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Programming: Now and Then

The last 20 years have brought several major paradigm shifts in software development. Starting as a software developer was quite different in the early days compared to today. Join Eamonn Boyle and Garth Gilmour as they go down memory lane to discuss the ever-changing world of programming.

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The last 20 years have brought several major paradigm shifts in software development. Starting as a software developer was quite different in the early days compared to today. Join Eamonn Boyle and Garth Gilmour as they go down memory lane to discuss the ever-changing world of programming.

Software evolution over the years

Preben Thorö: Bringing three old men together.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Preben Thorö: Talking about how beautiful everything was back then.

Eamonn Boyle: Speak for yourself. I'm a young buck.

Preben Thorö: Yes, sorry. Two old men.

Garth Gilmour: Yes, yes. No, I am old. I admit to it. I am old. Yes.

Garth Gilmour: But, no, I mean, it's an interesting topic, how much things have changed over the years. I would always say that the biggest change is whenever I started, it was on Solaris, in the office. And it was a commercial C++ compiler and it was the Rogue Wave C++ libraries if you remember those, which cost real money. But there was no way you could go home and train on what you were using in the office. Everything was commercial, everything cost real money. Whereas these days you can get everything from the open-source or there's a community edition. So, you can get better at the technologies you use at work in your own time, and I think that's a tremendous change for the better, you know.

Preben Thorö: So, it is for the better, that now you can work from home. So, now, you're not done when you leave home.

Gart Gilmour: Well, that's the dark side. 

Eamonn Boyle: That one depends on where you are in life. So, for me, that's actually...I'm okay with that. Because when I go down to take a coffee break, I can see my kids and I can see my wife.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: As soon as the day is over, I'm playing with my kids and chatting to my wife. So, for me, it's pretty good. But I know some of the young guys... "Younger," I should say because I'm still young.

Preben Thorö: You're young.

Eamonn Boyle: Some of the younger guys, you know, like, at their stage of life, they want to be in the office, they want to be socializing. The social aspect of work is very, very important.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: And both for them growing in their career, but also just for living. I mean, I remember whenever I was young and working in companies, we were going out after work all the time, we were going for meals, we were doing this and that. So, I can understand for them it's very different, but for me, it's suiting my lifestyle where I am right now. And I can...I don't mind the fact... Some people have trouble, they're like, "Okay, but my home is now my office and I can't get away from my office." But, I don't know, I never really switched off totally, I still always check my mail and would do work. And I...we all have laptops, so the laptop was always there anyway.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: So, now, I just have a better desk at home. That's really the only difference.

Garth Gilmour: I possibly have a very unhealthy lifestyle. Because I started with a philosophy degree, I was mostly self-taught in IT. And I always felt under pressure in the office because I wanted to stay on and kind of teach myself some of this stuff, but everybody was leaving the office. So, it's great being able to do self-education at home, even if that's not entirely healthy. And then I was self-employed for 10 years, so you get into the habit of doing 15 minutes of work, and then 15 minutes of family, and going backward and forwards. And I don't even think about it anymore. I may keel over from a coronary, and then I may think about it at that point. I don't know if it's an entirely healthy way to work. But, from 10 years of freelancing, I got used to half an hour of really focused coding or courseware development or, whatever I was doing. And then half an hour of family time, and just going backward and forwards.

Starting as a developer now and then

Preben Thorö: But starting with Solaris, that means that you were very young and new in this game, doesn't it? When was that?

Garth Gilmour: Late '90s, I think.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Garth Gilmour: So, yes

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Garth Gilmour: So, I started in about '95, I think. But when I went to...first went to college. So, I did a master's in IT after my philosophy degree. I think it would be like '97, or something like that was my first job.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Garth Gilmour: But yes, I did. Solaris was the first version of Unix I used, commercially anyway.

Eamonn Boyle: Yeah, I was in Nortel in 2000. I think a lot of things are better now. So, I remember starting there and being three weeks without a machine, and just having to read books because they hadn't a machine for me and learning their internal proprietary language. Because you don't take an off-the-shelf language, you write your own.

Garth Gilmour: Oh, it's a terrible, terrible thing, yes.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes. Protel. So, by the end of the three weeks, I knew that language inside out. And then they sent me on a training course. But I had learned the language, and so I was asking all the corner case questions, all the things that...

