Developer Tales #2 – You will NEVER be a programmer

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I left school in 1987 with no qualifications at all.

I looked for work but everyone was looking for people with experience, and unlike in later life, no one was willing to take a chance on a long haired 15 year old with no education worth mentioning. To be fair though, I had no fucking idea what I wanted to do anyway. Computers at this point was a hobby to me, didn’t think I’d make a career of it, and all my experience was on a ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64, though I could program the fucker like a demon when the mood suited me and when I wasn’t playing Ghost and Goblins.

So in September 1987 the job centre got sick and tired of seeing my ugly mug and they decided I would be just perfect for the Youth Training Scheme, YTS, although we preferred to call it Young Teenage Slavery as the wages was about £36 a week. Yes you read that correctly, it isn’t a typo. I was placed at a training company called Exeter ITec and the interview and induction made me instantly dislike the prick who run it, and motivated me to prove the fucker wrong.

At the interview, I was told what this place was about and it was to teach us office software using, and my arsehole shudders at the thought of it, Wordstar, SuperCalc or Lotus 1-2-3 and DBase 3. The closest I came to office software at this point was EdWord on the BBC… and that was shit, which was good because Wordstar was as well.

After discussing this, the interviewer, one Tony Ainscombe, asked me what I wanted to do for a career. I told him no idea, but I was good at programming computers so maybe it’s the career for me. I amazed myself, something I wanted to do in life… brilliant. This Tony prick then sat up in his chair and shat on that dream and said, and I will always remember him saying it. NO. You will NEVER be a programmer.” I was a little taken aback at this and my only thought was, what a prick. I didn’t mention I could already code 8 bit computers, and 16 bit was on the horizon. I do remember feeling crushed that the only fucking clue I had for what I wanted to do for the next 50 years of my life was squashed. Wow, so I’m going to be doing fucking word processing, spreadsheets and databases all my life.

Me and Ainscombe never saw eye to eye, I was put of reception to keep me away from people and computers for most of it, but during the few months I was there, I finished learning assembler code on the Commodore 64, sending of £2 to those adverts in the back of Your Commodore or whatever it was to get some badly printed out code to try and learn from. And all this because i was more determing to show that prick Tony I could be a programmer, or developer as they call them these days 😀

Every day, every ticket, every bugfix, every commit, every migration, every release, every site that goes live, every little triumph I have in my work is a mid-digit to that prick Tony Ainscombe.

I was a better programmer than he was when I joined that shit hole in 1987, and I left a better one in spite of Tony, not because of him. So fuck you arsehole.

Not that I’m bitter or angry about it.

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