I am mostly self taught starting in the the early 80’s on my Atari 400. Games was too expensive to buy for a 12 year old, so I wrote them myself instead. Basic and 6502 assembler. In college I went to a tech school in Stockholm where the last years was focused on Computer Technology and Programming Languages, but I probably learned just as much working on my spare time at Atari Corp Scandinavia with everything from hardware service to supporting our end customers and retailers.
I got my first full time job in 1990, where I worked in a small team programming in C on our 4GL platform. On this platform we built ERP systems for various industries. I Our customers was small to medium sized companies where I did everything from installations (including drilling holes in walls), configuration, customization and teaching the customers how to use the system. In 1995 it moved to a new employer as a Unix support engineer, but found out that I was really more of a developer than a system admin and support person. After spending the first few weeks upgrading a Remedy 1.x system to Remedy 2.0, I started working as a Remedy implementation consultant.
In 2001 I started my own business RRR, building 3rd party tools and utilities for the Remedy platform, where I wanted to go back developing products again rather than working as a consultant. Being out to customers as a consultant leaves very little room for doing things thoroughly, as you are expected to deliver things fast and just good enough to work. Usually very little room to be be creative or improve things without an explicit functional requirement.
In 2016 I was still working with RRR, but starting to think on where to go next. But then the (Remedy) BMC Helix Innovation Suite happened, which will allow me to take my old experience and leverage modern technology, while at the same time taking away all the limitations of the old Remedy platform.
I like to do off-road enduro riding as well as riding my race bike on tracks. I like to do lindy-hop dancing or pick wild asparagus in the spring. Cooking, eating good food and drinking micro brew beer is also dear to my heart. I have recently moved to the 3000 year old town Pula in Croatia, which will most likely make this list of pastimes grow.
I think that education is much more important than when I started my career, but that does not mean you should not explore technology outside the educational system. To be really successful as a programmer, you need some talent but most importantly you need to love what you do. Don’t search for money in everything, instead create projects in your spare time that YOU are interest in.