Preben Thorö: Yes, so, you knew version 1 of that language.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes. Well, I knew the language and I just had a backlog of tricky questions, because those were the bits that I couldn't get from the manual. So I'm sure now, as a professional trainer, I would have hated myself. Because it's like day one we're here to teach you this language, and start with the tricky questions. I would have hated myself back then.

So, now, as Garth Gilmour says, you just have the equipment and build times and tooling and documentation, all of these things that just allow you to get productive quickly. And the attitude, I find... Well, again, it does depend on the company. But certainly, for the company we work for the attitude is very supportive and about bringing people along and educating people and giving them all the information that they need.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: And it's different than, I think, years ago when I started.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.If you think back to the '90s if you were doing...I just to pick on Microsoft, because I worked for a Microsoft partner company originally. But I remember you had to get the MSDN CDs. The Microsoft documentation came on the CDs, and there were updates every few months. And you ended up with a pile of CDs this high. And if you weren't an MSDN subscriber, you didn't get a special knowledge. Then there was Microsoft Systems Journal, MSJ, it was originally, and then it became MSDN Magazine, and then all the books and so on. So, if you didn't have that information.

Whereas these days, I mean, you could, in theory, put somebody in a room with just them and give them a decent laptop and an Internet connection and put food under the door. 

If they were sufficiently motivated they could come out after 18 months or two years with all the skills they needed to be a developer just from online tutorials, just from the open-source and community editions. But they would be able to train themselves up in the same frameworks and IDEs libraries and so on that they were using in the workplace. I'm not saying do it that way, but the fact that it is possible, I think, is a tremendously good thing.

Preben Thorö: But the other side of the world, the Sun world, the Solaris part, that was not different. You could be Sun-certified this and that. They had a whole list of certifications.

Garth Gilmour: Oh, yes.

Preben Thorö: That was just the same as the MSDN CD.

Garth Gilmour: Oh, yes. No, I'm just picking on Microsoft because I remember the MSDN CDs sitting in a big rack in the corner of the office. But absolutely. I mean, Solaris was worse. I remember thinking, "Could I get Solaris at home?" You know, and looking it up, I went, "Yes, you can get a Solaris laptop for a mere $15,000 or $20,000."

Preben Thorö: Yes, yes.

Garth Gilmour: "Oh, okay. Maybe not."

Eamonn Boyle: But there's still...I mean, today, there's still money to be made, there's still gold in them their hills. You know, you can get your Scrum certification, you can get your AWS...

Preben Thorö: That's the same thing.

Eamonn Boyle: That's still the same, I guess.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: There are still people who look for those. I mean, for us, we're always looking for capabilities rather than pieces of paper. So, we're even hiring people who don't have degrees, but they just have the passion for it, they're self-taught. As long as they can do the job, that's the most important thing. If they're enthusiastic and they're thinking logically and they're a team player, then, yes, come on board, you know.

Predictions on the future of software/ Paradigm shifts in the future?

Garth Gilmour: It will be interesting to see where it goes with the cloud. Because I worry about there's a scenario where we go back to where we were before. Whereat the moment, you could self-educate yourself in Java or C# or .NET or whatever. And, of course, you can get, like, an Azure or an AWS account, and so on. But modern architectures are made up of so many interconnected services, you know, that there's kind of toy serverless learning, and then there's real serverless learning. So, I'm worried that we get to a stage where you can only do real serverless learning at scale in the office, that's the only practical way to do it. So, I don't think we're there yet, but I think that's a danger.

Preben Thorö: But if you look through history, it has always been client-server-based architecture, and then everything should be a desktop and one single computer. And suddenly, again, it should be client-server.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: But that's it. You know, we aren't so good at predicting the future. That's why...you can have ideas, but it's not...you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket. Because who knows what's around the corner? I mean, we would see what happens with quantum. You know that still hasn't become mainstream yet. But if there is a breakthrough and we find a sort of standard application for these things, that would be, again, a paradigm shift in our industry.

Preben Thorö: Yes, yes.

Eamonn Boyle: So, these things,  they're unknown unknowns, you don't know what's going to happen. So, I just try to enjoy myself along the way.

Preben Thorö: You can only predict the future from your current context.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes..

