Some days I get into a rut and I just can't seem to focus. Then I think back to when I was a little kid and my parents brought home my first computer. I remember the feeling I got when my first line of code ran. I get the same feeling every time I turn an idea into code and see it work. It's too bad code isn't as readily appreciated as a piece of music or a photograph.

I would like a post I can come back to for inspiration. (Or to find out where all my rep went...)

Why did you become a programmer? Alternatively, when did you know it was what you wanted to do?

+3  A: 

I had a problem that I needed solved and I didn't have the money to pay someone else, and no one else wanted to do it for free. So, with no clue what I was doing, I did it myself, I haven't stopped in the years since.

+21  A: 

I got a Commodore 64 for Xmas when I was 11 and was immediately curious how I could make it do something that I told it to. Taught myself BASIC and the rest is history. 20 years later, I still get a thrill when I get something to work (especially on the first compile)

Works on first compile == true happiness.
Huh. It's like I wrote that answer myself :]
Andrew Kennan
@Andrew: same thing here... i still remember how thrilled i was as a 11-year old when i figured out at night how to create a program with 2 GOTO's :) +1
took the words right out of my mouth. Started writting my own apps for the C=64 when I was about 9, reading the BASIC books from the library. Seems theres a whole generation that got interested in programming on those old 80's computers
Neil N
Same story for me, but at 7 years.
Erik Forbes
+1  A: 

Simple answer, I was bored one night years ago.

I could have added this to mine also but I was trying to be more eloquent.
+3  A: 

I became a programmer because I always enjoyed it... back to the days of hacking with basic from programs I got out of a book.

I knew I was going to be a programmer probably in early high school when I was already taking source from a MUD and playing around with it, figuring out how it worked (and when I spent a month or so writing a chess game for my TI-83+).

I remember taking a career guidance test... it said I should work outdoors, like on a farm... so I went back and modified my answers till it said I should work with computers... talk about a nerd, huh?

Mike Stone
+4  A: 

I stuck a disk in our Apple IIe and it booted up to a BASIC prompt. I looked at that little blinking cursor and thought, "hmm, this looks interesting".

Chris Upchurch
+2  A: 

Personally it's probably because of my love of videogames as a kid. Also I remember getting one of those computer toys as a kid, and it included a pretty basic version of... well, BASIC. The manual had some examples as well, and I loved creating schedulers and phone books.

More recently, I attended CLEI 2007 (Conferencia Latinoamericana en Informatica) and saw Neil Gershenfeld's keynote (director at MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms) which pretty much blew me away and reassured me I made the right career decision. It was a great experience and I'm pretty sure it made me more confident of my choice. (For the record, Richard Stallman was also at that event, but that was more fun than eye-opening).

Sergio Morales
+1  A: 

I love learning, and our field is guaranteed to be constantly changing. It seemed obvious to me 20 years ago that it was a growing field as well.


Allan Wind

I became a programmer largely because of Shadowrun on the Sega Genesis. Something about it just drew me into the tech world (I was already a geek), and is probably responsible for my love of embedded programming. I want my cyberdeck!

Cody Brocious
+134  A: 

For the girls. No better thing to do to pickup chicks.

Brian R. Bondy
ROFLMFAO (damn 10 character minimum **GUMBLE** )
Darn, I was gonna say that. :-)
Daniel Spiewak
Stevie "Killcreek" Case anyone?
Yes, just watch beauty and the geek :)
Eheheh I thought the same :-)
Only if I could find some of these "girls" you speak of.
Zee JollyRoger
Don't laugh. I married an IT geek.
+1 can there be any other reason?
my gf is a major geek, she is so pretty sometimes I can´t believe I am goint to marry her! =)
Absolutely. Everything that the male side of mankind does, does it for the girls. Can't be the exception...
+45  A: 
  • Originally because I wanted to make games.
  • Then because I seemed good at it.
  • Then because I was inspired by some great bloggers.
  • Then because I read The Pragmatic Programmer and Code Complete.
  • Then because I thought I could make a living out of creating cool stuff.

