Friday, June 01, 2012

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.

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