How did you get into computer programming? (Responses)
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TimestampWhat year did you start programming?How old were you when you started programming?How did you find out about computer programming?Your gender identity.What (or who) convinced you to actually start programming?Did you study computer science in college at all?Did you get a degree in computer science, computer engineering, software engineering, etc?Do you have any relations that studied computer programming or work as computer programmers?Did you go to college?
7/17/2015 9:33:25200117Playing video games for a lot of my childhood.maleI took CS 101 in college and got hooked. Also really enjoyed all the math behind it.

7/17/2015 9:35:29200722CollegemaleSteve Wozniack Auto Biography iWoz inspired me to learn more about computers and programming,YesNoFriends
7/17/2015 9:36:54198712My father was a computer programmer. I found out about programming from magazines and "instruction manuals" that came with computers and software at the time. I probably typed in a few BASIC programs from before I was 12 but I didn't genuinely start "programming" my own stuff until then.maleI always seem to have wanted to do it. Maybe following in my father's footsteps... he was always encouraging me to be analytical with the computers at home, not just play games on them.NoNoGrandfather did mechanical tabulation. Father programmed earliest computer systems, punched cards, you name it.
7/17/2015 9:38:01197814Had a radio shack toy that used logic to control lights.

Had a father who programmed for IBM.

Had a grand father who was chief engineer at WNBC.
maleBeing to discover how something worked and then make the computer do what I wanted. YesYesFather worked on punch card systems.
7/17/2015 9:38:52198110Classes at summer programsmaleMark Dixon, male, professor in college. He told me that he thought I could do it professionally. YesNoBest friend, male
7/17/2015 9:39:40200119My grandfather. maleMy freshman year girlfriend in college.YesYesNo
7/17/2015 9:40:2620029Neopets tutorials on basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScriptfemaleI did myself for the hobbyist programming as a kid, and my best friend from college who is maleconvinced me that since I like it so much and hate my current job so much that I should code for a living. Joining Hack Reactor in October, starting a software engineering internship with Optimizely in JanuaryYesNoNo family relations, my parents barely know how to turn a computer on
7/17/2015 9:40:35200127My spouse is a programmer.femaleI started out tech editing a book about VBA. That led to co-authoring books, authoring articles, and eventually into web development.YesNoMy spouse did/does.
7/17/2015 9:40:45200617Playing games on the internet.maleI wanted to learn how to make my own games.YesYesMy uncle - went to school for computer engineering, got a graduate degree.
7/17/2015 9:40:50199313My fathermaleMy fatherYesNoNo
7/17/2015 9:41:23198012My dad programmed at his job.maleMy dad.YesYesFather
7/17/2015 9:41:2419847Interested in computer games, bought a TRS Color Computer II and started to experiment with BASIC.maleNo one.YesYesNo
7/17/2015 9:41:51199818Liked computers are high school level. Moved onto further education and found out more there.maleHad to as part of course syllabus. Was originally convinced that computer programming was "too hard for me" though.NoNoNo
7/17/2015 9:42:28199012Father was a programmer. So using a home computer.maleCuriosity about what my dad did and while he was teaching my older brother about it I figured it out myself.YesYesFather male
Wife female
7/17/2015 9:42:56199714Owned a TI-85 graphing calculator for algebra class. During summer, wanted to learn how to write BASIC programs for it to create a number guessing game.maleJust wanting to play more with TI-85 graphing calculator.YesYesNo.
7/17/2015 9:43:03200617course advertisementmalepersonal interestYesNo
7/17/2015 9:44:01201123MommaleI thought it made sense to have the skill so u learned it. Actually enjoyed it YesNoMom did math back when computer science was in the math department.
7/17/2015 9:44:4919905We had a Commodore 64 in the house that my sister programmed, and I learned about it by watching her.maleSome combination of wanting to emulate my older sister and wanting to make computer games like the ones I was playing.YesYesMy sister studied it through high school but did not continue; my father programmed some computers as part of his electrical engineering work but didn't specialize in it.
7/17/2015 9:45:58200121I've wanted to make video games since getting my NES when I was 5.maleMy wife asked me to take an Oracle SQL class with her. I had more fun than I thought I would. Soon after that, an online maleacquaintance that hosted my website enabled PHP3 so I could turn my static site into a cms.NoNoNope. Closest to that is my wife worked on MS Access databases when I met her. I learned VB to help her out (and woo her). I then realized this was a LOT like the Borland DB thing my Dad used to build a baseball card organizer for me.
7/17/2015 9:47:4119877My dad took me to work with him during the summer when I was out of school. He showed me the TRS-80 they had in the office. Someone had written custom BASIC software to handle payroll for the company. There were BASIC books around, and they made me my own floppy disk to play around with.

