The blog and home page of Simon Soanes
Skip to content
[ Log On ]

Why did you start programming?

My first computer was a second hand TRS80 and second one a C64; they both started at this little flashing cursor and didn't do anything unless you told them to.  The TRS80 hooked up to a normal cassette player but we didn't have any tapes with anything on to begin with so I found I could make it do what I wanted by telling it things which you could then save to tape as a bunch of squeeks and squeels. We eventually got some games on tape but it was fun to make it do things like try to simple break encryption by trying all the possibilities till it got english words (it was pretty slow!).

As soon as I got the C64 I wanted to cheat at the many games that happened to come with it so I saved up for a year (I was under 10) and got a Datel Action Replay cartridge which happened to have the ability to do assembly language and modify anything else that was in memory!! This meant that I was no longer constrained by Basic and got to have a bit of fun for a short while.  Towards the end with the C64 I had saved up and purchased two disk drives and a copy of Geos and Geobasic.  Geobasic let you write programs akin to what run today with buttons and mouse support out of the box.  Primary school taunted me when some of the other kids were allowed to use Logo to control a robot that drew things for them on the floor, so I spent a while working out how to build my own (which never got built because I happened to find a book with a complete design).

I then happened to get a second hand PC from a relative and it had qbasic and a database!  When its CGA screen failed I went and bought a brand new computer with a EGA screen which could run Windows 3 - shortly afterwards I found a copy of Delphi on a coverdisk and was astonished to have a language that was no longer constrained by the concept of running in an interpreter but not as hard as assembly to use (Delphi was fully compiled with a runtime in each executable).

Much later at secondary school I saw my first sight of the Internet; after which I ended up making some old style web pages, then some CGI scripts, then made web pages that do stuff using a C style scripting language (PHP) and then found the MSDN Lap around Longhorn video by Chris Anderson and Don Box and redid everything in C#.

Since moving to .NET I have changed my job from network administration to actually match my interests and become a full time developer.  I've also spent a lot of time learning various API's available for Windows and taken the time to become quite proficient in both C# and C++ with a spattering of Java and Python to round my knowledge off.

I still look at what I'm doing as telling the computer to do what I want it to do...

Now what?

Change is the only constant in the world.

After a stint as Solutions Architect where I didn't really get much of an opportunity to develop software directly (I drew a lot of Archimate diagrams but managed to get the odd project or PoC where I could actually develop something) I took a role as a Delivery Lead which has sufficient scope to allow me to be as hands on as I want as long as I also guide my team and support the business applications we deliver.

I also have my own company that does hands on R&D and consulting.