What was your first programming language?

Self taught C64 Basic to “Turbo” Pascal to C. A lot of stuff after C but I always come back to it :)

Apple basic in school library, followed by Commodore basic when I got c64 in between 5th and 6th grade. Used some basic in a class in Jr high, but don’t remember what the platform was (apple or ibm). In high school I was a moron and skipped out on learning Pascal in AP cs from a great teacher because I thought the class would be as useless as the class in Jr high. Professionally it has been pretty much all c, first fixing bugs in a fault tolerant version of the hpux kernel, and after that the linux kernel.

I did some relatively simple C++ stuff in school, but the classes were pretty bad so I didn’t get very far until I came back on my own years later. Since then, I’ve done a mix of Python and Java, as well as dabbling in a bunch of others.

For me, it was Basic on The TRS-80 model 1. I had this orange book of like 40 games or something and you just needed to type them in, line by line. I learned a bit of programming that way.

I then tried to write my own games, not knowing anything about AI or data structures (not that data structures were available in this version of basic (aka no pointers)). Anyway, the other thing I learned was that BASIC was super slow. Even a simple game was almost like watching a slide show in action.

Aside from some rudimetary BASIC / Logo stuff as a kid, the first real meaningful programming I did was Java / C++ in college, pretty much concurrently.

I suppose it also depends on whether you consider MS-DOS .bat scripting to be programming. I did a fair bit of that to get various games to run.

Here I go being the old fart again.

BASIC. As a high-school freshman in Sunnyvale they took a bunch of us over to Tymeshare and let us play around in BASIC using a

to communicate with an IBM 370. There’s a reason why tty ports are called tty ports…

In college I wrote a bunch of code in APL. And then I got away with using FORTRAN to satisfy my foreign language gen-ed requirement at Cal. Those were the days.

Yeah, I had to write FORTRAN in college as well, in an IBM mainframe. I don’t miss it, but it was kind of cool. ;)

Yes! My dad bought a teletype machine from a government surplus auction. He some how got his trs 80 to talk to it.

  • Started with BASIC on an atari 400 then an atari 800.
  • Learned basic on an apple II in high school.
  • College it was pascal, dbase 3+, paradox, clipper, foxpro, sql, COBOL.
  • Self taught some C in there somewhere and read some x86 assembly books but didn’t really do anything with it.
  • Early work was PowerBuilder for 7 years (v2-6.5). I remember I built a kaboom clone and a connect 4 game during training because I was so bored. PowerBuilder was amazing at the time. Way ahead of everybody else.
  • oracle pl/sql, sybase.
  • Went on and did some visual basic 3, visual basic 6 (COM DLL HELL!!!), vb.net and sql server
  • self taught c# and have been doing c# and pretty much most of the microsoft stack for the last 7 years. I dabbled in objective c and swift on the side though. I prefer xamarin for mobile though.

Next step for me is learning typescript (I really hate javascript). Going to try and implement ng-metadata into our angular 1.5.7 project.

It’s interesting to contrast with my oldest son who is a freshman in high school. In his first compsci class he learned:

  • scratch
  • jeroo
  • and now java and already learning some basic OO.


I remember enjoying some “text adventure” books in which you had to solve problems using BASIC programming. They even had different solutions listed for different BASIC implementations (TRS-80 Color, CC, MSX, etc). I think the series was called Micro Adventures or something? Not sure though.

Anyway, I loved those. Looking back, the problems were pretty elementary, but they definitely helped in making programming enticing back then.

When I got to college in '95 the intro course was C++, but by the time I got back from a year in Russia in the fall of '97 they had moved on to Java. I’m not sure when they made the switch from Pascal to C++. While I was there they dropped the class where we did 68000 assembly, and rolled that into the architecture class so I ended up with both classes.

Gosh, technically it was probably Apple II Basic. Those little cards in the back of magazines you could type into the console. But I never did anything outside of retyping the code examples given.

Practically speaking it was C when I started as an engineer in college (late 90s). When I switched to CS, the intro classes were in Java.

Turbo Pascal around ~1990, made save game editors and crappy games in Mode X (320x240)then of all things on to Assembler in order to create lightning fast graphics (I drew random pixels really fast but that’s as far as I got). Also I could break copy protection for games and apps since I knew Assembly.

That was a LONG, LONG time ago. However, the picture of the dude with the robot does seem familiar, so that may have been the book.

That was the BASIC interpreter actually written by Bill Gates

What year did you graduate HS and college? This is exactly me! I graduated HS in '82 and College in '86.

Hs 89 and college 93

Interesting thread. I do not officially program for a living, but for both school and career, I’ve either studied or self-trained a few languages. My first:

BASIC on a TRS-80

Then the progression was:

Honestly besides school, my programming has been limited. I mostly script things for work, and in the past that’s been VB and more recently Powershell. Some of the gear I work with has gotten complex enough that Python is now a preferred method to do complex tasks, thus it’s the latest thing on my to-do list to learn.

I always really loved programming and sometimes lament that my working life ended up veering away from it. I’m doing some VBA at work atm and even look forward to taking that work home with me.

I think I missed my true calling.