I had my first taste of computer programming as a student at The University of Georgia (BBA '86) way back in 1981. We programmed in Fortran using punch cards on the school's main frame late into the night. I think this experience should be a requirement for any new programmer. (Knowing where we've come from truly helps one appreciate where we are today.)
Then my Dad brought home a Texas Instruments TI-99/4A computer that I connected to an old black & white TV and I was hooked!
Programming in BASIC I wrote my first computer program that calculated the cost of the camper tops my Dad's business manufactured and I thought "this is pretty cool..."
Unfortunately, using punch cards in college was not a pleasant experience and I chose not to pursue the "Computer Sciences" and opted for a career in manufacturing management with Milliken & Co. Occasionally I was able to do some programming at work -- mostly macro's in Lotus 1-2-3 and BASIC -- and gained further experience while pursuing a master's degree at The Institute of Textile Technology (MS '89) in Charlottesville, VA.
In 1993 I finally bought at 486 DX2 PC running at 33Mhz with 4MB of RAM and a 250MB hard drive (this was a monster machine at the time...) I also bought a programming package called Visual Basic 3.0 and this changed everything for me. After 3 years of learning the language I decided it was time to make a career change so I left manufacturing management and went back to school for a degree in computer programming.
In 1996 I got my first job as a professional computer programmer with Exploration Resources in Athens, GA and a couple of years later I worked with Profitable Inventory Control Systems. Both jobs were great learning experiences but I have always had a desire to be my own boss...
On August 1, 1999 I realized this dream when Smartco Software, LLC was born. Since then I have enjoyed working with many businesses around the Lexington and Athens area.
It's hard to believe it has been 30 years since I punched out my first program in Fortran and equally exciting to see what the future holds....
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