Friday, June 01, 2012

Evening with Scott Hanselman

Disclaimer: If you are reading the post, and you are woking in ASP.NET, and if you do not know who Scott Hanselman is, then you have my sympathies. (Don't worry, living under a rock is sometimes more comfortable!)

As I had blogged earlier, I have learned quite a bit (maybe a little more) from Scott, all about ASP.NET. Not only ASP.NET, also about other things... When I started developing apps for Windows Phone, I wanted to develop Hansleminutes on it. For the ones living under the rock, Hanselminutes is Scott's weekly podcast. I got his blessings and set out to develop the app. The rest is history and the app is available for download in the marketplace.

I got the word from Andrew Schwam that Scott Hanselman was visiting Philly.Net UG. Well, should I miss it? I would be an idiot to do so! I registered for the event and there I was! yesterday, May 31st that is.

I reached P J Whelihan's in Blue Bell PA (around 2 hours drive from my place) where Philly dot net had arranged a social networking event. I got to meet lot of familiar faces and also some known figures in Philly dot net community.

I was in Montgomery College, at around 6:15 PM, but Scott was running late because of his flight delay in Chicago, due to the thunderstorm. He made it finally, and it all started. It was a delight seeing him in person, live. After seeing a ton of videos and demos of him presenting, I had got used to his speaking. But seeing him in person was something I could not explain in words.

After the session, I met him and introduced to him. And there it is, me standing with Scott.

Scott, thanks for coming down here.
Thanks to for getting the show together. And Apprenda for sponsoring the event.

It all started here....

Inspired by Scott Hanselman's post :

She let me take the computer home. - How did you get started in computers and programming?

Rewind to 1985-1986.

I remember that day when my English teacher, Mr. Jaganathan, announcing the arrival of a computer in our school. That was during our 10th grade exams, and so we had no way of making time to go to the lab (which was setup in a different building) to see it.

I had read very little about computers back then. Just that they could do some marvellous things. Yeah, just that. And I was just eager to see it. Thats all.

My 10th grade exams got over (finally!), and my Dad enrolled me into a computer course, which was held by an institution located very near my house. It was a very basic course, and it was just to have fun with computers and to know them. The instructor introduced me to GW-BASIC. I could draw a house, a car, and what not, just by giving instructions to the computer. I was amazed by the experience. It went for some weeks and the course got over.

As computers were not part of the curriculum, I didn't pursue it further. But those days in the institute are crystal clear in my mind. I had so much fun, even when I did not know the inner workings of a computer program and logic and all...

Fast forward to 1992-1993. I was almost completing my bachelor's degree in Physics. Peer pressure  mounted to try Medicine (MBBS degree) and/or Engineering, both for which I was not interested. All I wanted to do was to write Civil Services and become a IPS (Indian Police Services) officer. My Dad had other plans. He convinced me to do higher studies in Computer Science (he said it was the future, which I am living it, thanks to him) and I got enrolled for MCA (Masters in Computer Applications) program in Bharathiar University.

I didn't exactly know what I was getting into. I was very much privileged and honored to have very supportive classmates, seniors and teachers (who became my very close friends). My senior friends advised me to spend the "free" times in the library and read all the computer related books I can. The first few tries were futile, as I did not understand a bit of what the articles in it were relating to. I still remember one of my senior friends and then mentor, Biju, telling me to continue spending my time in the library reading those books as it would make sense after a while. Wasn't that golden words?

It all started making sense, slowly. And the 'computer bug" got into me. The possibility of designing an idea and then implementing it, instantly, was very satisfying!

(Lesson learned here: Read all you can. Do not stop learning. You stop learning, and you are a dead mouse!)

While in college, I had done my summer internship in Tata Consultancy Services. It was for their product in Oracle 6.x. Once I finished my MCA course, I got into TCS as a full time employee. I spend 5 years in TCS. What a schooling it was! I learned quite a bit about Software Engineering those days, that I still apply to my day to day activities. But it is sad that most of the companies I worked for, are not at par with TCS's Software Engineering quality those days. I was in TCS when our home office got CMM Level 5 certification. That is when I learned that software engineering was more than just coding. This was 1998 my friends, many years ago, and most of you were on diapers :)

We have come a long way in engineering methodology and all, but, as I said before, I feel terrible when I see companies not giving the value to software engineering that we used to provide many many years ago in TCS.

Years passed by. I moved on. Different companies. Different projects. Different languages. Different architectures. My love of computing never died. And never will.

Words of Wisdom (:)):
Programming is an intellectual pursuit. If you don't think so, maybe we shouldn't talk to each other.