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(re: re: Avatars) Ken,
How did you learn to program? Did you take classes or just learn on your own? I have been into computers since I was 5 and have always wanted to program and create my own stuff. I was just always too lazy to do so. I am going to college now, and am going to make my Bachelor’s computer technology. It consists of Java, C, etc. I have gotten a little into QBasic(a long time ago), and assembly. I just wanted to know how you got your start. What languages would you recommend at this time; since computers have advanced a lot since you started. Thanks.

Posted by: James on 11/2/2003

Roberta and I were married very young (I was 18 by four days). I was in my second year of college, majoring in Physics, when we discovered that I was about to be a dad, and that it was time for me to get serious about finding a job.
At the time, computers were just being born. I saw my first pocket calculator in college and remember being fascinated by it. I also visited UCLA on some school field trip, and saw my first real computer (a big mainframe). They didn’t invent PCs until many years later.
I decided to quit college and do a nine month intensive course in computer programming – Control Data Institute – they used to advertise on late night TV. It worked for me! I learned Cobol, RPG and assembler. My first job was as a computer operator, on a mainframe computer – but, I was programming in no time.
Finding a job in Los Angeles, in those days (the mid 70’s) as a programmer was super-easy. I had a series of programming jobs, and finally wound up in compiler development – doing mostly C and assembler. My last job prior to starting Sierra was as the head of engineering for a company that was doing corporate tax returns on a remote computer for big companies. I credit this job with having given me the business skills, and financial foundation, required to be “more than just a programmer” when I started Sierra.
Today: I’m not sure what I’d recommend. I’m biased towards C and C++ – but, there are plenty of Java and ASP jobs out there. If your goal is to build games for a living – then performance is everything, and other than on handhelds, or cell phones, where you have no choice – I don’t think Java has the performance required to build great games.
-Ken W
PS – I just re-read this .. it makes me sound REALLY old (which I kind of am .. my 49th birthday was yesterday … this time next year I’ll be SUPER depressed)