From 1983 until mid-2004, or twenty-one years, I wrote code every day of my working life. When people asked what I did for a living my answer was always, “I’m a programmer.”
Starting in 2004 I worked on a large (very large) government project solely on design and architecture. We didn’t do any coding at all. When I left that engagement and moved on into the healthcare industry in 2007 I was once again in a position where I didn’t do any coding. And since arriving here at the University I haven’t done any coding.
My position which initially started out focused more on procedure and process is now transitioning toward the technical. On at least one upcoming project I’ll be solely responsible for all the work, design, coding, and unit testing. Toward that end I have been re-immersing myself in programming.
I’ve decided to change IDEs from Eclipse to IntelliJ IDEA, simply because I haven’t used it before and because many (most) of the developer’s I work with do use it. I’ve been exploring our code base, and working with a new virtual environment which allows work against an application server configuration identical to what our production servers run.
My programming skills are a bit rusty, but like riding a bike you don’t really forget how. I’ve used a couple of tutorials to get my mental space back into programming, and I have setup all the computers I have daily access to with the same project directory space, and IDE configuration so that I can work from anywhere.
It feels good to be returning to my programming roots. My title may have changed, and my knowledge base is certainly much broader now that it was in 1977 when I wrote my first working programs, but I am still, proudly, a programmer.