I only learned a tiny bit of code that year (PRINT, GOTO, LPRINT, maybe reading input?) but I was pretty hooked on computers and programming from that point.
maleI don't remember anyone "convincing" me to program. Computers just seemed interesting and something I wanted to learn about.

I do think the office manager, Alma, taught me my first bit of coding, though. My dad didn't know anything about it.
YesNoMy sister (became a programmer after me.)
7/17/2015 9:48:52200415My mom and dadfemale...Neopets? Building mini websites was fun.YesYesDad studied EECS, Mom studied English but now works in IT
7/17/2015 9:51:35200118I chose CS as a majormaleKinda had to, to get my CS degreeYesYes
7/17/2015 9:51:42199512My father is a programmer and he taught me basic computer stuff.maleMy father, again.YesNoMy uncle
7/17/2015 9:52:5419919My maledad was a computer programmermaleSeeing the cool stuff my dad could do and wanting to make gamesYesYesmalefather and uncle
7/17/2015 9:57:38198414My parents bought my younger brother a computer, but he didn't want it. It was a Commodore 64 and the only way to interact was through programming.female and genderqueerI had my brothers computer and was curious, so I taught myself some basic but stopped programming after I ran out of instructions in the manual the computer came with. I didn't know anyone who was programming and was stuck about what to do next. I started again in 1998 when a career counselor realized I could be good at programming.NoNoMy aunt got a masters in Math in the 70s and programmed with punch cards for years. She dropped out of math and computers after a couple years to raise my cousins. Then she became an oncology nurse.
7/17/2015 9:58:4719978My dad (an accountant) got scooped up into programming in his work and eventually moved into software full-time, but he started teaching me around the time that he was learning.maleMy dad (again) wanted to start a business when I was around 13 and we started building a shopping cart application to run it.YesNoOne of my uncles and his son are both electrical engineers with lots of education, and my dad's father was a civil engineer. Lots of math and critical thinking in my family but my dad and I are the first people to work or study in computer programming.
7/17/2015 10:00:11199211By accident...I discovered you can control HyperCard through a language called HyperTalk. I remember my father telling me that I did my first programming, but I didn't believe him because it was fun and not at all what I expected.maleI think my father was my main motivator, though it was mainly because it was fun to me.YesYesNo.
7/17/2015 10:01:27201332My boyfriend inspired me to try itfemaleMy boyfriend inspired me to try itYesNoNo relatives, just friends
7/17/2015 10:07:1520037My first "real" programming started when I was visiting mobile phone modding forums – I discovered MIDletPascal there, it had a good manual built-in, so I learned the basic constructs and started trying to make apps for my phone.

