Java, C#, SQL, Delphi & Visual Basic: Fear In Multiple Syntaxes

I’m going to be a software engineer.

This was an unexpected development for me. I was always the least computer geeky of all of my computer geek friends. Oh, sure, I’ve been a big geek for my entire life, but I’ve been the one who didn’t have the sk1llz the others had. I can get around a bash shell, but end up looking up the proper usage of simple things like rm and grep. I can crudely insert letters into vi, but need to google anything beyond saving my changes and quitting. I ended up hacking together tools at work with Access and VBA, but hadn’t managed to get beyond basic loops and control structures in any real language.

I was a non-geek among geeks. My skills were weak. I was no programmer. I was close to certain I was never going to be.

Yet this Wednesday I begin my new position as a Software Engineer for my company. It’s a position I pursued. A position I applied for, interviewed for and wholeheartedly accepted when it was offered to me.

What my precise responsibilities will be on the day I start, I can’t tell you. I can guess that it will involve using Delphi and Visual Basic 6, but beyond that I know only that I am very, very afraid.

Ok, that’s not all I’m feeling. I’m also really excited, and am looking forward to finally picking up some skills that I’ve coveted for most of my life. I like programming. Every class I’ve ever taken in it has gone pretty damn well. The tracking tool I built for my last company was not too shabby, considering I built the thing in Access.

But I’ve never done it for real. Never done it when it mattered to a company whose revenue depended on my code working. To pull this off, I’m going to have to learn an awful lot, and I don’t know how long I’m going to have to learn it. In my future is not only Delphi and Visual Basic, but C# and connections to Microsoft SQL Server. I’ve never had to learn this much for a job before, and there’s that bad little part of me that’s afraid I just won’t be able to pass muster.

I haven’t been sitting still. I’ve spent the last month teaching myself Java, so I’ve got a foundation in something object oriented. Plus Java is similar to C#, so there’s a chance I’ll be able to pick up that skill 2-3% more quickly, now. Baby steps.

So I’m going to be a programmer. I’ll be able to discuss a project with my other friends and not have to talk in abstract concepts. Maybe I’ll even be able to fire up vi and not end up jumping down 10 lines when I meant to write “main()”

On second thought, I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. Textpad may not be l33t, but at least the arrow keys do what I expect them to.

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