My uncle was a programmer. My whole extended family lived very close together, so I saw him almost every weekend. He would tell me tall tales about the war between corporations and open source. I started hating all things Microsoft and advocating for Linux. For my 12th birthday, he gave me a computer he had recently fixed. Of course, it had Ubuntu Linux.

That's when he started teaching me the basics: Bash, Lisp, and C. I know some of you are tired of the cliche "I started coding at 12 and built my first OS at 16," but of course that's not reality. I really just wrote simple math formulas like chicarronera^[1] for my homework, a super simple text-input videogame, and a button-filled GUI. That's nothing compared to what I do now, so I won't dare put that into my resume. But it did give me an advantage over my peers, and by the time I had to self-learn web development for my job, my uncle had already given me all of these tools.

[1] Spanish slang for the quadratic equation. Literally means "street vendor who sells chicharron". The formula is taught so fierce in school that even street vendors must know it.

  • 15
    What does it matter that people are tired of the "I started at 12" stuff?

    Tired is just another word for "I feel bad because Im not special" which is dumb anyway, cause the ones who started early are not special either (as proven by the amount of people who did start early)

    We just loved computers! Not your nor my fault and I refuse to be ostracized for just enjoying playing with computers from an early age on a programming social network :)

    As for your story, your uncle was amazing!
  • 2
    Absolute respect for your uncle and you, I thinker with computer since I was in primary school but I started to program just in high school when I had the chance to enroll in a basic ITC course, I wouldn’t be able to learn C and Bash at 12, they’re quite tough so it’s very admirable what you did 😊
Add Comment