Before that, when I was even younger, I somehow discovered making .bat scripts on Windows 95, I guess that counts. I mean, my scripts didn't contain anything smart, only printing text, reading text and launching one another... but now that I think of it, some of the scripts I write now do pretty much that :D
agenderI didn't need any convincing really, it kind of came "naturally".YesMy father used to work as a programmer a long time ago, now he's a CEO of a small hosting+SEO+webdev company.
7/17/2015 10:13:1219837I was a smart, bored, hyperactive kid. The one thing my elementary school found that calmed me down was plonking me down at a computer with a stack of programming books.maleThe principal at my elementary school started me. But, a woman running a summer enrichment program at the Jr. High helped me dig in further over a few yearsYesYesNot really.
7/17/2015 10:13:30198214A malefriend (also 14) got a Commodore 64 and started trying to learn assembly. I got a VIC20 fiddled with it for a few months, learning Basic, but other than one semester of Pascal in high school, I didn't program again until my fourth year in college.maleI realized at the beginning of my fourth year in college that writing fiction probably wouldn't keep me fed, so I accumulated enough credits for a computer science minor in the next two years, hoping it would be a more regular wage. I imagine my (divorced) mother and father both independently said something like "you like computers, do something with that!"YesNoNo
7/17/2015 10:14:23199515High School class offeringmaleI loved video games and computers and thought it might be an interesting thing to studyYesYesNo
7/17/2015 10:15:5119878Tandy computer and basic books bought by father.

Note: stopped programming for a while until high school (1996ish).
femaleToo young to know how I was convinced if at all YesYes
7/17/2015 10:19:5719888My Uncle, media (I remember WarGames being an early influence)maleAtari 32XE my parents bought really got me into it.YesNoNo
7/17/2015 10:20:46200614Took a class in high school about different media. Had a small web design course (maybe two weeks). Got addicted to that and moved to the backend slowly.maleCuriosity for how websites worked.YesNoNo
7/17/2015 10:22:26199813A malefriend's dad introduced us to QBasicmaleThe power to make a computer do whatever you wantedYesYesno
7/17/2015 10:24:07200413my brother(about 16 at the time) was taking a class in HTML webpage creation. I learned that from some print outs he had from the class. From there I wanted an application that could actually do something and ended up programming in DarkBasic as my first real programming languagemaleI started doing it cause I enjoy computers and makign them do what I want, and generally enjoy creating things.YesNomy uncle was a programmer in MUMPS, though I wouldn't say he was an influence
7/17/2015 10:28:18200411web development book in the librarymalemeNoNofather, male
7/17/2015 10:29:0119768My father was an engineer and tinkered with electronics in his spare time--I picked it up from him. I also read his Byte magazines, Dr. Dobbs, etc.maleI wanted to make the machines do cool things, so I bugged my father until he showed me a few things, then handed me the manuals.YesNowife (female) (embedded Javascript in PDF forms, Python)
7/17/2015 10:29:25199518Older friend took CS in schoolmaleNobodyYesYesNo
7/17/2015 10:32:02198212School, home computer. femaleteacher. maleand femaleparents. malefemaleteacher. maleand femaleparents. YesNoNo.
7/17/2015 10:35:01199415I had a family personal computer ... I deduced you had to tell it how to do things. We had a decent modem and the computer was used for the family business as well as me being allowed to use it. A few years later my parents gave it to me and upgraded .... and I discovered the internet on my own. maleme ... I wanted to make the computers do things NoNoNoNo
7/17/2015 10:36:35199214a femaleCS instructor at the local science museum
a maleCS instructor at the local science museum
earlier, my mom
maleevery day after school I played in multiuser dungeons (during the pre-Web days), and I wanted to learn how to make changes to the dynamics of the game itself so I started reading the source code (C) and went from there. (full story here:
7/17/2015 10:36:40200417College course about dynamic websitesmaleI had a natural flair and good grades. The lecturer was inspiring and combined with me picking it up so quick encouraged and pushed me furtherNoNoNoYes
7/17/2015 10:40:0919837My parents bought a TRS-80. It came with 2 books: a beginner and advanced programming books. I would type in the examples from the books and modify them a bit.