Preben Thorö: And that's why we tend to laugh at Star Wars movies.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Preben Thorö: Because it's like the early '80s technologies just predicted into some future.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes. I was watching "Terminator" with my kids recently and it's like in the '90s that the world ends, isn't it?

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: It's like the late '90s that the machines take over.

Preben Thorö: Yes, yes.

Eamonn Boyle: And I'm like, "I'm still waiting."

Garth Gilmour: But I think product management has suddenly become such an important thing. Because the users are starting to catch up with us because we haven't done a platform shift. You know, because everything went to the Web, and then everything went to mobile, and then everything went to the cloud, and then there hasn't been a real major platform shift. So clients are starting to expect quality features and interactivity and proper design and so on, which means we need a platform shift soon.

Preben Thorö: Yes. Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: I mean, and energy consumption might be something that makes us think a little bit again. Because we're using such managed languages now. You have your JavaScripts and your Pythons and these kinds of things and to a lesser extent the JVM and .NET languages. But that is less efficient. So, maybe there will be a paradigm shift where we say, "Okay, this energy problem is a real problem and we need to start writing more efficient code and we need to start getting back to native." And things like Rust could become the mainstream. I mean, who knows?

Garth Gilmour: Or it goes the other way and we go up a level where everything is completely managed on our behalf. Any time performance comes up, there always seem to be two arguments. The first argument is to take absolute control,  understand what's going on at the low level and work efficiently. And then the other argument is to give up control completely, you know, have a runtime that efficiently manages everything for you. So, I agree, we could get...go one way or we could go the other.

Eamonn Boyle: And then, of course, you have things like serverless, which gives us massive scalability and better utilization of limited resources. So, these things could be the other way that we manage the problem. Everything goes to the cloud.

Garth Gilmour: But does it end up being more efficient in the long run when you've got, a cloud of thousands and thousands of services out there and you don't know entirely what you're doing and you can't claim it's optimized and you end up with things running for longer than you thought they'd be running for, or distributed databases you can't turn off?

Preben Thorö: No, you just accept that things are happening outside of your comfort zone. 

Garth Gilmour: Yes

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Computers of the early days

Preben Thorö: I remember you once told me that you started way before that with the good old...

Garth Gilmour: Oh, the Spectrum 48K.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Garth Gilmour: Yes. Well, that was the thing. I went in and out of programming. So, I taught myself to program when I was 12, 13, something like this, with the Spectrum 48K, with the rubber keys.

Preben Thorö: Yes. Amazing machine. We tried...we were looking at if we could get Sir Clive Sinclair to come and talk at the conference some years ago.

Garth Gilmour: Oh, wow. Yes.

Preben Thorö: But I guess that chance has...

Garth Gilmour: Sadly, he's passed away now. So, amazing man, amazing, yeah.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: I was...I had the Amstrad. I was a 64K Amstrad.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: With the 128K boost on the back, the expansion pack.

Preben Thorö: What processor was that?

Eamonn Boyle: I'm not sure. It was...we had the 464. I can't remember what the processor was.

Preben Thorö: But it was in the...

Eamonn Boyle: Z81, was it, maybe?

Preben Thorö: No, the Z80, that was the Spectrum family.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes, but I think it might be... Was it a different chip?

Preben Thorö: Yeah. Was it a 6510?

Eamonn Boyle: No, I don't think so. I don't think so. I can't remember.

Preben Thorö: I guess whoever watches this, they have no clue what we're talking about.

Eamonn Boyle: Fix it in post. Let's look it up. Okay, let's record one where we say it's every chip that we know. And then whichever one is right, we'll add it into the video.

Preben Thorö: But that's how I started to program that.

Garth Gilmour: Oh? Yes?

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: But were you doing assembly or were you doing it in BASIC?

Preben Thorö: Well, started in BASIC, and then I...quickly I moved into Assembly. Because of the Commodore 64, the BASIC was so basic.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Preben Thorö: The BASIC was so limited. So, you needed to know the memory map of the machine.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Preben Thorö: And you just went into that.

Garth Gilmour: Oh, I remember. I remember sitting until 3:00 am. with all the lights off and my parents thought I was asleep, and I was there typing in.

Preben Thorö: Typing in from these magazines.

Garth Gilmour: Yes, typing in for Space Invaders.

Preben Thorö: Yes. And if you made one error, it's...

