My first memories of programming were back in the days of the Amstrad 464+, and we used to get a magazine called “Amstrad Action”, every issue had some games or programs you could code into the computer and I used to love doing this. I didn’t have a clue what it meant, but I enjoyed doing it. And sometimes there would be cheats or exploits you could do by changing a few letters.
I remember watching “War Games” at the same time as typing in the code to a small game on the computer, and thought it would be amazing to be able to connect the computer to the telephone!
Through secondary school I didn’t learn much in the way of IT, it was word processing or typing. I did however get an Amstrad Notebook to do my school work on as my handwriting was appalling! I remember finding settings area and reading each screen wondering how to connect to a phone, as well as, what on earth would I do if I managed?
1998 rolled round and I went to College to do a GNVQ in Engineering, metal work and maths and science and electronics was cool, but I didn’t feel like I wanted to do this. I left in the second year. My friends were all doing Computing and they were making websites and programming! I remember opening email accounts on loads of different providers, and finding penpals from all over the world. I would walk to the library to use the internet. My electronics lecturer managed to convince my mum to get the internet at home as it would help me study. In those days you would plug your computer into a modem via a serial port, and then the modem to the telephone socket. After telling it to dial a number and waiting for the connection noises you would be surfing at around 6-12kb a second…. Yeah a second! Give a millennial that connection speed and they would try and press charges for neglect!
In 2000, I started a computing A Level, part of the course was Delphi Programming, and I remember writing an application to display train time tables and ticket costs, and creating a manual of how to use it, and the lecturer said to me back then I would have a career as a Manual writer or a programmer (I chose Programmer).
The programming lecturer was a lively, wacky lecturer, and that made it entertaining.
I up and moved to Nuneaton (thanks to the internet, I met a girl online and decided to go and meet her. And ended up staying, didn’t last but stayed anyway)
Worked in many little jobs, with agencies (it is joked about in the office of what jobs haven’t I done!)
Always hoping to get a job in IT I kept going to the job centre every opportunity and being told experience and qualifications were needed.
After working in warehouses and as a carer I decided I would go back to College.
I started studying at night school in 2006 (This lecturer (at a different college, in a different country was also quite wacky and lively (seemed to be a common occurrence))), working night shifts in a warehouse and studying at home and in the evening before work, after a year I was lucky enough to get a job as an Admin assistant. It was a pay drop, but 9-5 and Mon – Fri.
During the second year at night school my employer asked if I could put together a quotation application, I said I was up for it and the MD and I spent a day or two a week looking into the calculations, and after a few months we had created a quotation application that they still use to this day!
I created 4 more applications for NSI Group (Nuneaton Steel Industry) before getting my first official developer job, Junior .NET Developer at FactoryMaster.
Exposed to ASP.NET websites and mentored to develop in C# (College taught VB.NET), I learnt more while working with my mentor than I ever did at college! He had studied at Uni and told me he learnt most of what he knows from actually doing it!
I developed Business to Business websites and Account package linking DLLs (Sage Line 50 and another), followed by a mobile application (That ran on Windows Mobile) this was the first (and so far the last) time I worked on Mobile development.
I left to work on a different challenge, still in the same town.
I ended up working in VB6, but with a legend! He created a VB6 version of WPF (well that’s how it seemed), he gave his users the ability to create their own screens, I was amazed!
Learnt about web services, SQL and JSON and the importance of a good network infrastructure! The amount of data Gemba Solutions can collect, calculate and display on users customised screens is amazing!
Truly a pleasure to work with the Gemba Family!
And then we drift into the present where I create web applications in ASP.NET, C#, jQuery, SQL and so on!!