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why we got into this industry

Wendy Gibbons

Joined: Oct 21, 2008
Posts: 1107

as I am learning a new language (javascript) I am spending a disproportionate amount of time trying to find out why we are being told to do stuff we are told (why does jslint complain about trailing white space is todays quest?)

but during my trawl i fouind this quote

We got into this industry because, quite frankly, we are control freaks. It's who we are. It's what we do. Now to imagine, to our dismay, that there's all this stupid, useless whitespace at the ends of our lines. Stuff that's there, but we can't see it. Well, those are the nightmares OCD horror movies are made of. I have a full-body itchiness just talking about it.

it made me laugh and wonder why you got into computing, I think for me honestly it is computer did what i told it, my friends never did that
Jelle Klap

Joined: Mar 10, 2008
Posts: 1951

Computers peaked my interest as a gamer. Long ago - relatively speaking - I was completely addicted to my NES, until I played Doom for the first time on my neighbour's PC. Had to get me one of those! So I did. I bought an Intel Pentium based system with a 150 MHz CPU, 16 MB EDO-RAM and a 2 MB S3 graphics card. I spent untold hours on PC games from there on out. My interest in computers moved beyond games pretty soon though, and I started learning about all kinds of other stuff. Mostly about more advanced features of Windows 95 and DOS - yeah, laught it up - and I started getting more and more interested in hardware and building / customizing my system. Didn't have an internet connection back then, but as soon as I did I got fascinated with "programming websites in HTML". Except I didn't have a clue about how to upload my fantastic creations yet, so they never went public, which is proably for the best; Comic-Sans MS, marquees all over the place etc. Seems hilarious looking back, but the fact is that I got hooked right then and there. Eventually, though, I did figure out how to use the webspace offered to me by my ISP, and I got my fist homepage online, complete with totally ripped off JavaScipt code I didn't understand, at all. That changed soon enough though. I stuck with it, got educated, learned all kinds of new stuff and programming langauges, got my degree and before I knew I became just another working stiff in the IT industry. And I'm also still very much a gamer

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
chris webster

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 2296

WHy did I get into this industry? Well, I graduated in the 1980s when real unemployment in the UK was around 4 million, and there were relatively few obvious career opportunities for a liberal arts graduate specialising in medieval Germanic languages!

Luckily, I'd done some computer science at college and was interested in the field, and employers were desperate for people they could train into computing (those were the days, eh?). So I wound up being trained as an Oracle developer, which proved a pretty good basis for a career for many years, and of course like everybody else in this business, I've had to learn all kinds of other interesting stuff along the way (through formal courses, self-training, academic study etc).

Perhaps I'm deluding myself, but I think having a non-CS background has been more of a help than a hindrance in my career in commercial application development, and I've worked in all kinds of businesses from government departments to software houses and telecoms. I'm especially glad that I was able to learn about data early on, because most CS/IT curricula I've seen seem to neglect the importance of really understanding your data when you are designing and building your applications. Yet data is often the element that persists and continues to be useful long after your exquisitely crafted program code has been consigned to oblivion. We work in an industry that often seems confused as to whether it's about "data processing" or "information technology" or "computer science", but sometimes there is a risk of ignoring the "data" and "information" aspects in favour of the fascinating but sometimes less relevant "technology" or "science". But that's a whole other rant...

Right now, the Oracle career train has gone off the rails somewhat around here (the UK economy has a real "Back To The Future" feel for those of us who lived through the 70s and 80s), so - like Wendy - I'm busy learning new stuff in the meantime. Python is my latest interest, although I still need to improve my Java too, and I'm enjoying the challenge of getting stuck into these topics (if not the enforced leisure that has precipated it). One of the great things about IT is that there is always something new to learn.

I've really enjoyed working in IT, but I fear the industry is losing its diversity of experience and skills as recruitment (and retention) of staff seems to become ever more concentrated on a relatively small range of "preferred employee profiles". 10 or 20 years ago, there was quite a wide mix of people working in most IT departments, but these days it's a much narrower sample of the population. I think this is a real problem, especially when you need to engage with people outside the world of techies, and the chronic ageism/sexism that still pervades much of the IT industry doesn't help matters either. Anyway, it's always interesting to discover the person sitting next to you has a degree in classical music or oceanography, rather than everybody having the same background.

So that's why I got into this industry - although I'm not sure how long I'll be able to stay in it!

No more Blub for me, thank you, Vicar.
Pat Farrell

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659

I worked my way though college as an intern to an engineering firm. Which made sense, as I was an engineering major. But I really didn't like the courses they made engineering majors take. And after three or four years of internship (with college sprinkled in) I really didn't want to do what engineers do. I had to take some programming courses, and I was sure that I did not want a Computer Science degree. So I got a Mathematics degree.

When I graduated, the country was in a fairly serious recession, so I took a job at the firm where I had interned. Three months later, I got an offer for less money to work on Digital's TOPS-10 systems and I jumped on it. A few years after than I got a chance to work on TOPS-20, and from there on, operating systems have gotten worse.
Akhilesh Trivedi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 22, 2005
Posts: 1599
Damn! Its the same APPLE mystery.

Keep Smiling Always — My life is smoother when running silent. -paul
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