Garth Gilmour: Well, that was the thing. I tried to run it and it said, "Syntax error at line 30." And I went, "What's a syntax error?" That was the beginning of my programming career.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes, lines and lines of data.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: Lines and lines of data.

Preben Thorö: Yes, that was a good part. When it was, like, just typing in the numbers. And if you were lucky, whoever created that has made a kind of a checksum.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Preben Thorö: But maybe not.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes. No, oftentimes not and it just wouldn't work. And you're like, "Okay, let's start going through these numbers." And you get your brother to call out the numbers as you're, like, going across.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Garth Gilmour: But even then you had, like, the wars where the Spectrum people hated the Commodore people? And then everybody hated the BB Micro people because that meant your parents were posh and you'd had it bought. But even then, within the Spectrum community, in the UK, there were the people who read Sinclair User. And then there were the people who read Crash, and they were just gamers and they weren't to be associated with.

Eamonn Boyle: Amstrad Action. Amstrad Action. That was where it was at.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: But the BBC, the BBC Micro, still has a better keyboard than the new MacBook. It was a proper keyboard. You knew you were pressing keys back in those days.

Garth Gilmour: I remember doing the computer class at school and being outraged to discover that the BASIC of the BBC Micro was different from the BASIC of the Spectrum. And it was like, "What?"

Eamonn Boyle: BBC BASIC?

Garth Gilmour: Yes, yes.

Preben Thorö: Yes, exactly.

Garth Gilmour: Yes. That was no good.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes, I did a project in school in BBC BASIC. It was very good.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: And then I started offering off my services to other people in the class. That was my first consulting gig in school, helping people program their BBC BASIC programs.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Garth Gilmour: But you remember the 30th anniversary of the BBC Micro? They did it on to the BBC News. The number of people who rang in to say, "We're still doing ours," or, "We still do our monthly accounts on the BBC Micro." "What?"

Eamonn Boyle: That was our way to get into programming, but nowadays there's so much out there. That's where I think I have nostalgia and I wouldn't change anything. But nowadays, things, I think, are better. You have colons online so you can just go on. You have in-browser interpreters, partially-written programs, you fill in the gaps.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: If anyone has a passion for this industry, they can get into it. You know, there's no...

Preben Thorö: But I still have a feeling that back then you were closer to how...you were closer to the machine room.

Eamonn Boyle: For sure, yes.

Preben Thorö: And it helps me today.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Preben Thorö: But I know if you need it if you start today.

Eamonn Boyle: Well, I think it gives you a better understanding of what's happening. For example, when you're working with managed languages, and some languages are closer to the metal than others. In the latest versions, C#, 8 and 9, you can do stackallocs. You can allocate small arrays on the stack frame, so you don't have to do garbage collection and you're getting references to pointers. You can also make copies of arrays, but they're not copies, they're just references into the structures. All the things that I remember doing when I worked with pointers, are all applicable today.

Preben Thorö: But do you know how that works if you don't have the basic understanding of the memory and memory map?

Eamonn Boyle: I think you can learn it, but most people don't have to learn it. 

Preben Thorö: If you want to be efficient, dealing with pointers and allocating on the stack and in the heap, I would claim you need to know what it is.

Eamonn Boyle: You do, and I think in those professions, where you're doing games or you're doing high-performance,  you'll have to do it because that's part of your job. You have to understand that contiguous memory is better, skipping garbage collections, allocating upfront or you're working on hardware with limited resources, you just have to know it. But in our industry, if we look at the percentage of jobs where that is what people are doing, it's a tiny, tiny fraction.

Preben Thorö: That's true.

Eamonn Boyle: The noise that we hear or the talks that we hear or the work that we hear people are doing is not this kind of thing. Most people are building REST APIs and front ends or simple mobile apps. That's not what people need it for and that is most of the jobs that are out there, but it's still super fun.

Garth Gilmour: It does annoy me as an educator though, that computer science is what you do at university, and then it stops. There's any number of courses that you can do in the industry, but there are new languages, new frameworks, agile projects and techniques and more. You're going to find it is very hard to book a course in the algorithms area, or the mathematics of computer science. So, academics don't venture into the industry and people from the industry don't venture into academia. It seems like there's a big wall there that's very hard to cross, which is a shame.

Eamonn Boyle: But it's interesting though, because we were down in the bookstore and the Gang of Four book is still there!

