Title of job or position held:
How long have u done this job:
I've been programming since i was about 10 years old, and I've taken paying jobs here and there since I was in high school, which was about 20 years ago.
How did u become interested in this field:
My father was the one that introduced me to them. The first computer we bought was probably around 1977, and i was entranced by the idea of playing games on it. But at that time there were no games you could buy for that computer (Cromemco Z2d), and the only way to play games was by typing them in yourself. So I learned how to program mainly because i wanted to create games to play. I started out at first typing in game listings in basic that they used to print in magazines (Creative Computing
) has a special spot in my heart from those days. As I got a little older my father used to let me stay home from school to program, and programming became more and more central to my life.
What is yur favorite and least favorite part of this job:
First I should say that i don't view it really as just a job. Programming is the single most important thing to me in life. It brings me incredible joy and satisfaction. I think the most pleasurable thing is being able to create something. To be able to imagine, plan, and then work on something until you've created something new in the world. The lease favorite part is trying to figure out what is going wrong when something doesn't work the way it seems it should. Sometimes this can be incredibly painful and i've had neighbors come to my door worried that i was in a fight because i was screaming at my computer so loudly. The other least favorite part is not having enough time to write all the programs i wish i could write.
What kind of training or education have u had for this field:
I mostly taught myself to program using books. When I got to university I got an undergraduate degree in computer science as well as applied math and statistics. I was then accepted into a Ph.D. program in Artificial Intelligence, which is the only thing that can compete with programming for my heart and mind, but i've had a very hard time actually completing my dissertation and it's not clear when I will.
What is the future outlook for this field?:
It's hard to imagine a time when there won't be programmers creating stuff. Regardless of paid employment, most people who are programmers do it because they enjoy it, and financial income is a side benefit. But programming is changing in that the languages, tools and "frameworks" that people use now are becoming increasingly powerful. So the starting building blocks that a new programmer can bring to bear are incredibly impressive. From a financial standpoint, there seems to be a kind of revolution happening in the software world, and i'm not sure how positive it is. More and more programs are moving to a web-based implementation, rather than a local application running on a PC, the way traditional programs have always been written. With that we have seen a move to finance software and website with web advertisements. I worry about this, and I worry about the possibility that fewer and fewer companies are going to be dominating the attention of people who use the internet, in a way that software monopolies could only have dreamed of 15 years ago. So to summarize i dont have any concerns about the quality of programs that small developers will be able to build, but i have concerns about their ability to get noticed and make money from their creations.
How many hours (or days) do u spend working each week:
One of the reasons that freelance programming is such a perfect job for me is that my internal sleep clock does not seem normal. It's very hard for me to keep regular hours. So i do some programming every day. It's not uncommon for me to spend from 8pm to 8am in a programming marathon. But some days i spend just dabbling and planning code, without actually coding anything. Sometimes the best work is done while lying in bed turning a problem over and over in your mind trying to find the right way to solve it in an elegant fashion.