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Author Topic: questions for programmers  (Read 6970 times)
gally
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« on: March 13, 2008, 05:49:31 PM »

Hi,
i'm gally's daughter.
i need to interview a computer programmer and it was suggested i should post the questions here and see if anyone would like to answer them for me.
the questions are:

Name:

Title of job or position held:

How long have u done this job:

How did u become interested in this field:

What is yur favorite and least favorite part of this job:

What kind of training or education have u had for this field:

What is the future outlook for this field?:

How many hours (or days) do u spend working each week:



Thanks in advance for helping me out with this,
Nikki.
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Veign
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2008, 06:18:12 PM »

Name:
Chris Hanscom
(better known as Veign)


Title of job or position held:
Web Developer / Owner of Veign
http://www.veign.com


How long have u done this job:
6 years


How did u become interested in this field:
A requirement came up in a company I was working to start developing some VBA macros.  The macros turned into a standalone application and I've never looked back.  During the course of really developing the company that Veign would be I focused on website design and development


What is yur favorite and least favorite part of this job:
Favorite part is the feeling that everything I do is solving a puzzle.  Plus there is something cool about see the process of turning cryptic words on a screen into a functioning application that can make a difference to someone.

There is no worst part.  A programmer has to have a passion for the development world that far exceeds their job.  Since this is my job, my passion and my hobby there is nothing I don't like. 

I get excited from success, learn from failure, and become better with each bug that is found in my code.


What kind of training or education have u had for this field:
None.  Self taught.


What is the future outlook for this field?:
Tremendous growth that will touch every aspect of a persons life.  Web and mobile applications will do nothing but grow and become an even more invaluable resource to people.


How many hours (or days) do u spend working each week:
7 days a week no less than 12 hours a day.  If I'm not working in the business, I'm working on the business or learning and trying to advance my skillset.
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mouser
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2008, 07:08:30 PM »

Note that anyone who doesn't want to post their answers publicly can send gally a personal message with their answers.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2008, 07:12:21 PM by mouser » Logged
gally
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2008, 10:39:22 PM »

Hello Veign, thank you so much for helping me out with this.
it trully does mean alot.

Also thank you Mouser for trying to motivate the programmers here to help me.

thanks again,
Nikki.
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mouser
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2008, 11:16:40 PM »

Name:
J. Reichler

Title of job or position held:
Freelance Programmer

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.
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gally
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2008, 11:50:56 PM »

Veign and mouser,

My daughter has decided to use both of your replies to the interview in her career outlook report. She wants me to let you both know that she appreciates you taking the time to help her with this as this project counts as basically 100% of her 9 weeks grade.

We cannot say, in words, how grateful we truly are for you having taken the time that you did to help, as we know that you are both very busy.

Thank you, both, again very very much!!,

gally and Nikki
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gally
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2008, 01:35:51 AM »

As a sidenote to mouser:

WOW!!... I have spent years learning to/working on 'fixing' computers and trying to implement security on them (mostly, for family members after they crash the harddrives from viruses or from thinking they know what they are doing by being click happy and deleting major components, totally rendering them useless). My oldest bro used to have an old Commodore and I  remember always wanting to get on it and use it but he would never let anyone near it... kinda wish he had. I had always been interested in learning to program (even tried a course in programming once, ages ago) but the more time passed the more it seemed I just could never find the time to actually hide myself away for days in order to concentrate on it and learn it.

After reading your replies to her questions I decided that, at my age, it'd be best to leave all the programming to my kids and just stick to doing the fixing of them  smiley

My daughter, after reading both yours and Veigns' replies says she is even more interested now in programming so I've decided that as soon as it is feasibly possible I will make both my kids an account here. I think that they could learn alot just from this website alone. I think their being members here would have a deep impact on enhancing their learning and help them to build on their skills.

Thank you!!


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app103
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2008, 02:14:36 AM »

gally...you are never too old to learn.

I didn't start programming till about 4 years ago, at the age of 38. (self-taught and still have a lot to learn)

So if you ever want to give it a try, don't be afraidWink
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gally
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« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2008, 03:40:46 AM »

app103... Hello  smiley

I know one is never too old to learn,.... and it's not that I'm 'afraid' to give it a try, it's more like literally having and finding the time. It seems the more I try to get into learning whatever it is I'm trying to learn, the more others want my time....  It's like 'Hey she's at (whatever it is) again... lets need something' lol ... I can't remember the last time I was actually able to devote even 1 hour to sticking with what I am/was trying to do without someone screaming 'chaos over here, drama over there!!' 

Funny, is that I was just explaining that same 'never being able to find the time to actually stick to it' to my son, Then I read your post.  Also, I ran into the thread for "Interruptron" ....something says my using that program would render me a "100% interuption, give it up" result, if it took all the 'outside the computer' interuptions into account  lol

I started in 1995 just messing around on computers, in the last 4 years I have self taught myself how to fix all these things that they, too easily, find ways of messing up. 2 years ago our situation took an unfortunate turn and ever since it has been the 'chaos over here, drama over there!!' scenario.  I figure as my kids get more into programming, and when time allows for our situation to improve, I will probably give it a try.

.. as you stated in your profile  "...at some point early on in life decided to become a programmer and ended up having to sweep those dreams under the rug for a bunch of reasons and never did become a programmer. But dreams have a way of coming back to haunt you, so it might be a bit late to be starting out and starting over, but better late than never." 
I know I'll, also, get to that point but unfortunately it's gonna have to wait just a bit longer.

Thank you, app103, for your encouragement and for the link you provided.. I had always seen that particular forum but had never been able to get there (that darn 'time' stuff).

