Geeks With Blogs
Code Curve Chris Smith on tech and meta-tech

What this new blog is about

Tech - I'm going to blog about technical stuff that interests / excites / confuses / frustrates me.

Meta-tech - I'm going to blog about over-arching concepts and issues related to software development.  Philosophical, architectural, social...

I hope this blog will have an interesting slant because I started a new career as a software developer at the age of 33.  It’s been a roller coaster ride over the last 2 years (so now you know my age) and I’ve had a chance to reflect on my experiences and want to get it out there on the internet.

Who I am

I'm currently specialising in C# and WPF. I've only been a developer for 2 years now, and have only been writing C# for 8 months. Before the C# I wrote Perl, and before that I was an actuary.

I chose this new career because I love developing software.  I have a degree in maths and therefore an instinct for elegant solutions to technical problems and I enjoy building something that feels right and works well.

Getting into this industry without a Computer Science degree at the age of 33 wasn't easy and I'll definitely have more to say on that subject in future posts.  I took the Perl job because I was interested in the language, liked the people who interviewed me, found the company interesting (it provides financial services) and, dare I say, because there weren't many companies out there willing to offer me a job.  I really wanted to get into more mainstream, compiled languages such as Java or C#, but that simply wasn't a possibility 2 years ago. I was caught in the "no job without experience and no experience without a job" trap.

At the start of this year an opportunity came up to work for an agile shop and I jumped in.  I wanted to work with C# and the .NET framework and I wanted to see a published product through from inception to delivery.  I also wanted to learn about Test Driven Development and all that that implies.

It’s been a case of “be careful what you wish for”.  I have had to get up to speed on a slew of new technologies (C# 3.0, WPF, WCF, threading, Linq, MbUnit, JavaScript, NHibernate) and also grapple with good practices such as low coupling, DRY, programming to interfaces, etc. and at times I’ve felt overwhelmed.

But I’m glad I took the plunge and I’m looking forward to learning more about the wonderful world of computers and software development.  That seems enough for a first post.  Time to think about what to blog about first!

Posted on Saturday, September 27, 2008 11:33 AM About me | Back to top

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Comments on this post: Let the blogging commence

# re: Let the blogging commence
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I started programming in my late 30s. I am now almost 44. My degree is in Art Education of all things. I have always loved science but shyed away from it in college because my math skills where in the toilet. I did a similar thing that you have done and I believe it is the key to success when getting into the software development world no matter what stage in life. They key to success is finding a team to work with that uses the the best techniques like Agile, TDD, ... You were right to get out of the Perl programming spot you were it but it served it's purpose which was to give you an entry way into the business. I had to do vb 5 maintenance, vba, flash, active x when I started out. I also worked with a wonderful company that encouraged the learning of new skills. I quickly worked my way to getting on the best IT group within the company. I was quickly using c# and asp.net. Being successful in this field is about who and what you surround yourself with. If you work with a stogie group that wont take the time to invest in using the best design patterns, testing, agile development then in a few years you will find that the "good" teams won't be able to take the time to invest in you. It is all about having the guts to learn new things and having the decency to help others in the same boat. It all comes down to that.
Left by d. tinsley on Sep 27, 2008 1:12 PM

# re: Let the blogging commence
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Thanks for the advice D. You're right - succeeding in this business is about curiosity, community and drive.
Left by Chris Smith on Sep 27, 2008 6:01 PM

# re: Let the blogging commence
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Welcome to GWB, Chris.
Left by Chris Eargle on Sep 29, 2008 3:54 PM

# re: Let the blogging commence
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Thanks Chris. Looking forward to getting some good content out there. Blogging is a great way to crystallise thoughts and people's comments are always interesting and useful (well, most of the time).
Left by Chris Smith on Sep 29, 2008 7:31 PM

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