I also saw war games as a kid and thought it was neat.
femaleI'm not sure. I liked playing games on the computer, and creating little programs from the books seemed like fun. It's something I did off and on throughout my childhood. YesYesI met my husband at college who is also a programmer.Yes
7/17/2015 10:43:22199711My older sister showed me what she could do and I got hooked.maleSee previous answerYesYesMy sisterYes
7/17/2015 10:44:4519847my uncle had bought a zx spectrum for my (female) cousins, and when we visited i'd explore it. it came with a manual for the included basic. my mother got books on basic programming out of the library for me.maleit was just the machine itself. i became fascinated that i could control the tv and make writing and pictures show up.YesYeshalf-uncleYes
7/17/2015 10:48:25199814I had messed around with BASIC when I was very young because we were fortunate to have a computer in the house and I had been writing calculator programs to help in school; but when I was 14 I started to really be interested in the internet and making websites. We had dialup at my house and I was fascinated by the whole thing.

While I was dabbling when I was young I wasn't really focused on learning to do more with software. It wasn't until I was exposed to the internet that I really dedicated myself to learning more about programming in general.
maleIt was fun.YesYesNo, I'm the only one in my family who is technically inclined.Yes
7/17/2015 10:54:12198211My parents bought the computer as a Christmas present. It came with a BASIC manual. Other than that I was self taught (I.e. terrible for a very long time)maleI was mad keen. I'd dash into shops to try things out on display models. Nothing could have stopped me.YesNoNo.Yes
7/17/2015 10:55:58200012Wanted to know how websites worked, so started creating my ownmaleYesYesNoYes
7/17/2015 10:56:03198410Dad brought TRS80 back homemaleIt was new and fun to get the computer doing what we want her to do.YesYesBrother, male
Wife, female
Sister in law
Father in law
Friends (gathered during studies and work) both maleand female
7/17/2015 10:56:56200918I chose Computing Science as a Major in university maleThe web. I hated programming in Java, it was boring and seemed way too ceremonial to get anything accomplished in it. That's when I discovered JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3. I then tried some Ruby, and then focused mainly on Golang after that.YesYesJust some friends, all guys though.Yes
7/17/2015 10:59:46199827Started while I was working in an IT department, and I took over a logon 'script' (Visual Basic) from an older (male) co-worker.maleAfter taking over above logon script, I realised that I loved programming much more than IT ops work, and I wanted to do it for a living.YesNoYes
7/17/2015 11:01:5719839A family friend (male) was demonstrating a new computer running programs. The programs were entered by hand from a book.malehaving a computer at home that included no software. The computer came with a programming book.YesYesNo.Yes
7/17/2015 11:02:45199112My mom sent me to a course.maleMy mom.YesYesNoYes
7/17/2015 11:04:06198817First, elementary school but did more programming in High School (Basic and Pascal). In college I was drawn to it but decided to not pursue it as a career.

In 1998 or so decided to try and change my career from Accounting and in 2000 was offered a position in our IT department.

I have always dabbled in programming when I had the chance at work and at school, but at home I usually did not have the computers, time AND knowledge to learn.
maleIn 2000 I was brought into the MIS department from accounting, and had to self-teach myself MS SQL Server and ASP websites. Since then I have moved to ASP.NET and PHP (along with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.)YesNoI made friends with the Computer Science major or minor students at College and understood most of what they talked about even though I was not pursuing a degree at that time.

