Being a Programmer – Part 1
Inspiration – what inspired me to be a programmer? What continues to inspire me? What makes being a programmer exciting and fun. To understand that, you would have to understand the time period where I was learning what was possible with computers. I will start at the beginning and work my way through my ultimate decision and what it means to me.
This of course, is just a start on what I wanted to share. As I started to write, I found myself writing more and more. I was making this blog post exceptionally long. For this blog – it will be my inspiration, and challenges as the world continued to grow and change. Some of you will find my path familiar and some will wonder what I am talking about.
So here is the series that I want to do:
- Behind the scene, what does my day to day look like today and in the past. That will be my next blog.
- One of my most challenging projects, and my mindset what I was thinking as I was involved in the project. I may even get a little technical on this one.
- Developing my soft skills then and now
- And… Anything else I decide on. Have something fun, you would like me to write about. Please leave a comment. I do take recommendations.
My first of many big decisions:
What do I want to be when I grow up? That is what I thought to myself as I was going to the end of my Senior year of High School. For me, it translated to what do I enjoy doing? Well, I love to ride and train horses, I love to travel, I liked math and English, I liked “programming” in my one class that was available, and I had no idea what I wanted to do.
I had to make a list. Horses were out. It was not a practical job. I loved riding horses, and knew I wanted to continue. That meant I would have to make good money. Travel, a travel agent was a possibility. But I wondered how reasonable that was too. I settled on programming. It was creative, it was fun, it was what I could see myself doing. I was so excited with a click of my keyboard; I could create something!!! A something that someone else would use and of course love!
My Next step was to see my guidance counselor and talk with him.
The day of the appointment approached, and I felt happy about my choice. I was in for a big setback. My counselor was a member of the quill and paper club. In other words, he did not like computers. He told me that by the time I graduated college that all the computers would be programmed. Sadly, I went back to my list. There really was not anything on the list that would work for me.
I started working. My first job was at Burger King. That of course, did not pay much. My next job was at a bank as a person to help in the office. Then I worked as a bank teller. As I was working as a bank teller, I decided that I had to go back to school. The bank offered to pay for courses. I took advantage of it. I decided I would be an accountant. Yes, that would be a good choice. I liked numbers. I continued working as a teller during the day and going to college at night. Then I found, much to my dismay, debits and credits were opposite for the company and the bank. It took a lot to finish that class. But that class did involve some simple programming.
I had found what I wanted to do when I grew up, again. I wanted to program. In order, to do that I would need to go back to college. I was so very lucky. My parents were both working at good jobs. However, my mom would have been able to go further with a degree. With that in mind, they offered to pay for my college if I stayed at home and went to local colleges. Of course, I agreed.
Out of college and ready for the first “real” job:
I learned the skills I needed in college. I thought I would never have to learn anything again. I knew it, and… That was not really what I thought. I would like to say it worked that way. However, I would have really been bored.
I had gotten a job working with RPG on a system 36. That means I was working on a mainframe. I learned a lot about CL and RPG and moved on to working on an AS/400. From there my learning continued. I learned many different things. I learned how to hold meetings. I learned how to create requirements. I learned how to be a good programmer/analyst. I felt very technical and secure in what I had decided to do.
The first big change:
I learned the different tools and finally found a new site. It was called SDN. It was a place where I found more information. I found others who helped. It was an amazing find. I still did not fell as technical. Not nearly as technical as the people there. However, I was learning and that was all that mattered.
Time went by:
After some time, I felt like a full-fledged programmer again. It was amazing. I had learned basically all the parts that I needed to develop great solutions. I learned about the “functional” side of SAP. I had worked on configuration. I was back to setting up meetings, proposing solutions, and still programming. I was technical again! I was a programmer.
So back to the first paragraph that I wrote. What inspires me? Learning, having fun, and excelling at what I do. Creating a “thing”. A program that is being used and usually updated. A “thing” that people will like and will save time / money.
Do I love my job all the time? No, at times I hate it. But for the most part, I jump out of bed. I am pretty happy to be living the dream that I had way back in High school.
Wrapping it all up in a bow:
Programming is amazing. It is changing and evolving every day. Everything will NEVER be coded. There always will be something that needs to be done. I started working with RPG on a green screen. That would be strange now. SAP itself has evolved and programming now does not look like programming when I started working as a customer with SAP in 1997. I am still on the customer side.
It inspires me to be involved with a community where we all have a something in common – SAP. I love the fact that I have millions of friends out there with different skills that I can draw upon. A million might be a stretch, but a lot of friends that can help. The SAP Community is amazing. So many people are willing to help. It inspires me to know that I am not that lone programming down in the basement trying to figure everything out by myself.
Please join me – you do not have to be nearly as “wordy”. Please leave a comment about what inspires you to program.