We pay homage to this remarkable machine by asking what inspired members of TRL Software development team to become developers
The iconic Commodore 64 (or C64) personal computer somehow turns 40 this August. This remarkable machine, which was the first experience of working on a computer for many, sold an estimated 17 million units before production finished in April 1984. The Commodore 64 was the inspiration for many people across the world to become software developers, in homage of the C64’s 40th Birthday, we asked the Software Developers of TRL Software what is the computer that inspired them to have a career in designing and coding software, a career that has seen them create our world leading traffic management products that power over 400 cities globally; keeping roads flowing, making them safer, reducing congestion and helping to deliver on clean air targets:
“My first real experience of programming came with ADA on PC 386 which I was using for solving complex maths problems. I was into PC’s and would often build my own rigs from old, donated parts so that is what got me into computers and programming. Used ADA/Assembler when working on the Eurofighter typhoon fighter jet and the Apache gunship. At this time, I was also using FORTRAN and C. I then learnt C++ so I could use it on final year university project and then used it during my PhD. Introduced myself to .NET when it was released in the early 2000’s and made use of it on various projects at TRL”.
“I knew I wanted to be a software engineer when home computing came home back in the 1980’s. Sinclair made it very affordable with the ZX81 and Spectrum and RAM pack wobble became a thing! From there I progressed to ATARI and then onto an IBM XT machine. I remember paying over £800 for 16MB of RAM! Language wise; BASIC, assembly language, C, C++ and my current core language C#. I was lucky enough to be at the Microsoft PDC in Orlando when C# was announced in 2000. I’ve worked in a variety of sectors including Surveying, Label Printing, Legal and now Intelligent Signal Control at TRL”.
“My first experience of programming was on a BBC Micro at school, essentially just plotting points and drawing different coloured lines to make pictures, following that my parents wanted me to have an “educational” computer, so rather than Atari, Amiga or Commodore I had an Acorn Archimedes, technically way ahead of its time but not great for gaming. I did some BASIC programming on the Archimedes but there was not anything exciting you could do other than print messages out, I think my programming really took off on the Windows PC with VisualBasic and Borland C++ OWL as you could create more visual applications that looked like Microsoft Word etc”.
Head of Software Development
“I have had an affinity with technology ever since I was a child, however, due to circumstances surrounding my education at the time, I was unable to pursue my dream career. I settled down in transport and logistics where I progressed to a senior level, but I found after many years it did not give the satisfaction and vocational reward I was craving. At the age of 33 I enrolled onto a Level 3 BTEC National Extended Diploma in Computing which covered various aspects of IT such as databases, web development, software development, networking, and the frameworks used to support them. During my training we focused on Python as it was easily accessible and relatively user friendly when compared to other languages such as C# or Java. I personally found Python very forgiving when learning its syntax and various libraries available to suit different tasks. The challenging part for me was learning how to structure a program effectively and develop a sense of understanding for ‘computational thinking’”.
“My first hands on with computing was with the BBC Micro, later moving to Commodore 64, Atari and Macintosh. It was not until much later that I developed a love for robotics and began following Mark Tildens BEAM (biology, electronics, aesthetics, and mechanics) robotics; simple robotics using analogue circuitry. From here I developed a keen interest in how things work which eventually became getting things to work how I want them to or do the things I want. It went from there 😊”.
“I got into IT originally because of my love for PCs back when windows 98 was a thing. Prior to that I loved games because of the Gameboy and Sega mega drive 2, it’s then that the seed for development and how things are made was planted. However, to track back it was Windows 98 that set me off on the route to IT / networking and it’s from there that when an opportunity arrived to move into software development I took it given I always wanted to know how games and software were built”.
“So my first real computing experience was as a kid when I managed to inherit an Amstrad CPC464 with the game Dizzy! Hours of fun! In terms of programming my first real memory goes back to my college days when I developed a Duck shoot game in Pascal, which was just basically a game of finding a bitwise AND, and ported that onto an embedded system that had an 8 bit light switch input/output to show the ducks moving in a line or switching a light of when one gets shot.”
Software Engineering Manager
If this has inspired you to consider a career at TRL, visit our careers page to see the latest vacancies