Now? Because I hope to one day be working with a team of people passionate about what they do.

Tell me if you find such a team :) So many scrubs around, talking about how long they have been programming and how young they have started. I ask if they participate in any discussion forums, or in any casual competitions, or recreational coding. "Oh I don't want to waste time; I major in design."
Yeah.Doesn't seem to help living outside of a developer hotspot either...
Yeah, Scotland really isn't much of a hotspot for .NET developers, full of 9-5ers :(
Chris Canal
I tend to find the same (Adelaide, Australia). Almost makes you envious of all the startups in Silicon Valley working 60 hour weeks
Browsing online, it would seem like every programmer is passionate. I've found out the hard way that only passionate programmers hang out online. The rest are offline, working with me.
Dan Herbert
I was going to write that almost word-for word. +1Hell, I have to say "me too" to the comment thread, too. I'm lucky enough to have another on my team who's really passionate about writing software, but the rest are pretty much "meh, it's a job".
A sad place to be - what a pity we can't somehow coordinate the few who actually care
+20  A: 

I became a programmer because I loved all of:

  • spending time with computers
  • finding out how they worked
  • building things
  • helping people

Programming allows you to cover all those things.

I'm constantly thankful that I'm doing something which I love.

+1  A: 

I started with Antic and Analog. Programming magazines for Atari computers with great games, utilities, and challenges. I got satisfaction from making the computer "do something." As I got older, I changed my major several times in college, but came back to programming since I found that joy. Now, in the business world, I see my code saving people time and making our company more successful. I've been effective at making the computer do what I want it to with vision that was developed early on and that has provided a good life for my family. It's a great profession.

+2  A: 

I used to use mIRC, and Internet Relay Chat program, which was scriptable. It started off by wanting to change the colour/format of incoming text (events). Then it was creating shortcuts to regular functions (aliases). Finally, it became a way to interact with websites from a command line (sockets/procedural).

Had to do some programming work in an IT class in high school and I always just seemed to 'get it'. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Just kept going.

Josh Smeaton

Because it's fun. And it's the best way to be a mathematician without being a professor.

Paul Reiners
+1  A: 

I enjoyed playing with Logo Writer as a little kid. Never stopped enjoying programming.

+6  A: 

I was always a geek, and eventually I got a job that involved a lot of repetitive spreadsheet work. I worked hard on my Excel VBA skills and whittled my job down to about 1 mouse-click per week. The rest was surfing!

Kommander Keen
didn't you manage to make a script that performs the mouse click every week? :P
hasen j
I once reduced one day of work to three clicks. But I did notify management and got a nice raise later on.
Rui Pacheco

Ten years ago I would say it was because I could make a lot of money doing it to buy crap I don't need that would force me to work more, which in turn allowed me to buy more crap. I don't buy crap now, but my wife loves that because of my job she can stay at home with our baby daughter full time. I became a programmer for all the wrong reasons, but now I do it so that I can go home and see both of their smiling faces, knowing that the work I do helps provide food and clothing for the people in my life that I love most. Not many careers allow you to do that.


I love solving problems, designing stuff, and in general writing code. It's my zen, if you will.

Jeff Hubbard

Decided to become a programmer quite late compared to most of people.

Fresh out of college, my first job was a computer guy in a small company After one and only developer left the company, I took over.

It was fun and got hooked. It was like a drug.

Sung Meister
+1  A: 

It started with a research paper in high school. I picked up Computer Science in college.. I didn't even know exactly what I was getting myself into.

Greg Ogle

Started with the video games as a kid, which led me to an Atari 400, sprite programming, and adding a memory board to it, all on my own. I was a confirmed bit-head from then on.

Craig Eddy
+5  A: 

I was intrigued when I got the famous Popular Electronics issue with the Altair on the cover. I was almost 10 at the time, and I knew I needed to know more about these things.

