
tumbleweed
Bartender

Joined: Jan 27, 2001
Posts: 5089
Hi Mr. Bloch, I'll be dammed that I'm gonna call someone holding a Phd. Josh
In your posting to my previous thread you said that you have 25 years of experience. Could you elaborate on it.
I'm pretty interested if you also started out coding on big IBM mainframes in Cobol, PL/1, Assembler like most of all us "oldies", or did you start of at age 5 and are now 30.
If you did start "procedural" how did you switch to Java & OO.
And as an afterthough, and not the Official Sun version pse, what are you opinions on Java certification.
Thanks.
Joshua Bloch
Author and "Sun God"
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2001
Posts: 124
Originally posted by Johannes de Jong:
Hi Mr. Bloch, I'll be dammed that I'm gonna call someone holding a Phd. Josh

Why not, everybody else does

In your posting to my previous thread you said that you have 25 years of experience. Could you elaborate on it.

I guess I should be more careful what I say Feel free to skip the rest of this post if you're easily bored.
I was born in '61. I first tried my hand at programming when my dad took a course at Brookhaven National Lab in '73. It was Fortran IV, batch processing, on a CDC-6600. It didn't do much for me. All of this changed in '75 when I got access to a timeshared PDP-10 (a marvelous 36-bit machine from DEC). I was instantly hooked, even though I had to put up with an ASR-33 teletype and a 110 baud modem I taught myself BASIC, PDP-10 assembly language and (eventually) Pascal. I wrote lots of game programs.
In '78 I went to Columbia University, where I majored in Computer Science. I used mainly C, Sail, Simula, Pascal, Lisp, Fortran and assembly language. In addition to the usual undergrad things, I had a part-time job writing firmware for microprocessor-controlled scientific instruments. I got some exposure to O-O concepts, but not a lot.
After I graduated in '82, I went to CMU to pursue a Ph.D. in CS. I had summer jobs at IBM Research and Bell Labs. My thesis was on replication of abstract data objects, but it was not heavily O-O. I also wrote a C-language extension for programming general-purpose distributed transaction systems, as part of the Camelot project. Also I did computer music research and played in an awful rock band.
My thesis adviser did a startup company in Pittsburgh PA, called Transarc Corporation, which produced a cross-platform distributed transaction system called Encina. I architected and implemented many parts of this system, including lots of reusable components, both low and high level. Everything was written in C, but in a fairly object-oriented style. (Believe it or not, it is possible to write generic data types atop the C-preprocessor.) Transarc got acquired by IBM in '94 and I stayed on for another two years. Then I heard the siren song of Java calling from far-off California.
So in answer to your question, I did "start procedural," but I've always been a believer in modular, reusable software with carefully designed APIs and heavy use of information hiding. I bought into the various parts of the O-O philosophy slowly over time.

And as an afterthought, and not the Official Sun version pse, what are you opinions on Java certification.
Thanks.

Honestly, I haven't given the matter that much thought. It seems like a reasonable idea, consistent with industry norms. I'm not too familiar with the details of the program, so I'm really not qualified to judge. That said, I've been generally impressed by what I've seen.
Sorry if I've bored anyone to tears


Joshua Bloch <br />Author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0201310058/ref=ase_electricporkchop" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Effective Java</a> and coauthor of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/032133678X/ref=ase_electricporkchop" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Java Puzzlers</a>
Johannes de Jong
tumbleweed
Bartender

Joined: Jan 27, 2001
Posts: 5089
Thanks for taking the time.
Funny how many of American's learnt their trade on PDP machines. Seems like I missed a big part of the required education .
as for your comment :
I bought into the various parts of the O-O philosophy slowly over time.
My background lies mainly in the "maintanance" area of IT. I firmly believe in the objectives of the OO philosphy. The problem lies with the implementation.
How long would you say does it take the average person before he could be considered an expert in this area ?.
And do you think a person that "does" OO & Java as a hobby and/or part-time even stands a chance of becoming an expert.
[This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited July 12, 2001).]
jason adam
Chicken Farmer ()
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 08, 2001
Posts: 1932
Somewhat related to JdJ's questions, I myself am coming from a teacher turned administrator background, but I absolutely LOVE programming. I'm 28 (well, will be 29 this weekend), and sometimes wonder if I'm switching too late and should just stay with sys. admin stuff which bores me to tears sometimes, or keep trudging forward. It seems most of the experts and people that are really successful at programming have been doing it 24/7 since they were an infant. Want to make sure that I will still be a desired commodity in the work force and not find myself out of a job when I get my masters
Jason
Joshua Bloch
Author and "Sun God"
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2001
Posts: 124
Jason,
If system administration "bores you to tears" and programming excites you, by all means trudge on! In my experience it's nearly impossible to do good work if you aren't enjoying it. I know that it's possible to succeed in the software field even if you didn't spend your childhood hacking. By way of example, my wife didn't touch a computer till she finished her undergrad degree, in physical therapy. Finding the work was not for her, she went back to school to study computers. She got a Masters degree and she's been quite successful as a software engineer, technical trainer, and technical writer. (See who wrote the Servlets Chapter of the Java Tutorial )
Regards,

