Five Questions: Greg Robinson

Five Questions: Greg Robinson

For the inauguration of this feature, I had a little e-mail chat with Greg Robinson, who is a Project Manager at Custom Data Systems. You can read a formal case study of their application at Microsoft's site, but this column isn't about the application (interesting though it is), but about Greg. Here are the questions that I asked Greg to chat about:

  • How long have you been developing software?
  • What one software tool would you most hate to do without?
  • What one software technology do you most regret investing time in learning?
  • What keeps you writing code these days?
  • What software accomplishment are you proudest of?

And here's what Greg had to say in return:

"I started writing code in 1996, Academically only. I have a bachelors Degree in Economics which served me well for 8+ years, until I got bored out of my brains.

"My father has his own software company and has a masters in Computer Science. After seeing how much fun it was through him, I got the bug and started taking night classes at a local community college. I needed 10 classes to complete a certificate in IT. I went to class at night and studied when I could, while still working 40+ hours a week.

"I completed 5 of the 10 classes and was offered a job writing Cobol by a Corporate 200 company. I jumped all over it even though I took over a 50% cut in pay. I needed to get in the industry somehow.

"The rest is history. I did Cobol for one year. I was promoted to their Desktop group and wrote VB5 and 6 for a year.

"I was than offered a job with start up company as an IT consultant. One of the owners taught 1 of the 5 classes I took at the community college. I was employee number 3. I walked onto my first project not knowing the first thing about web apps. 6 months later myself and the 4th employee completed a pretty impressive web portal using ASP.

"I did 2 more projects with this company (, the last one being my first .NET project.

"I then went off on my own for one year. I was then offered a job with my client, CDS, which I accepted. I now manage 3 developers (and write code all day myself) and I could not be happier.

"I could not live without the VS IDE. Well, I guess I could but life would be hard. I was groomed on windows and the mouse, so I am not a keyboard programmer nor am I any good from the command line.

"I truly love my work. I love the challenges, the frustrations, the up and downs and the high you get when you write some great code or figure something out. I truly am amazed I get paid so well to do this! I am living proof that hard work pays off. I also found the right mentors early in my career and fed off their energy and knowledge.

"I would not say I am most proud of any one software product. I am proud of all of them. Some were more challenging, but in the end they were all great. Each one taught me something new which i carried to the next project. As long as I am learning I am proud and happy!

"I am often asked if I would go back to Cobol. My answer is always the same, code is code is code. I truly love writing it, so yes, if I had to I would."

I expect that most developers will see a little bit of themselves in that story. Want to share your own experiences? Write me at [email protected] and let me know.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.