When the TRS-80 Model 1 appeared in stores, my mom would drop me off at Radio Shack while she ran errands, and the salesmen let me play.

It's been downhill ever since.

David Brown
+1  A: 

It all started with Chipmunk BASIC on an old Apple System 7. I discovered to my dismay that there were a number of programs that I just didn't understand. The syntax made sense, but I couldn't understand the why behind the what. Since I hate puzzles that I can't solve, I ended up sticking with it until I could understand. By the time I understood "Go Fish", I was hooked.

Daniel Spiewak
+4  A: 

Like a lot of people, I was drawn to the rise of 3D first-person shooters, namely the epic DOOM series. Like a lot of people, I wanted to program games because I wanted to be involved in creating your own universe out of nothing.

Then I found out how arduous the game industry is/can be. At around this time, I discovered that I get the same ethereal feeling, sense of satisfaction, and creative rush when writing most code. It is like the thrill you get when you solve a math problem and it all suddenly works.

So I became a programmer to chase that feeling and get my daily fix.

Heh, daily fix. Nice one. "Why do you want to become a programmer Jonta? You'll probably spend all of your days sitting in a stuffy office in front of a screen!". "Mum, I can't help it. It's an addiction.."
+16  A: 

One word: Zork!

I was in 5th or 6th grade when my mother brought a dumb terminal w/ a modem home from work. To dial in, you didn't plug the phone line into the terminal, you took one of those old-style Ma Bell phones and stuck the handset into these rubber suction cups on the back, i.e. it actually used the phone's speaker and mic. It didn't have a screen, either. Instead, it printed everything on a roll of thermal paper. Once all the beep boop rrrrrrr sounds settled down, I saw this:

West of House
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.

>open mailbox

I was never the same after that. I remember the thing that most enchanted me was the conversational nature of the game play (although I wouldn't have phrased it that way at the time). I could type English words and the computer would understand me. Not only that, but it talked back! Turtle Graphics, this was not. It was literally the coolest thing I'd ever seen; it was just pure unadulterated awesome. Wielding my trusty Elvish sword, I forged ahead into the Great Underground Empire. But there were challenges...

>go down
You have moved into a dark place.
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

This particular passage always made adults just laugh and laugh, but it wasn't until many years later that I figured out why this was so funny. :o

I was into rpgs and choose-your-own-adventure books at the time, and I was just fascinated with the idea that a machine could do that. I wanted to know how it worked; not only that, I wanted to know how I could make it work, and that's ultimately how I ended up where I am today.

Let me in on the grue joke :-)
OK, but be warned that it's slightly risque. "go down" is slang for "perform oral sex". <blush>
This is essentially my experience too. My dad told me over my shoulder while I was Zorking..."There are people who make their living making these games." A light bulb went on in my head.
A lurking Grue IS NOT A JOKE sir. A hollow voice says, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nigRT2KmCE

I loved electronics and wanted to learn everything about it. So naturally programming went along with this.


I want to see my name on the ending credits of the game that I play. Thats why

+1  A: 

When I was about 12, we got an Apple ][e. You had to learn BASIC to do anything. Since then I was hooked. Like most, at first I wanted to make games. Now I just want to make something people will use :)

+3  A: 

Joy of creation - seeing something that I created work & solve a real (pseudo also does it :) problem .


Because its the only one of my hobbies that I could convince someone to pay me to do.

Sean Lynch
+2  A: 

To get a decent job.

+13  A: 

I have an English degree, but I enjoy sleeping in a dry room and eating food I don't have to steal.

Garrett Albright
I have an English degree too. I find it helps with my programming as I can read and write relatively well, which many of my colleagues (not you, or you, of course) have trouble with.

Joining a startup was the "cool" thing to do when I graduated from college at the height of the dot-com boom.

