The Self-Taught Programmer

Recipes from real-world experience with

About The STP

with one comment

First of all, The Self-Taught Programmer is me. I have two degrees, but neither is in programming, computer science, information technology, or anything remotely related. I became a programmer by accident — I worked for a small company and when my boss needed someone to create a database, I was the only one there with any computer experience at all. My experience was all in USING a computer, that is. My boss bought a copy of Paradox. I bought a couple of textbooks. And away I went onto a path that would eventually lead me to a development career.

You might say I embraced my inner geek — it had been trying to get out for years, but I had been beating it back in favor of more “cool” career choices. What a waste of time. I should have listened up front and gotten my CS degree.

But since I didn’t, I taught myself everything I know. That leaves a funny sort of Swiss-cheese set of skills — holes in my personal knowledge base that someone with more formal training might not have. So occasionally  I have a big “Eureka!” moment when I figure out how to do something, and when I tell my coworkers, they act like I’ve just discovered breathing — something they can’t believe I didn’t already know. I feel a little foolish, but I don’t care. I love to learn new things.

The weird thing is, even if there are some holes in my knowledge, I notice that I know a whole bunch of stuff much better than many of my peers. This may be because I have to work harder to learn how the new thing I’m learning fits into the larger world of  programming or the .NET ecosystem in which I spend most of my time. Or maybe its because they tend to fall back on the stuff they already know and aren’t forced to seek out new solutions as often as I do. Whatever the reasons, I seem to spend more time on the larger architecture view of what I’m doing than many of the people I’ve worked with.

That’s not to say I’m a rock star in the programming universe. No. I’m certainly not pioneering whole new ways to program. I’m just a guy trying to do his job well, diving deep into the guts of whatever project I’m on, and thoroughly enjoying it.

Why the blog?

So this site exists for 2 reasons… #1 as a repository of the stuff I’ve learned and may need to use again (an external storage device for my brain, if you will) — a site of recipes that I can easily index and refer back to instead of searching through a hard-drive full of code for; and #2 as a resource that some other self-educated developers might find useful.

It will mostly be ASP.NET, C#, and javascript stuff, but you never know what might creep in here.

Written by Jim McMullen

December 22, 2010 at 3:07 am

One Response

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  1. That’s almost exactly my story… and this is the blog I’ve been thinking I should write – also because writing something I’ve learned down helps make sure I actually understand the whole concept.
    When I tell my friends what I’ve learned though, I get blank looks, as in ‘That’s nice dear… but I really have no idea what you’re rabbiting on about.’ My mum is fantastic, she just listens and nods her head.
    It’s great to see someone else who started out like I did!


    April 14, 2012 at 3:45 am

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