Preben Thorö: I saw they were piling it up, and I saw that this morning and I thought, "Are you still selling this?"

Eamonn Boyle: Yes!

Garth Gilmour: If there was ever a book that needed to be rewritten, it's that book. It's the way all the examples start with, "Let's say you were writing a word processor." "No, no, no. Let's not." 

Eamonn Boyle: But it's got the little tassels so you can mark your page, I love it! It's like a Bible, but there are also algorithm books and it's still out there and people still love these kinds of books, but it's a small percentage of our industry.

We were talking earlier and our industry is everywhere. It runs everything, every company is an IT company. Maybe the things that we learn growing up, when it was more niche, are still niche today because the demand is still, a small percentage of what the world needs right now. What the world needs right now is lots of websites, mobile apps, REST services and also putting these things together. But it's not the same, I still prefer the fun of other things.

Garth Gilmour: It does annoy me though when people use it as an excuse. "Well, why didn't somebody teach you this at college?," and you go, "Well, we're a very varied industry." You don't get that in other kinds of architecture. I’m sure an architect doesn't get employed to build a skyscraper and says, "Oh, I've only ever done bridges in the past, sorry." Maybe it's time we segmented the industry better and split it up into different subgroups in some way?

Preben Thorö: Maybe, and that's why I like the ideas of quantum computing because that forces me to go back to the basics. Understand what a gate is and what you can do with it.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Preben Thorö: Yes, and I think that's a wonderful chance to reboot!

Eamonn Boyle: To get on the ground floor!

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: It is fascinating, and every time that I've looked at it, it has completely fried my brain.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: Again, maybe I'm too old now. I have too much, all of my experience is weighing me down.

Garth Gilmour: Oh yes.

Eamonn Boyle: We need someone who's like an empty vase who will just drink that up, you know!

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: Or a sponge!

Garth Gilmour: What we need to do is get rid of you and hire a really smart 16-year-old person, is what we're saying?

Eamonn Boyle: Yes, well maybe! That's it, it will be my son who will be tinkering late at night on some free quantum computer, and he will then get those fundamentals.

Preben Thorö: Yes, but imagine if you could move back to 1948. Look at what was a computer back then!

Eamonn Boyle: Yes, yes.

Preben Thorö: It would be just the same, it would completely fry your brain, as you just put it.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Preben Thorö: Because you didn't have a programming language, you programmed these by combining NAND gates with wires.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Preben Thorö: It's completely the same.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: That's the thing, so I am now biased and skewed by my experiences. So if I had to go back and do that, I would be like, "Ugh, I am so unproductive." and "I don't have IntelliJ autocomplete for these cases."

Preben Thorö: I don't think they had that back then.

Eamonn Boyle: I don't think so either and I would feel like, "Oh, this is too hard”. 

Preben Thorö: Yes, but that's the difference. Because back then, those that could program the thing, it was the man who built it, the engineer that built it.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Preben Thorö: He was the only one.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Preben Thorö: The formal software education, we didn't have them until the '70s.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: That's the thing. Now the next generation won't have to do the things that we did necessarily, but they'll still need to be productive and they'll still be doing hard problems, but they'll just work with different problems. 

They won't be held back by the fact that they didn't do what we did, in the same way, we weren't held back because we didn't design circuits and work with gates directly.

Garth Gilmour: Well, we see this right now. We train a lot of graduates and we see some people who've done a pure computer science degree and they've done  three or four years of Haskell as their main language. They solve everything in a purely functional way and we're trying to show them a for loop and they're like, "What is this mad crazy voodoo?" "Take this away from me, old man," 

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Philosophy and computer science

Garth Gilmour: And you're also going to have people who went straight out of college and into a job at AWS or similar. You give them a problem and they'll see it as a cloud-native solution, as a bunch of things deployed out there on the servers. That's the perspective that you're brought up with and that affects how they view a particular problem.

Preben Thorö: Yes, and this is where the circle comes complete now. Because you mentioned that you were a philosopher.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Preben Thorö: That was in the very early days, so this is pure philosophy now.

Garth Gilmour: Oh yes.

Preben Thorö: Because that is actually how society works, that we accumulate knowledge so we don't have to teach each and every generation.

Eamonn Boyle: From zero.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: Stand on the shoulders of giants.