Now if only I'd graduated a couple years earlier... ;)


Right from Fourth standard (i.e from 1991) that was when I was first introduced to computer. I started working with Basic and then tried my hands on wordstar, later the whole idea of creating something that could work and give you response was so amazing that I couldn't stop myself becoming a programmer and I am happy to be what I am.

+1  A: 

I had a dilemma; either deal with people or deal with computers.. the choice was obvious..


Thrill of the Hunt.


I am addicted to stress.
I don't have a normal sleep schedule.
I wear what I want to and most tech bosses don't care.

I am an ego maniac and narcissist with an inferiority complex IE: it is imposable for me to say the words "No, it can't be done" and when I hear those words I gotta prove somebody wrong, and be the first to do so.

Brian Leahy

I wanted to do something with computers. My senior year in high school I took a class where I learned HTML, and the rest is history.

I continue to be a programmer because I absolutely couldn't imagine doing anything else. I love it.

+13  A: 

gorilla.bas plain and simple.

I Was just thinking about that game the other day. The exploding bananas were awesome.
Anthony Potts
Awesome !! Angle: 45

I loved the problem solving aspects of maths at school and loved messing around on computers so it was a natural progression from there.

+1  A: 

Because it's much better then work coal in Donbass mines.

+5  A: 

Thinking about it, I think I started programming because I ran out of things to mess with on my grampa's computer. I had fully explored all applications I found, ways to change setings, color schemes in Windows 3.1 etc. and it was getting boring. I started with simple BAT files, then my uncle installed Borland Delphi.

The point you can come back to: Programming is fun because, in comparison, most other stuff is boring :)


Because it's the most unlimited creative medium. It's a very direct mind-to-result path.


I could enjoy what I do (bein a computer geek) and make hella money doin it too.

+2  A: 

At age 7 I got my first 80286. The first word I learned to type was 'autoexec'. At age 12 I went to an extracurricular course on BASIC. That's when I decided this is what I wanted to do with my life.

At 26 I realize that decision I made at age 12 was probably the best I've ever made.

Omer van Kloeten
+3  A: 

I had a ZX Spectrum when they first came out, but wasn't really into games, so my dad got me to learn BASIC (I think this was his secret agenda anyway). I had a nerdy brain at 10 so this all fitted in well.

Thanks dad, I'm now earning far more than I would have done otherwise, and have managed to land a web developer job at my dream company (sailing)

Magnus Smith
+11  A: 
20 GOTO 10

(Not tested)

John Nolan
not commented either!
Steven A. Lowe
Hey, it works on my machine.
John McCollum
Gotta love BASIC.Net!
oh .. the MSX days!
hasen j
OMG he used GOTO - watch out for the velociraptor!!
+1 for the 'Not tested'
Callum Rogers
@Callum: No. BASIC of that era would print a newline for you, unless you put a semicolon at the end of the PRINT statement. (Damn, I still remember that stuff!)
Donal Fellows

I prepared for and went to coding competitions with my friends at high school. That created some good initial memories, and it's been hard to walk away from fate since then.

There's still time for a 180-degree turn.

+59  A: 

I didn't become a programmer: I was born a programmer.


I got a ZX81 1981 when I was 14yrs and since then it has been a Path of Least Resistance for me.


I just followed my father's footsteps.
I don't know anybody else who's father also is a programmer (RPG III), at least not of my age (almost 40 years).
When I was 14 years, I wrote my first programs, in MSX-Basic. Soon discovering assembly, and Turbo Pascal followed with a natural flow.

+1  A: 

I have no idea. It just worked out.

Lars Corneliussen
+2  A: 

Pacman on a PC. I was in 5th grade when I started playing it. I was totally hooked.Wrote some DOS based games in school.

The whole idea of taking an abstract idea and creating it into something useful - that is a rush! Doesn't matter if it is Hello World. Just beautiful!


Started with LOGO on a BBC Micro, but I never knew there was something called programming. I just thought we were having fun.


Programming is the closest thing to working with clay for a living besides making pottery.

+4  A: 

I ran out of ideas with Lego... and bored kids give parents a hard time.

