I bought my first copy of Kernighan & Ritchie in 1985. At the time I didn't even own a computer. Yet all the buzz was about using the C programming language if you wanted to build 'real' software that could do all the amazing things the rapidly selling personal computers of the day foretold for our future. Years earlier I had taken an introductory course in Fortran IV and then moved on to working with COBOL on the IBM System 370. Fortran had been a sparse language with some odd rules but compared to COBOL it was a dream for someone like me who wished to make the machine bend to my will. C took that ability to tap into the power of the computer and made it something so powerful and yet so malleable in the hands of the programmer it was astounding to me.
I eventually 'borrowed' a copy of Turbo C from a classmate and set out to learn on my own. It was not until January, 1993 that I got to take actual C programming courses at the local community college, but that was enough to help me secure my first job programming in C later that year. Since that time I have worked with a raft of differing computer languages, programming tools, operating systems, design paradigms, and enterprise system architectures. Whatever I worked with it was always the thrill of making the machine 'bend to my will', to solve a problem, that gave me a rush.
At a point in my career my focus seemed to evolve naturally into the role of technical specialist/project leader/project manager, and less about the actual writing of the code. After the Great Recession downsized thousands of Microsoft contractors like myself, I decided to take my life in a different direction for awhile. There was the move from Washington state back to Virginia. (BTW, never try to do this solo with two cats in the car!) Reconnecting with family. And going to work for the local YMCA association to be in a healthier environment to lose weight, and to learn to think about more than just myself. However, the desire to build software never left.
While it stayed mostly dormant for several years interrupted only by small personal projects and helping friends, about a year ago it erupted when I had an idea for a project that seemed so right for me to develop. I self-studied to bring myself back up to date technically and researched the means to make this project a reality. I took the Microsoft certification exams for web application development both as a means to guide my study and to ensure others knew I was serious about returning to the developer world. Today marks a relaunch of my website and this the first post on a blog that I hope will serve not only as my project journal but also as resource to others interested in developing modern web applications deployed to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. For me, it is a new day and the programmer in me has at last returned.