It soon became clear that Symbol were going to change the base language used in their new generation of terminals, (the PDT3100, PDT3800 and WS1000), to C, so I had to start learning that. This is where you start to understand that as long as you are familiar with certain base features of programming, that it's not that difficult to learn new languages. So as long as you understand the role of variables, arrays, comparitive functions and various kinds of loops, you pretty much know the core of programming.

So I started to learn C from a book and looking at some other code, and I did attend a night school class for a while. The night school was interesting because it showed to me that most computer science taught was behind the curve of how we actually used computers in a proper IT environment. I think the course reinforced a few base points but didn't really teach me anything, I hadn't already learnt for myself.

What you also have to bear in mind is that this was around 1991 so I didn't have the Internet available as a "goto" resource. We actually had to read books and talk to colleagues - there was no pinching of great lumps of code from the Internet!

I guess C was the language I used most and of course it was useful for programming the mobile terminals, but it was also good for programming the PC, because this was still pretty much a pre-Windows era. To this end I'd write little utilities for the PC as well such as recording time spent on projects etc.

I wrote mobile terminal applications for BAA, (British Airports Authority), Catalogue Bargain Shop amongst many others. When I remember more I'll probably come back and edit this!

It was probably also the last language I was paid specifically to use, because after a number of years as a programmer, I started doing more Systems Analysis and Project Management. Any programming I did later was for "fun"!

My the time I moved into Project Management my employer was Peak Technologies, as they had taken Datapen Systems over in around 1996. The programming team there was very small, mainly consisting of my Datapen friends and a few others who joined along the way. As resources were so short there were some projects where I did the Project Management, analysis, system design, coding, testing and delivery! Reminds me of the Little Britain Dennis Waterman sketches... "I'll star in the program, write the theme tune, sing the theme tune..."!

 

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