... so my doctor's father recommended a ZX, which got me started with Basic. Then a Euro PC (Scheneider, smth you yankees never heard of till eight words ago), then an IBM 486sx, with it Pascal, VB, C, C++, it just rolled in with education and work needs.


Because I wanted to make things that did exactly what I wanted. I started working with other peoples code and making adjustments and adapting, till I realised, hey I could make these myself, so i did!

Sam Cogan
+2  A: 

It was a more intellectually stimulating that repairing computers.

And the chicks, definately for the chicks


I've been an avid gamer for about 20 years and I drifted into computing/programming. Now I'm trying desperately to drift out of it because I don't really enjoy it. I much prefer to enjoy other peoples code in the form of games!

+1  A: 

because my talent as a footballer wasn't spotted

+4  A: 

I just loved that there was a way for me to combine logical thinking, creativity and the artistic side of producing smart, clean and well formated code.


I started on the ZX Spectrum and started coding the games that came in Spectrum Magazine. It started a whole lifetime of playing and being obsessed with computers and coding (and games ;))

Mladen Mihajlovic
+1  A: 

Because programming on the ZX Spectrum was much more fun than playing games on it! ;)

The thing was standing there as my father had bought it to type his thesis on it (really!) and I wanted to do something - anything - with it, too (I was 8). Gaming really wasn't an option (though I did keep trying) due to the shoddy graphics and sound and the fact that there weren't really any games for the Speccy that you could buy in Germany. But its BASIC dialect was actually superb (not that I had anything to compare it to when I started). The fact alone that the line number argument for the GOSUB statement was just another integer and could thus receive any old variable rather than hard-coded numbers opened up whole new avenues of code-reuse... ;)

Oliver Giesen

Because I love programming.

Vilmantas Baranauskas

Because coding reaches the parts of my brain that other jobs didn't.

+2  A: 

I was working too many hours a week.

I had, at that time, been in the Dry Cleaning business for 15 years. I got tired of working 80-100 hours a week. I was just learning about something called the "internet". It facinated me. I started out slowly, teaching myself some basic HTML. I got a WROX book on HTML and taught myself (with the aid of FrontPage..ugh) how to build some basic websites. Through a friend of mine, I got a few small jobs to build some web sites for him. At this point I was totally burned out with the Dry Cleaning business and decided to get into "programming".

I made up a resume that stretched the truth a bit and landed my first job in programming. It required me to know something called "ASP". Another WROX book and a week later I was programming.

It is funny, I left one job because of the long hours just to have it replaced with another.

However, I love programming and wouldn't trade this job for anything...except maybe a winning lottery ticket.

Scott and the Dev Team
+2  A: 


When I was 18 I saw my first arcade pong game and I was curious as to how it worked. In 1975 (when I was 21) I played pong on a TV set and had the same curiosity.

What put me over the edge was 1977 (at age 23) when I saw an Atari 2600 and a TRS80. It's silly, but when the TRS80 said "Hi, what is your name?", I just had to know how it worked. That started me on a journey in the Air Force and trying to change my career field to programming. It took two years, but in late 1979 (at the age of 26) I finally got to switch to programming.

I learned a lot about how the Atari 2600 worked when I got my Atari 800. I have recently been satisfying my thirst for more detailed knowledge about the 2600 thanks to the tremendous amount of information available and the quality of the current crop of Atari 2600 emulators. I have a lot of respect for those first game programmers.

+9  A: 
Mark T
"Computers do work for me… I will not do work for a computer.". Well said, and nicely put. I'll have to remember that.
+1  A: 

Computers intrigued and attracted me since I learn of their existance. It's not a scientific thing at all, I just thought they were the coolest thing. For years I just wanted to be left alone in a room with one, though I wouldn't have known what to do with it. That was before puberty.

After dwelling in art and psychological experiences I had to settle for a practical career and here I am, it is a career that lets me be how I want and arrange the strangest work schedules. It makes you learn a lot about all kinds of industries and fields without having to be locked in and lets you ask every stupid question you want to the specialists.

