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Discussion on: Was there a moment when you knew programming was the right career for you?

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Matt Moran

I kind of slid into it, really - I'd always been an enthusiastic programmer back in the days of 8-bit home computers, so after I finished my degree in French & Communication Arts & completely failed to get a job using any of the skills I'd learned during that course (speaking, reading & writing French, knowing about French history, literature & philosophy, but also how to cost a TV programme, how to write for kids or the stage, knowing about media history & politics, and linguistics, & semiotics) I got a job as a temp at what was then Transco (I think they're part of National Grid now?) & ended up taking care of the ISO9001 quality library, and designing databases & looking after the timesheeting system that Sema Group wrote for them. I figured I could make a lot more money than £10/hour doing this so went through all the companies that had tendered to be in the virtual joint venture that Sema did with Transco, applying for any kind of graduate position. Essentially, I was at home with computers & kinda inspired by some of the IT consultants I ended up working with, and wanted to be a part of that, properly. Capgemini ended up hiring me & giving me a job down in London looking after banking systems like ARTIS and CUTAS, old legacy stuff that involved DEC Alphas & AS/400s. It's been a long & weird journey via dead-end jobs in desktop support & application support, but as I approach 50 I'm a proper Java developer at last. Pretty happy with where I've ended up, although I'm always learning new stuff & would love to get more JS under my belt.

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Judith Author

Small world; I work for Cap, too! (Senior Frontend dev NYC). Great story - interesting background.