Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Hung my diploma today...

I mentioned a few posts ago that I moved and as you know, if you've ever moved, it takes forever to get the little things unpacked and put in their correct place. I just hung my diploma on my office wall and I had a semi-proud moment. "Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Minor in Mathematics" it reads. I'm pretty good at the computer dealio, but the math... can't say I remember calculus. I can't even balance my checkbook anymore :-/. OTOH, why would I need to? That's what online banking is for.

It's funny how I ended up in the business side of software. I remember (vaugely) all those baloney C++ assignments about calculating how many slices in a 14" pizza or writing a craps game my sophomore year. It didn't get interesting until my junior year when I transfered to a real university and started programming with cool graphics packages on sparc station 10's... which were totally expensive back then. Of course I had all the math down and when I graduated I applied at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for some geek-y C++ programming job.

Of course I didn't get the job because there were like 1000 applicants. So I took the summer off... practically. One August morning as I was heading out to the jacuzzi my mother found a job in the classifieds that read "Computer programmer. BS in CS required. No experience necessary." So I called, faxed my resume in (litteraly a half of a page) and got a call back for an interview. The company was a small healthcare software company nearby. I nailed the interview and was practiacally hired on the spot.

The first month was basically me learning Clipper (summer 87 -- the cool version). I was too afraid to tell them that I wasn't a CIS graduate and I had no idea what an IDX was so I took the Nantucket book home and learned all about relational database programming. I couldn't believe I spent all that time in college and none of it prepared me for writing business software products. However, within four months I had rewritten their internal office management system and they promoted me from junior programmer and gave me a $10K raise (which let me tell you was a shitload because I was still living at home and driving an 81 LeBaron). I realized that college taught me how to think about programming. Even though they didn't specifically teach me about databases, I gained the skill to be able to make sense out of any computer gobbely-gook. (Granted, later going from Clipper to FoxPro 2.0 was maybe like 5 syntactical differences, but still). But of course I still can't figure out what Math ever gave me.....

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Damn - this brings back memories. I just remembered the Maze program and using recursion to get out of it and the Sieve of Aristophanes. Brings back memories...

Bill

Steve (T-Bone) Elliser said...

Anyone else remember coding up the Towers of Hanoi Iteratively?

Anonymous said...

The same in other places. I'm a civil enginner, still trying to translate my clipper (5.2) to vfp 7.0. The college taught me to learn.

Adilson M. Pimenta
www.lundi.com.br
brazil

Anonymous said...

You are right on about the "unpacked" part. I moved to SF over a month ago and am still living out of the Boxes in my aparment. Btw your Bay.NET UG presentation last month was very useful !

-Shiva