I think we programmers are the actual users of the computers. Users are just users of our programs.

Antonio de la Peña

I actually fell into programming. I had taken a couple courses at university, but was unemployed when I graduated. A friend called me up and asked if I could help him with a software project. I said yes, and the rest is history.

Jon Dewees

The Commodore 64 tricked me into it in the eighties, and I have been hooked since.


I originally was a computer engineer in college and I didn't really like programming (C++/Java), but when I learned Assembly, I loved it. It made sense. I tried to get into the chip fabrication area, didn't have the grades for it at the time, but a friend of mine had a job opening in Florida for a web programmer (entry level). I took the job and here I am!

I've learned VB.Net/ASP.Net and SQL by basically being thrown into the job. I really wish they would have had me learn assembly before C++ or Java as I like learning about the roots before I see something high-end. I have messed with Oracle, and C# as well, and now I'm learning Silverlight. I really like to see the differences between the languages and I enjoy learning new products.

Looking back, I think that if I would have taken programming in HS (had they offered it) I would have liked it more than I did in college.

I kinda miss the chip fab labs, but I enjoy being able to not have to worry about dangerous chemicals while I'm working.


I wanted to write stuff that made people scream in pain, boil in anger and cry out in frustration. Easiest way to do it was so write legacy multithreaded C++ code. So here i am.

On a more serious note, programming appealed to my sense of logic. It is a way for me to exercise my brain. The thrill of solving problems - making proof of concepts. I guess i just suffer from Rubik's syndrome, i NEED to solve the puzzle... but once im done with it, i have no incentive to follow through.


I liked the logic and process of the engineering field, but decided late in the game that I really didn't care how the physical properties of the P-N-P or N-P-N junction devices worked. I had done some programming and felt that I was pretty good about picking that up as well as foreign languages and music. I felt that these were related, so this would be a good fit. It also didn't hurt that it's a lot easier to debug software in most cases than a breadboard.

+1  A: 

You know that (completely untrue statement), "Those that can't do, teach"? Well, in my case, those that can't teach 9th grade chemistry to seniors and juniors quit their job and get paid to program instead. I should have seen the signs though. I would often lose track of time in college while writing modeling applications to solve physics problems to the same degree that I would while trying to track down the Knights of the Round materia in Final Fantasy VII...and I enjoyed it as much as well!


I would argue that most of the commenters here didn't become programmers, but just came to the realization that they've always been programmers and then worked to improve their skills...


I figured it made sense given the degree I graduated with from university after noticing that my grades weren't quite good enough to go to grad school, graduating average being 75% and most of the good grad schools want a 78% minimum. I graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honour's Bachelor of Mathematics with majors in Computer Science and Combinatorics & Optimization with a Pure Math minor. I have been a Math geek most of my life as I enjoy solving puzzles and playing with numbers. Another aspect was that when I graduated university it was 1997 and the dot-com boom was on where being a developer was a bit of a natural field to get into as I didn't take any Act. Sci. courses or Statistics to get into that field.

I like solving problems and puzzles and seeing the joy that can come from delivering some new technology that lets someone do something more easily or for the first time like in the case of some application that lets a user view some data from a database in the proper perspective. I've also been using computers since I was like 8 years old which also played a role.

JB King
+1  A: 

I got a TI-85 calculator and found myself in a physics class where I couldn't solve the problems. So, I read the manual and figured out how to write a program to solve projectile motion, and other basic trig phsyics stuff. Programming a solver was just easier than teaching myself to be the solver.

Nathan Feger

I have always considered it a form of poetry in motion, truly.



Nick Sergeant

I became a programmer because I loved creating things. To see a simple little screen flicker and think "Hey, I made that. It is my child, it is special to me. I love my little screen," it made me feel good. I love thinking and solving problems, even though the struggle can be quite a pain sometimes.

