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From the bad old days of J2EE to the bright idea that was Spring simplicity, Carlus Henry's career in software development has put him front-and-center for some of Java's major evolutionary shifts. In this Full Java life interview with Matt Heusser, Carlus talks about how and why he's changed his approach to Java development, then reveals the variety of tools that help him build quality software today.
Carlus Henry is a programmer's programmer. My reasoning for this claim will be revealed in the following interview -- the second one in JavaWorld's Full Java life career interviews series.
Like many programmers today, Carlus started with coding BASIC on his Commodore 64, in 1989, at the age of 12. Yes, yes, that's a story we've all heard before. But after graduating from Aquinas College in 2000, with a degree in Computer Information Systems, he went to work for Americorps in Selma, Alabama. A year later he got his first job slinging code for Gordon Food Service, one of the midwest's largest wholesale food distributors.
Since then, Carlus has emerged as a leader in various corners of the worldwide Java community. He has helped lead his local Java User's Group, organized a Barcamp or two, and presented at local and regional software conferences on topics in Java programming. In 2006 he became an independent consultant. Today he still runs that consulting business while also teaching computer science (Foundations of Operating Systems) as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Aquinas College.
You can probably guess what programming language he teaches.
I mentioned that Carlus is ambitious, but note what that doesn't mean:
In short, Carlus has both had some success and worked hard to keep things interesting. In the small, 250,000-person job market that is Grand Rapids Michigan, he has built a good enough reputation to stay happily employed, never having to travel for gigs.
Let's find out what he has to say.
Matt Heusser: Tell us about your first exposure to Java. What other languages were you looking at? Why choose Java?
Carlus Henry: My first exposure to Java was actually at my first position at Gordon Food Service in 2000. I was hired as an entry-level programmer and immediately sent off to Java, UML, and Unix training. After the three-week training course I was more than qualified to write some really horrible code. (And yes, it was horrible; I had a chance to look at some of it recently and it was pretty bad.) At the beginning of my career, I was not exploring other languages. This was during the time when Java reigned supreme as far as the corporate market was concerned.