When I was 7, I got my hands on an Amstrad CPC-464. This was my first exposure to code, copying examples out of the handbook. Shortly after that my school got their first IT suite, with thirty machines running Windows 98. I remember lunchtimes spent playing ZipZaps, a game that shamelessly capitalised on the first Fast and Furious films. I learned how to create macros in Office, and after getting a machine at home with Windows 3.1 I also learned some basic DOS. When I was 12 we got our first XP machine, which I spent hours on with MSN messenger and mucking around with scripts. That machine eventually succumbed to my brother repeatedly powering it on/off, something I still kind of hold against my mother to this day.

After going into care, I bought an old XP laptop from a friend, a machine that I used extensively. I mined my first bitcoin on that machine, bitcoin that could have made me a rich man today if I had only taken backups seriously.

My next machine came with Vista, which was upgraded to 7 shortly afterwards. This is when I got a bit more seriously into code, contributing to a game written in C++ (Armagetron Advanced, if you're interested). I also learned a great deal about automation using this machine, and when I got my second desktop machine at 18 (which at the time was still extremely out of date), I built my first working web server with IIS. I've been through four desktops since then, one of which just about survived a house fire.

Now I run a company of my own, doing development work at a lower cost for social enterprises, and developing a SaaS platform that will eventually make me a living all on its own. This year I hope to finally stop having to worry about debt, income, where I'm getting my next meal from and when I can finally be self sufficient, almost seven years since the care system spit me out after conveniently forgetting to tell me I could have stayed there until after Uni.

I am proud, though, of coming so far with no college or university degree. I'm by no means an expert, but I'd call myself proficient enough in a couple of languages to be capable of making a career of it.

Add Comment