My brother works some with computers and then pursued an MBA and MIS (at the same time) from BU. Afterwards it took a while before he landed a job. So while he was educated, he didn't have experience. I had experience but didn't have education until I got into my current company that has sent me to .NET and other classes. I also made sure they knew they would have to send me to class for ASP.NET, and that my ASP (classic) training would only help "so" far.
7/17/2015 11:17:13199611I was using mIRC and found out it had scripting capabilitiesmaleI was curious what scripts were, looked at the default ones and started changing them to do new things.NoNoNoneNo
7/17/2015 11:19:30199812The internetmaleI made a static website and wanted to add interactivity.YesYesOlder brotherYes
7/17/2015 11:22:34199010I was given access to a room full of Tandy CoCo TRS-80 computers and the manuals that came with them as part of my TAG class. The manuals had program listings in the backmaleYesYesnoYes
7/17/2015 11:25:34198114Friends with computers. They didn't do any programming on their own. At best they typed in programs from magazines.maleCuriosity. I first modified the programs friends had, and then started my own experiments.YesYesNope, and still don't.Yes
7/17/2015 11:26:40199016books & friend with computer maleFirst - games, later - overall interestNoNoNoYes
7/17/2015 11:28:5319829I received a Christmas present of a TI/99-4a. It had a basic interpreter built in. maleThe idea of computer programming was the interesting thing in and of itself. Probably science fiction stories helped, but I have no direct influencer that I can point to.YesNoNo.Yes
7/17/2015 11:29:21197421got involved in electrical engineering. the microprocessor was invented about this time. malegeneral interest I guess. helped several friends build motherboards at that time because you could not purchase a pre-assembled one back then.YesYesno blood relationsYes
7/17/2015 11:30:09199512I always knew it was available as a thing. I kind of stumbled into it with my TI-83 graphing calculatormaleI wanted to automate my math homeworkNoNonoYes
7/17/2015 11:30:10198414Was given access to BASIC computers in school. maleteachers. maleI had my own fascination.NoNoNoYes
7/17/2015 11:40:59198111A school friend's dad worked in electronics and built a zx81.maleYou couldn't do anything with the zx81 unless you did it yourself and it seemed like fun.YesYesNo.Yes
7/17/2015 11:44:24200010I started by playing around with HTML and gradually extended my knowledge. HTML->PHP->Javascript->Ruby->...maleNobody. I learned whatever I needed and what interested me.YesYesNo. My father is a Mathematician and he programms a little from time to time at work. Yes
7/17/2015 11:46:44198310Father was doing it for office automation. It was just about the only way to make computers do things at the time.maleI wanted to make my own games.YesNoUncle is programmer.Yes
7/17/2015 11:47:5219859My mother told me what programming is.maleI wanted to create games.YesYesNo.Yes
7/17/2015 11:47:5619895Parents, father and mother maleParentsYesYesParents, younger brother Yes
7/17/2015 11:50:0719848My dad I guessmaleNo one really. I just wanted to tryYesYesKind of but never really discuss what we doYes
7/17/2015 11:50:43198410Programming in LOGO with a turtle on an Apple ][ cmaleI can't remember but it was at elementary school.YesNoNoneYes
7/17/2015 11:51:3019866Dad maleDad YesNoNoYes
7/17/2015 11:52:03198310My elementary school got a couple of TRS-80 color computers and pretty much no software for them, so I started learning how to write my own.maleI think I mostly got interested in it on my own, but I may have been steered in that direction by a teacher ... I can't remember now.YesNoYes
7/17/2015 11:57:19200316the internet!femalewanting to make my own websiteNoNonoYes
7/17/2015 11:57:4019837LOGO classes at elementary school, followed by a book on BASIC programming for the APple IIe.maleSchool librarian.YesNoYes
7/17/2015 11:59:31199413My father maleSick of doing my math homeworkYesYesMy fatherYes
7/17/2015 12:00:4819836My father (male) showed me a little bit of BASIC on the Apple II.maleOnce I started to learn how I could make the computer do things, I was hooked!YesYesCousin - male
7/17/2015 12:02:1919868My malefriend--also 8--showed me a simple game he'd programmed on an Apple ][e.maleSee above.YesYesNo.Yes
7/17/2015 12:02:3119789My father introduced me to it.maleMy father.YesYesNoneYes
7/17/2015 12:07:01200218maleYesYesWife, femaleYes
7/17/2015 12:09:39201235colleague at workmaleMyself - needed to analyze data which wasn't possible without learningNoNoNoYes
7/17/2015 12:17:10200512Building websites because it was fun and could be taken apart and re-assembled. Self-introduced, so to speak.male-YesYesScout leader - male
Other scout leader - male
Uncle - male
7/17/2015 12:17:31200324My maleMSc supervisor used it regularlymaleJust seeing what was possible when people use codeYesNoNoYes
7/17/2015 12:20:33200619Took intro to CS as a junior in college after I decided my real major (math) wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.maleI hated it until we got to pointers. Then I saw the power of what we were doing. (Instead of toy programs like "print a pyramid of stars on the console".)YesNoNoYes
7/17/2015 12:24:19198811I think watching Wargames was the first thing that got me interested in programming.maleGetting a computer (an Amstrad CPC6128) which came with a load of BASIC games in the manual that you could write yourself.NoNoNo
7/17/2015 12:25:2819856My family had a small entertainment computer (Tandy, I think). One day my father showed me that it could be programmed using BASIC, and I copied the sample code in the manual.