Zee JollyRoger

I am the type of guy who realises something is very important only after he's lost it.

I discovered I had to be a programmer after I had chosen another field at the University and I felt nauseated trying to learn things I couldn't care less.

Fortunately I was able to revert this and I guess there are few other knowledge fields out there as dynamic as programming (like, I couldn't name a field if I tried).


Atari 800 c.1979 I was about 14 and begged my parents to help me get one with my part-time job savings (when it was OK for kids to work!) and their help. I had already gotten a hold of several Byte Magazine issues and was hooked. Coding Sprites and collision detection and audio on 4-voice polyphonic synthesizers! It really was an amazing machine.

Optimal Solutions
+1  A: 

I am too a ZX Spectrum starter. I had a ZX Spectrum clone, called HC-90.

That started it. It came with almost nothing. The BASIC interpreter, a manual of the BASIC language FULL of mistakes and that was it. I begin typing the code samples which were almost all wrong. So I started correcting them and they finally worked out. Then they were broadcasting (no copyright law I suppose) software at the TV as audio signal which we would record on tapes and play back later loading it into the RAM and executing.

Andrei Rinea

4 characters - ZX81

Si Keep

Web developing and pro designing is my pashion. I can't imagine a more creative job than this. I gonna make crazy money someday from this. When this time comes, I'll come back here and tell you my story. Until then, become a more open minded vendor/developer/programmer/man(or woman) :)


I blame my dad... I wanted to fix computers, he made me take programming classes as well (hey he was footing the bill). I found out I liked programming and stuck with it.

Mike Wills

My decision was based completely on supply and demand. This is my second career, my first was for a construction trade, and I graduated into a recession.

However, software development is a perfect fit for my talents and interests. I guess I just lucked out by having my first choice fall apart.

John MacIntyre
+1  A: 

Because it gives immediate feedback.


I was born one.

Allain Lalonde
+1  A: 

For my interest! Nothing else!


Not sure really, it always used to frustrate me when I didn't know how things worked. So I learnt to program to help myself better understand things.

Adam Gibbins

C64 definitely played the main role for me too. I got my first computer (said C64) when i was 11. After 2 weeks of game playing i figured someone is actually making all those games. That's how i got into BASIC.

Since then i always told myself: if i don't know what to do when i grow up, i'll go into IT (ok so i didn't know that term yet, but that's not the point here). Now, 20 years later, i still don't know. And i probably never will.

+5  A: 

I was in the US Army from 1968 to 1971. While there I was trained to be a combat engineer and then deployed to an ADM (Atomic demolitions Munitions) unit.

We had nukes that were small enough and light enough to be carried in a backpack (do a web search for SADM if you are interested). The MADMs were a little bigger and bulkier. They could not be carried by a single person but, of course, they had more bang. It was a boring assignment, though. They never let us set one off, just train, train, train.

At some point, the computer programmer (there was only one) in our battalion was due to be rotated home but there was no replacement for him. Somehow I wound up with the job. He gave me two weeks of OJT, a stack of manuals and a UNIVAC 1005.

After I had been programming for a few months, I decided that I wanted to program computers long term. I got out of the Army, went to school (UMASS Amherst) on the GI bill and graduated with a BSCS in 1974. I have been programming ever since.

I do not recommend the Army as a career path for programmers.

+1 for nukes. =)
Benny Jobigan
Wow..I just got out of the army myself and yes I would not recommend the army for programmers

Originally, I wanted to surprise my friends by writing things which they couldn't find out like hidden birthday card or some funny message. Then i found others could do the same and the war is not over :-p

+1  A: 

Pong started it all for me. Damn it was so cool to see that little blob of pixels move back and forth.

So when my high school started offering a programming class, I said yeah - I am going to make games!!!! We programmed on the Apple IIe using Basic. So cool...

The teacher even had a special Apple, called a Macintosh - that no one could touch. It was in the corner of the room with a weird remote control thingy tied to a string she called a mouse - weird.

