Artificial Intelligence, Speech Technology and Software Development

Month: September 2016

A 90s teenage tale of programming and nerd culture

I’ve recently been reading the article “Coding needs a new youth movement” in which the author proposes that beginner programming courses should focus on “frontend” technologies to motivate students. Instead of “backend” technologies like Java, that is. This lead me to take a look back at the time when I wrote my first lines of code, which was more than 20 years ago. I assume that many creators of said programming courses also started at least back then, probably being the reason why the courses are structured in the way the are.

In the beginning of the 90s, there was no notion of “frontend” vs. “backend” developers, only programmers. Of course there was user interface design, but that’s a different beast. Java just crawled out of the womb, same with JavaScript, so programming usually meant picking up e.g. Assembler, C, C++, Pascal or COBOL. Web development also just began to rear its ugly head and usually meant having some CGI producing HTML.  I doubt that seeing some colorful webpages (<blink/>) with some buttons and text fields would have brought me to programming back then. But writing Fibonacci generators most likely neither.

So here I would like to share (the beginning of) my journey from interested kid to CS PhD. This might end up as some sort of boring, archaeological curiosity but I still hope I can share at least some funny stories, pictures and lots of links (you notice all the highlighted words, right?).

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