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Microsoft Developers User Group Stevenson University

I attended the Maryland and Pennsylvania Microsoft Developers User Group on July 22, 2008. It was at Stevenson University (formerly Villa Julie). It’s a beautiful campus located in the woods off of I-695! It was my first time going to a user group like that. It was okay probably going to try the Harrisburg Developers User Group and see how that goes. I’m more interested in talking about software development and programming techniques.

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There was a speaker, Advanced IT student, who gave a rousing speak on Project Management Software. It was an okay intro to that Software, but seemed to miss a lot of what’s happening right now. He gave some examples, but none with software development. I think software development is a totally different ballpark then for example winery. I think Agile Development is really changing what software we use and how we use it. Mingle is probably the “best” for Agile Development. I’ve used Agile Track to have management on an Agile project.

There was a web seminar on some new features of Visual Studio 2008. I’m quite excited about some of the cool new features. The one feature I am most excited about is Javascript Debugging! Debugging Javascript is so annoying… to be able to step through Javascript will save so much time. The split screen mode in 2008 also looks very promising.

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I also won the main door prize! I got a wireless keyboard and some software (Visual Studio 2008, Windows Server 2008, and SQL Server 2008). Visual Studio and SQL Server are both developers version while Windows Server is a year free trial. I’m going to try them out and see what they are all about.

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My Affinity for Programming

I started programming in what most programmers do.  BASIC, it is the beginning, the building blocks, the genesis, etc etc.  After learning about the wonderful nuances of BASIC I was quickly thrown into the hard cold world of Turbo Pascal.  I don’t remember much of Turbo Pascal, but I remember it was not kind.  After using many printfs and so forth I moved to C and C++.  C and C++ were not too bad.  Pointers were kind of interesting at an early age, but I could not see myself working with them forever.

So I went to college to pursue the wonderful career of System Administrator.  This was pre 9/11, end of web 1.0, and the landscape was kind of shakey.  The web always interested me and I wanted to do some projects in the web space.  I started with PHP 3/4 and made my own CMS.  It wasn’t anything fancy… basically it was a web interface to edit txt files, which was basically a pseudo database.  I found myself dedicating a lot of time to programming and really enjoyed it.

I got my degree in System Administration, but had a great desire to continue programming.  Thus I went to Penn State to continue my education and learn how to become a Software Developer.  I learned a lot at Penn State.  About hard work, listening, understanding concepts… I learned that being a Software Developer isn’t so much about coding, but understanding the needs of people.  Coding is very important, but that is the easy stuff, the fun stuff!  To interpret the wants and demands of people that really have no idea what a database is.  It is a challenge, but it is something Penn State has prepared me for.

It has been a long challenging road, but it has all been worth it in the end.  The ends do justify the means in this case I dare say.  This was a quick narrative of my rise to Software Developerdum.  To say I have an affinity for programming is an under statement.  It is apart of me.  It is at the core of what I do.  I don’t really have a job or career, because I enjoy every single second of it.  It is a challenge that I love.