After high school, my dad bought a Sanyo computer for like 10 grand, had a printer, and not one but two floppy drives, for his business. It wasn't long before I figured that one out too. I was the office programmer at that point.

But in those times programming was just a fun thing to do, I never looked at it as a career. So I got stupid again and took retail jobs for awhile.

Then one day - I was married ( a little too early maybe ) and couldn't make my rent payment. I sat in my living room crying, a failure. How do I tell my wife we would have to move in to her parents house, because I couldn't support us.

Something in me said "No you can do this. Think - what do you know how to do besides hawk electronics for peanuts?" And that was the start of my career.

Today I do something many people don't. I earn a living doing something I started doing for fun.

Whoo hoo!!!


From the beginning, just by coincidence. Then I realized that it was a very creative job that I could do, without having any artistic talent.

Nils Weinander

A lot of problems recur in life.

Became a programmer to write programs that could be executed to solve them once and for all. Automation, you know?


I was working a dumb data-entry temp job, and I decided I didn't want to do the same thing over and over. I realized that the terminal emulator could be automated with something that looked like the BASIC I had used when I was a kid (remember that Morse code program you wrote? That was fun!). It turned out to be Visual Basic. Instead of firing me when he looked into why my production was so high, my boss hired me to do programming for the rest of the people . . . C#, Lisp, and Python later, here I am, still doing it.


Because programmers are basically tiny gods.


Nothing beats the thrill of creating something amazing out of nothing but a text editor and some awesome coding.


Like usual first-generation immigrants, the market called the shot. Programming was what U.S. employers saw the best in me.


I like to know how things work, what is in them, what they are made of and why.

So naturally I wanted to know how Websites / Applications / OSs worked and how to control them. I didn't know I wanted to be a programmer, I just sort of landed in the job. Now I get to make stuff people use on a daily basis :)


Because I can't hit an inside curveball.

+1  A: 

My parents bought me Amstrad CPC464, but in Poland there were no CPC464 games in stores... The only thing left was BASIC:)

+1  A: 

The other option was to be a lawyer so what would you choose?

.... and i like geek and hacker culture ^^


I was just following what others were doing at the time when Computer Science was hot and now the internet is hot, so I want to make some applications. But I every time i see a lot of lines of code, I just go nuts and gets bored. How do you make programming interesting ?


The fields is so broad you can't ever learn it all. There's always something new to move on to if the old stuff becomes boring or tedious. Then there is always the fact that it pays kinda well (at least where I'm sitting).


I became a programmer out of necessity. I needed a job. I'm a problem solver. Programmers are problem solvers... Solved my problem by becoming a programmer


Because I was afraid to abandon my trajectory for other, less practical things, because I knew I was reasonably good at it, and, eventually, because it was the only way to make a living with my skillset.

Mike Burton

I've always loved it, I feel like I was born to do this!


Because programming is the next logical evolutionary step from a childhood of playing too many video games.


It's the thing I can do best, besides picking up chicks (but thats something one can't earn money with, so I'm stuck with developing software).

+1  A: 

Psychological health. (And now everybody's going "What?!".)

I am wired for large-scale system operations -- an operations engineer by my very nature.

More than 80% of developers I've met are wired for "it works on my machine".

My choices were essentially to either go insane fighting with the developers over what constitutes production-acceptable code, or do it myself.

I chose sanity.

Nicholas Knight

Because I've always loved creating/making things. And programming is the most simple (and powerful, in a certain way) way to make things up! When I created the first helloworld, I realized that that was what I wanted for my life. =D


for one single things, that feels amazing.

  • to be able to: Create

i am also a musician for the very same thing

+1  A: 

As a Chinese programmer, I think the reason why I am going to be a programmer is its the only world that everyone is judged by your own ability instead of something as family background , your relationship with your boss, or anything else that is so complicated and stupid computer could not understand. Programming world is so pure and fair. You are enjoy the pure happiness when you code.