In my second grade math class, we were taught programming using Logo doing "turtle graphics".

My father originally showed me that programming was a thing.
7/17/2015 12:31:27199012Through a Turkish magazine called "Commodore". Published monthly and came with a booklet containing pages of BASIC & Machine code listing.maleI was a loyal subscriber of this aforementioned magazine. At first, all I was interested in was typing small game source code listing that came with it. At some point I got curious as to see how seemingly illegitimate bunch of characters ended up becoming small but fully working games. I still remember the day when I wrote my 2 line BASIC program.YesYesNoYes
7/17/2015 12:34:08200314Researched how to make a gamemaleI wanted to make a game.YesYesNoYes
7/17/2015 12:40:13199213Played games on parents' computer. "Hacked" game binaries using Mac ResEdit program. Bought "World Builder" program which allowed you to make your own games.maleMy uncle was a professional programmer. He gave me a copy of Visual Basic, and taught me the basics of how to use it.YesYesUncleYes
7/17/2015 12:41:43199814Both my parents are computer programmersmaleI think my mom left a PHP/MySQL book on a desk at home.
Around the time where I started using the web more and more.
And there was easily accessible free PHP hosting in France at that time.
7/17/2015 12:42:21199818When I started university. My dorm had wired access to campus internet. I was first introduced to programming through IRC while attempting to learn how to make my own website.maleThe desire to build websites and also potentially pay for my studies.NoNoSome friends.Yes
7/17/2015 12:45:05198614Through playing computer gamesmaleWanting to make gamesYesYesNoYes
7/17/2015 12:45:1919889My computer teacher in elementary school, a woman, got us all to learn Basic.maleMy computer teacher in elementary school, a woman.YesNoNo.Yes
7/17/2015 12:46:28199512I don't really know. It was probably to play games in BASIC, so... my dad?maleI just picked it up when I found out I could make it do things I wanted instead of just following what others had programmedNoNoNoneYes
7/17/2015 12:49:07201123Aware of it as long as I can remember.femaleThe malePI of my undergrad lab told me bioinformatics was the wave of the future.NoNoYes
7/17/2015 12:50:03200414My secondary school gave courses in programming, and i was into computersmaleCuriosity & the satisfaction of solving problems by finding out how to make the computer do it for you.NoNoFather, maleYes
7/17/2015 12:55:42201227I wished I could build the things that the engineers at my company were taking a while to do, so I googled "how to build a website" and ended up attending a full-stack bootcamp.femaleSame way as how I found out about it. I wished I could build the things that the engineers at my company were taking a while to do, so I googled "how to build a website" and ended up attending a full-stack bootcamp.NoNoNoYes
7/17/2015 12:56:4219907maleneigbours had a computer academy.maleWas allowed to play in aforementioned comp academy and asked if I could be taught how to make the programs I was using.NoNoHalf Sister (studied engineering and works as a dba)Yes
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