------------------
Joshua Bloch
Author of Effective Java
jason adam
Chicken Farmer ()
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 08, 2001
Posts: 1932
That's great to know! I would like to at some point go back and teach a class here and there, but at a college level, and with the experience I've had in teaching already, it wouldn't be a hard transition.
It may sound funny, but the only reason I didn't go into computer science as an undergrad is because I didn't have a computer at home. I had no concept of computer labs or anything like that, but I think the degree I have gave me the communicative skills that, no offense to anyone reading this, some purely technical people lack. When you work in a service oriented field, it helps to know how to talk to a variety of people.
Thanks again, I would never waver from where I am heading, just good to know that the road ahead will be perhaps a little less bumpy!
Jason

[This message has been edited by jason adam (edited July 12, 2001).]
Jyotsna Clarkin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 26, 2001
Posts: 158
Hello again Mr. Bloch -
I've come here straight from the BigDecimal discussion
Originally posted by Johannes de Jong:
How long would you say does it take the average person before he could be considered an expert in this area ?.

This is the bit that worries me - and I don't mean being an expert like Johannes said- rather just being good,and strong in the field and being able use the language features effectively.
I didn't have that much trouble with the introductory material - there are heaps of books out there too. There are a quite a lot of books on the specialized techonolgies.
It's the books that fall into neither category - the ones that help you overcome misconceptions or pitfalls that are hard to find. The one's that give you a grounding on programming issues as well as language features.
Is that what your book does? What other steps do you think programmers should take to move from a beginners/advanced level?
regards,
Jyotsna
Joshua Bloch
Author and "Sun God"
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2001
Posts: 124
Jyotsna,
Hi!
Originally posted by Jyotsna Clarkin:
I didn't have that much trouble with the introductory material - there are heaps of books out there too. There are a quite a lot of books on the specialized techonolgies.
It's the books that fall into neither category - the ones that help you overcome misconceptions or pitfalls that are hard to find. The one's that give you a grounding on programming issues as well as language features.
Is that what your book does?

That's exactly what I've tried to do. I hope I've succeeded, but you and all the other readers will be the ultimate judge of that. Also check out John Bentley's "Programming Pearls" and Kernighan and Pike's "The Practice of Programming". There are a bunch of other good books along these lines, but these two are a fine start.

What other steps do you think programmers should take to move from a beginners/advanced level?

Write lots of programs. It's fun, and you get paid for it The more you write, the more you learn. Don't be afraid to throw away code -- someone elses or your own -- when you find a better way of doing something. Actually this is one of life's great pleasures. Try to expose yourself to lots of different areas; what you learn in one area will help you in others as well.
Also read lots of programs; it's often enlightening to see how other people did things. The freely-available-source movement is great for this. For example, if you're curious about anything in the JDK, just look at the sources.
If possible, get yourself in a situation where you write programs with people who've been doing it for a while. Experienced programmers generally delight in sharing their knowledge with others. (There's nothing more rewarding than knowing that others are benefitting from your hard-won knowledge.)
regards,

------------------
Joshua Bloch
Author of Effective Java
[This message has been edited by Joshua Bloch (edited July 13, 2001).]
Joshua Bloch
Author and "Sun God"
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2001
Posts: 124
Johannes,
Originally posted by Johannes de Jong:
How long would you say does it take the average person before he could be considered an expert in this area ?.

That's a hard one. People differ a lot, and also it's a broad area. That said, I think it's fair to say that it takes a few years to really understand programming.
And do you think a person that "does" OO & Java as a hobby and/or part-time even stands a chance of becoming an expert.?.

Absolutely. There are plenty of resources out there to help you in your quest.
Regards,

------------------
Joshua Bloch
Author of Effective Java
Johannes de Jong
tumbleweed
Bartender

Joined: Jan 27, 2001
Posts: 5089
Thanks for taking the time Mr Bloch, as a reward I promise to buy you book .
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
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