About Me

  |  More posts about meta python
Only missing a monocle.

Hello, world!

My name is Robert Kern. I am a Python developer by day and, too often, a Python developer by night.

I thought I would start off by telling you how I got into Python and programming in general. My father is a programmer, and I would (try to) read his books as a kid. I tried to learn C when I was 12 or so. We even had a C compiler installed on our DOS PC (amusingly, it is still for sale on this newfangled Internet thing). I learned enough to do simple loops, to printf() things, and a bit of file I/O. I learned to please the compiler with cargo cult semicolons. I had read about C++ and modeling objects with classes.

But nothing really took hold, to be honest. At the time, I was the kind of person that needed a real, compelling task to motivate me to truly learn a skill. As a lazy teenager, I was not a self-starter. Fast-forwarding a bit through the fallow years to the end of high-school, I obtained an internship with the structural biochemistry group at a nearby National Cancer Institute lab. We were doing bioinformatic sequence analyses on parts of the HIV genome which had hundreds of publicly available sequences by that time (hundreds, I say!). There were tools that did much of this work, and they could be strung together with baling wire and shell scripts, but I felt I needed something more.

Fortunately, Dad had run across this new language called Python that had extensions for scientific computing. Finally, I had a job to do, and the right tools to finish it! I fell in love in a day of frantic coding. I could replace expensive, inscrutable, unmodifiable software in with just a few scripts that I could understand thoroughly. I was powerful, and it was Python that made me mighty. I promptly subscribed to comp.lang.python on USENET (because I kick it old school) and learned an astonishing amount about software development from my new peers more or less by osmosis.

I tried to be a helpful, if sometimes overly terse, contributor to the newsgroup and the Matrix-SIG. When SciPy came around and bundled together some of the numerical libraries I had been using, I pitched in there too and acquired a minor reputation as a useful curmudgeon.

I can think of worse things to be known as.

comments powered by Disqus