My story so far...

I always like to know what influences someone I am reading has, it helps me to understand their position and how they have come to their opinions.  To that end the following blog is a brief overview of my software development journey so far.

My name is Klee Thomas and I'm a Software Developer and aspiring Software Craftsman. I'm passionate about Software Development and use words like craftsman and clean code, possibly a little to, often.  I only started developing professionally a few years ago and am lucky enough to work with people who share my drive towards self improvement.  I am a regular attendee and occasional presenter at the Newcastle Coders Group.

I am not one of those people who started developing at a ridiculously young age.  When I was in primary school and early high school I played the occasional computer game and made one or two Power Point presentations.  I had no idea what Software Development was, let alone how to do it.  I did a little programming in the later years of my high school career.   My teachers did a great job in teaching me how to find answers to my questions online and taught me some basic algorithms.  But the programming I did was really just enough to pass my assignments.

Through University I started to be a bit more interested in development, but still after the assignments were finished I didn't do a whole lot of self improvement.  With the help of my lecturers and tutors by the end of Uni I did have an idea that there was such a thing as good code and such a thing as bad code, but looking back I certainly didn't know the difference.

Towards the end of Uni I picked up a job doing some Tech Support for some local(ish) primary schools and there I had my first experience writing a piece of software that actually solved a problem for someone.  It made me feel pretty good and I realised then that where I wanted my career to head was towards writing software not doing IT support.

At that same time that I had that job I was working on my honours project at Uni writing some software that solved Ordinary Differential Equations using Python.  The code wasn't complex, in fact the main outcome from my honours project was how easy it was to solve relatively complex mathematical problems using Python.  Despite it's lack of complexity it gave me something to hold up in my next job interview.  As I was finalising my thesis I had a chance to showcase the code in a job interview. I proudly stood at the front of the room with my code displayed on the projector and showed it off.  A month later I would look over that code in embarrassment.  Fortunately though my employers thought that it was good enough to get my foot in the door.  I'm so glad that they saw potential beneath that code.

The software development team I worked with taught me about craftsmanship, clean code, automated testing and well architected software.  They changed the way that I thought about software, from something that is there just to get the job done to something that should be well crafted and maintainable.  The introduced me  to podcasts, presentations, blogs and books.  They had me consuming work by names I had never heard before, like Martin Fowler, Kent Beck, Eric Evans and Greg Young as well at this oddly named Uncle Bob. These people now strongly influence my coding style and opinions.  Clean Code, is compulsory reading for any new developers starting with us. I just wish it was compulsory at Universities and Colleges as well.

While working in this job I have worked on two separate teams, within the overarching product development team.  Both teams work in the same general domain but solve very different problems. The first team I worked built a client server application built on top of a CQRS architecture using version 1 of the Axon framework.  This was a steep learning curve from where I started.  Before this I had never touched C# and WPF, never heard of CQRS or event driven programming and had only the Java knowledge that I had learned at Uni.

The team I now work on an in vehicle interface that still needs to be responsive while running on dedicated, but memory and performance constrained hardware.  This brings with it a set of challenges, problems and solutions that are unique.

Outside of work I now strive to improve my skills.  Focusing on areas outside of that which I cover each day in the course of my job.  I doubt I make up the 20 hours a week suggested by Uncle Bob but I get in at least a few.   Hopefully having somewhere to document them will help with that.

To finish this blog I'll finish at the start. My name is Klee and I'm a coding addict.  It has been mere hours since I last coded and I have no intention of stopping now.  Expect to hear from me again as I intend to use this blog to document my experiences on my journey. 

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