Have a great day, as it is and has been a great pleasure to meet you!!!
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mouser
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« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2008, 04:46:59 AM »


This might be a good opportunity to remind people about the Self-Teaching Programming Section on this forum:
http://www.donationcoder....orum/index.php?board=77.0



This section is not meant to hold your hand and teach you. Instead it is meant to motivate self-teaching.

Essentially, you will have to get yourself a book or e-book and teach yourself.

What you will find here is a "ladder" of increasingly challenging programming assignments, meant to motivate you to learn and use different facilities of each language.

How this section of the site works:

  • To help inspire you, each challenge assignment is only unlocked after you submit a solution to the previous one.
  • Assignment also often have bonus challenges which you can complete for extra recognition.
  • Users will be rewarded with special stuff in their forum identity - badges or text, etc. so you can show off of your achievements.
  • Other bonus prizes (dc cups and tshirts) may be available to high achievers.

  • You will be able to see other people's solutions after you submit yours.
  • It is your job to test your programs and make sure they work!  Your program is not going to be tested by us - it's up to you to test it and make it work.

  • Submit your assignment as a new post.
  • No one will be able to read it until it is accepted officially.
  • After it is accepted you will be able to read other people's solutions and the next assignment will be accessible.
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Veign
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« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2008, 11:33:03 AM »

That is great that your daughter has interest in programming.  Get her started in some fun projects and once she completes the first one I'm sure she will be hooked for life.

Let us know the grade she receives on the project...
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tinjaw
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2008, 01:16:22 PM »

Give me a week and I will turn them into budding Pythonistas.  tongue
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wraith808
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2008, 02:21:28 PM »

Title of job or position held: Contract Programming Consultant

How long have you done this job: 20 years

How did you become interested in this field: A programming course in high school was the start, on an Apple IIe in Apple Pascal.  From there, I started programming games in assembler on my Franklin Ace 1000.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of this job: My favorite parts are the continued learning and challenge, and the money of course.  My least favorite is that a lot of people don't have a lot of understanding what programming takes and make things harder by trying to manage the programming instead of the project, which usually results in less than optimal project timelines and more hours worked.

What kind of training or education have you had for this field:  Formally, I have a Bachelor's of Science in Computer Science and a few personalized training courses.  Informally, I find that I have to constantly refresh my skills by the use of several resources on the internet.

What is the future outlook for this field?:  I think the future is bright for computer programming as a whole.  One must be very aware of the state of one's skills and the demand for one's skillset to take advantage of this however.  Also, personal skills that are not easily quantifiable such as time management, people skills, and a good work ethic go a long way in distinguishing programmers of similar skill levels.

How many hours (or days) do you spend working each week:  It varies according to contract and deadlines.  In general I work 40-50 hours a week, though I have worked as many as 80 hours in times when work needed to be done.

If you have any more questions, feel free to PM me.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2008, 09:01:26 AM by wraith808 » Logged

gally
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« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2008, 10:38:22 PM »

Hi guys.
This is Nikki (gallys daughter).
@ Mouser-i tried the autohotkey program,things wroked out pretty kool, but when i tried my own codes it didnt go so well but i'll try again tomorrow once i get some rest.
@ Veign- as soon as i get my paper back i'll let you kno my grade on it.
@ Tinjaw-What are you gonna turn me into? i really dont like the sound of that. lol.

thanks again for everything,
Nikki.
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tinjaw
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I'm so glad breakbeat techno isn't an illegal drug

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« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2008, 02:52:54 AM »

@ Tinjaw-What are you gonna turn me into? i really dont like the sound of that. lol.

The inevitable question asked by new programmers is which computer language to learn (first). There has always been a (mostly) friendly rivalry between programmers of different programming languages. Python is one of the more recent languages created and my personal favorite. Programmers that programmer using Python call themselves Pythonistas.
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steeladept
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« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2008, 03:57:32 AM »

This might be a good opportunity to remind people about the Self-Teaching Programming Section on this forum:
http://www.donationcoder....orum/index.php?board=77.0

Yeah, guess I aught to get back to that, huh.  I got hung up on the mathmatics of my code and sort of let that slip.

Okay Nikki, you and me learning together on this - I was (am) trying out Java because I have had a class on it and it may prove useful at work.  I will try AHK as well and see where I get there. Wink
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gally
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« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2008, 07:15:38 PM »

heyy,Veign.
this is gally's daughter sorry it took so long but we finally got our reports back.
i received a 75/100,even though its a C it was also the highest grade in my class.
thanks again for all the help,
Nikki

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Veign
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« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2008, 07:19:10 PM »

Good Job!
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gally
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« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2008, 08:27:16 PM »

thank you!
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Jimdoria
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« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2008, 07:54:30 PM »

Just saw this thread - what a great topic! Thanks, Nikki & Gally for getting it started.

As far as the first programming language and how to get started, I was reminded of Hackety Hack:

Quote
In the 1980s, a language called BASIC swept the countryside. It was a language beginners could use to make their computer speak, play music. You could easily draw a big smiley face or a panda or whatever you like! But not just BASIC. Other languages like: LOGO and Pascal were right there on many computers.

In this century, you may have dozens of programming languages lurking on your machine. But how to use them?? A fundamental secret! Well, no more. We cannot stand for that. Hackety Hack will not stand to have you in the dark!!

Hackety Hack is a learning environment based on Ruby that aims to re-create the workflow of those early BASICs - type, run, see something cool happen, tweak, and so on. It's Internet focused ("Code your own blog in 6 lines! Your own IM in twice that!") but there's no reason you couldn't write desktop apps with it too.

Might be worth a look to aspiring programmers of any age. http://www.hacketyhack.net
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- Jimdoria ~@>@

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who divide everybody into two kinds of people, and those who don't.
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