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Hello, World! The first, tentative steps that we take into any programming language usually begin with “Hello, World!” -- a short exercise geared to take the user from ground level to the first floor of competence with a new language or tool. Just as there are many ways to arrive at “Hello, World!” there are many paths that people trod to arrive in the IT industry.
If you read my post from two weeks back (or last week’s post where I interview Red Hat’s Michael Clayton and Jared Sprague), you know that we’ve spent the last 12 months “on the road” asking people about their origin stories (and more). You also know that after hundreds of interviews, we’ve come to understand that for many (but not all) their introduction to technology and/or computing started with video games. That’s why we kicked off Command Line Heroes season 2 with “Press Start,” an episode about how some of the first code that was shared over the early internet was that of Will Crowther’s Colossal Cave Adventure.
In this past week’s episode of Command Line Heroes, “Hello, World”, we again took inspiration from our time on the road. Whether in Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Prague, or Boston—everyone had stories about their first language or first experience programming.
While some have been programming since the days of punch cards and COBOL, others are newer to programming and are struggling with information overload, given the proliferation of languages and the accelerating pace of change. Languages have most certainly evolved over time. Having moved from programming in the language of machines to swimming in an ocean of high level languages - polyglot is real.
In today’s post I’d like to share the first half of an “origin story” that demonstrates how a seemingly “normal” beginning led one future Command Line Hero down a long and windy road - one that veered far from the beaten path of computing and technology - only to curve back as she hit her stride and found her calling as Red Hat’s Chief Agile Architect.
Back to BASIC
At Red Hat Summit 2018 I had the opportunity to sit down with Jen Krieger. Per standard operating procedure, I began by asking her about how she got involved with computers and technology. And while her story began “as expected” (i.e. early access to computers, early introduction to programming, etc.) it took an unexpected turn or two.
In short, Jen was just a child when her father lovingly handed her a gigantic stack of printed BASIC instructions. He told Jen that if she and her brother carefully entered all of the commands into their family’s computer, it would make a playable (video) game. Fun summer project, right?
Well, Jen spent a lot of time that summer typing all of the instructions into their family computer. Then, on that fateful day when they had all been entered, it was time to run the code. And, what happened? It bombed out. And after all that time and all that effort, Jen promptly wrote computers (and technology) off “forever”.
So, how then did Jen end up as Red Hat’s Chief Agile Architect? Stay tuned for episode four of Command Line Heroes season two. I know just the person to share the rest of this story. Teaser: it involves farm animals and a psychology degree.
Ready to Start Your Own Adventure?
While we’ve moved away from programming in BASIC, mastering one of the high level languages of today is the perfect way to start your own hero’s journey. To this end, aspiring developers are in luck as the Red Hat Developer Program is free to join and makes a vast number of enterprise-ready tools and technologies available for use.
Whether you’re interested in downloading a no-cost developer subscription of Red Enterprise Linux and crafting “Hello, World!” in one of the many included programming languages, or migrating your .NET skills from Windows to Linux, the tools, technologies, and tips you need are all available. And if you’re wanting to create apps in Linux containers, there are tools for that too.
Already comfortable in your development socks but are looking for a fun side project to contribute to? Look no further. We’d love for you to help us build hero-engine and Command Line Heroes: The Game.
Tell Us What You’re Thinking
Finally, as mentioned in my last post, we’re setting up shop at a number of events (see the full list below) to continue our mission of discovery. When each episode of this season of Command Line Heroes drops, we’ll bring you updates (like this one) on what we’re learning. If you have plans to attend any of these events, stop by! We’d love to chat with you.
Not traveling but want to stay plugged in? There are a few easy ways to do so:
- Subscribe to Command Line Heroes to get the latest episodes as they’re released.
- Follow @RedHat on Twitter to keep up with Command Line Heroes and more.
- Subscribe to the Red Hat Blog’s community RSS feed to read more in this series as we continue to listen and learn from people like you.