I was talking with some co-workers yesterday during a break when the topic of children and programming came up. More specifically, how to get children started programming. That led me to thinking about how I first got started and the progression from that first step to where I am today. As best I can tell, the following list pretty much sums it up:

  1. Basic on Apple IIe (circa 1990, self-taught)
  2. Visual Basic 3.0 on Windows 3.1 (1993, self-taught)
  3. Visual Basic 4.0 on Windows 95 (1995, self-taught)
  4. Pascal on VAX (1996, college)
  5. HTML 2.0 (1996, self-taught)
  6. Assembly on VAX (1997, college)
  7. C on Unix (1997, college)
  8. Java on Windows 95 (1997, self-taught)
  9. C++ on Windows 95 (1998, college)
  10. Delphi on Windows 95 (1998, self-taught)
  11. Smalltalk on Windows 95 (1998, college)
  12. Prolog on Windows 95 (1998, college)
  13. ML on Windows 95 (1998, college)
  14. HTML 3.2 (1999, self-taught)
  15. CSS pre-1.0 (1999, self-taught)
  16. JavaScript 1.0 (1999, self-taught)
  17. HTML 4.0 (2000, self-taught)
  18. CSS 1.0 (2000, self-taught)
  19. JavaScript 1.3 (2000, self-taught)
  20. XML 1.0 (2000, self-taught)
  21. JSP (2000, self-taught)
  22. XSLT 1.0 (2001, self-taught)
  23. SVG 1.0 (2002, self-taught)
  24. PHP 4 (2003, self-taught)
  25. VB.NET (2005, self-taught)
  26. C# (2005, self-taught)

I’m sure I’m missing a few steps the list, but I think this just about covers it. It’s certainly a long way from Basic on the Apple IIe to C#. Clearly, this would not be the ideal path for someone who wants to learn programming from scratch.

How did you learn programming?

Disclaimer: Any viewpoints and opinions expressed in this article are those of Nicholas C. Zakas and do not, in any way, reflect those of my employer, my colleagues, Wrox Publishing, O'Reilly Publishing, or anyone else. I speak only for myself, not for them.

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