Preben Thorö: Yes, exactly.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Preben Thorö: Giants like us.

Garth Gilmour: Although I'm always fond of the saying that you spend the first 20 years of your life accepting everything you're told. Yes? You spend the second 20 years of your life realizing everything you were told is wrong! And then you spend the third 20 years of your life working out what you're going to teach the next generation that they will come to despise you for. So, that's what we do.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: I think I've just kind of accepted this, and then I'm just trying to steer my career and try to do the things that I enjoy. Because you've just got to pick the things that you enjoy and go after them. And even if that is not the most popular framework or the most popular technology, just whatever you find fun, because life is short.

Garth Gilmour: Yes, absolutely.

Preben Thorö: That displays our position in this world, the privileges that we have. We are inventing our problems by saying, "I don't like that program and language”, "I prefer that over that." Imagine what other people have to struggle with everyday.

Eamonn Boyle: Yes. We should be super, super grateful.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: Because in this profession it’s doing incredibly well, but it's always really enjoyable and it is incredibly sought after right now.

Preben Thorö: We're spoiled kids.

Eamonn Boyle: We are, but I think that's okay as long as you don't get complacent and form a bad attitude over it. I think as long as you're grateful and sort of realize it and remember it every day, I think then it’s fine.

Garth Gilmour: I think you also have to acknowledge how much stress there is in the IT industry, especially in the current environment. A lot of the companies that we work with, had the privilege that they could keep going. But on the other hand, the pandemic was happening around them and they were continuing doing their day-to-day, nine-to-five job remotely, trying to pair-program online and so on. And that imposed all kinds of stresses on them.

Preben Thorö: Yes, but maybe we need that, maybe we need someone to shake us from time to time.

Garth Gilmour: Yes, yes.

Preben Thorö: Yes, ike a good old-fashioned pandemic, yes.

Garth Gilmour: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: Where were you in March 2019 and 2020?

Garth Gilmour: But I think if you go far enough in IT, everybody ultimately becomes a philosopher. If you look at the keynote, one of the best keynotes I have ever seen at a conference was the one we had yesterday. It was stunning, but it was a work of philosophy.

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Preben Thorö: Yes, wasn't it just?

Garth Gilmour: And if you look at what Kevlin Henney likes to talk about and what Dan North likes to talk about, there's an awful lot of philosophy in there as well. So I think if you stay in any industry long enough, you get more and more obsessed with distilling everything down to the finest, basic, straightforward, primitive, atomic principles that you can. And of course refining things and trying to pass something on and trying to raise the level of consciousness and understanding and so on. Eventually, you will end up doing something that counts as philosophy.

Preben Thorö: Yes, yes.

Garth Gilmour: I just got there early, you guys are all late, you're all late to the party!

Preben Thorö: You've always been ahead of us.

Garth Gilmour: Yeah. Exactly, exactly. Yeah. If only I could code, yes.

Preben Thorö: It will come, it will come, eventually. You just need a good teacher.

Garth Gilmour: Yes, exactly. I need to find somebody to teach me to code.

Preben Thorö: Yes.

Eamonn Boyle: That was good fun.

Preben Thorö: Yes,wasn't it?

Garth Gilmour: Yes, brilliant. Thank you so much.

Eamonn Boyle: Cool.

Preben Thorö: Well, thank you.

About the interviewers

Eamonn Boyle has over 15 years working as a developer, architect and team lead. For the last 2.5 years he’s been working as a full-time trainer and coach, authoring and delivering courses on a range of topics to a broad range of delegates. These include paradigms and technologies   from core language skills, frameworks to tools and processes. Experienced developer, architect and team lead.

He has also spoken at a number of events and meetups including .NET Developer Guild, BASH and GDG Dublin and aided in the delivery of workshops at KotlinConf and RebelCon.

Garth Gilmour gave up full time development back in 1999 to teach and mentor full time. Since then he's delivered well over a thousand courses and workshops to all kinds of programmers from all kinds of backgrounds. Along with Eamonn, he dives into the newest trends you need to know. He started teaching C++ to C coders, then Java to C++ coders, then C# to Java coders and now teaches everything to everybody, but specializes in Kotlin.

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What We Left Behind - 10 Valuable Skills From The 1990s • Garth Gilmour & Eamonn Boyle • GOTO 2020