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So, I grew up on the US/Mexican border, in a city where saying there's no opportunity is like saying the Titanic suffered a small leak on its maiden voyage. There were two kinds of people in said town: Mexicans trying to find something less shit than juarez and white trash reveling in their own failure. I came from the latter, for whatever that's worth.
I graduated high school when I was almost 16 years old. Parents couldn't really afford to support three kids and pay the rent on the latest in a long line of shit holes we migrated in and out of. If being a serial eviction artist is a thing, my family were savants.
I applied to college and got accepted only to be told by my father that he didn't see the need. Turns out the only reason he'd helped me graduate early was so I could start working and help pay his bills. I said okay, turned around and tossed a bag and my shitty af spare parts computer into the back of the junkyard Vega I generously referred to as a car and moved cross country. Car died on arrival, so I was basically committed.
Pulled shifts at two part times and what kids today call a side hustle to pay for school, couch surfed most of the time. Sleep deprivation was the only constant.
Over the first 4 months I'd tried leveraging some certs and previous experience I'd obtained in high school to get employment, but wasn't having much luck in the bay area. And then I lost my job. The book store having burned down on the same weekend the owner was conveniently looking to buy property in Vegas.
Depression sets in, that wonderful soul crushing variety that comes with what little safety net you had evaporating.
At a certain point, I was basically living out of the campus computer lab, TA friend of mine nice enough to accidentally lock me in on the reg. Got really into online gaming as a means of dealing with my depression. One night, I dropped some code on a UO shard I'd been playing around on. Host was local, saw the code and offered me a job at his firm that paid chump change, but was three times what all my other work did combined and left time for school. Ground there for a few years until I got a position with work study at LBL that conflicted too much for it to remain mutually beneficial. Amicable parting of the ways.
Fucking poverty is what convinced me to code for a living. It's a solid guarantee of never going back to it. And to anyone who preaches the virtues of it and skipping opportunity on grounds of the moral high ground, well, you know.18
I played skyrim, and i thought yes.. i want to make that...
and now i am a very successful CTO and cofounder of a video game startup thats blooming and already made 7 figure profits
no, no im not, i ended up making websites for very little money...9
So rewind back about 24 years. I was a little kid who thought computers were the coolest thing evar, and our family had just gotten our first machine (a monstrous tower from a company named CyberMax, running Win 3.11 on DOS 6, 33MHz and a 250MB hard drive).
My aunt (big into coding at the time) came by with a box full of disks and loaded the machine up with all kinds of games and fun stuff. One of the thing she installed was Hoyle Classic Card Games (https://playclassic.games/games/...)
My parents fell in love with this and played it for hours. The problem was, the process to get it started, while not complicated, was still a pain in the ass. You had to either hammer F6 to get the startup menu and type a bunch of commands to switch to the directory and start the game, or let it boot into windows, then leave windows for DOS and do the same thing.
On a lark, when we had gotten the machine, mom had also bought this little dos programming handbook. I can't find it nowadays, but it went into very exhaustive detail on the cool things you could do with batch files. I was a voracious reader, especially on anything to do with computers, and one of the things the book covered was how to write startup menus using the CHOICE command! Little me figured out that you could write this into the AUTOEXEC.bat, and have a menu come up on every start!
It took me a couple days of piddling around (again, I was like 6 or 7, and this was the first "program" I'd ever written), but I eventually got it to the point where you'd turn the computer on, and the first thing it would do is ask if you wanted to go into windows, or if you wanted to play cards. I was proud as hell when this was set up and working!
I didn't do much writing of programs since then (I was more interested in games at the time), but yeaaaarrrs later, I encountered Why's Poignant Guide to Ruby, fell in love, and I've been hacking code ever since2
I was the only one in the entire class to implement check for both cases for some program in C++
Talk is cheap, here's the code:
if (ch == 'y' || ch == 'Y' )
I was praised in entire class,
I was very smol.
That encouragement pushed me to believe I can code.7
Basically: Shoutout to my dad!
My dad's not an engineer or anything. But he likes building PCs and has a bunch of tech at home.
Well, thanks to him, I had a PC very early on, and of course, I did the typical skiddie stuff it, aka "fake batch virus haha funny" and playing Minecraft.
Well, at some point, after tinkering with mods to enhance the quality of gameplay, I found the ultimate mod: Macro / Keybind Mod.
This mod allows you to bind stuff to keybinds, such as commands or chat messages, or... Macros.
This mod has a custom macro language. (Hint: This is where the fun begins)
Another mod I used was AutoSwitch. However, that mod required a "core mod" (aka library installed in a dumb way). I thought, "why do I install 2 mods to get 1 thing? dumb", and made an ugly macro with lots of nested if-elses, which perfectly emulated AutoSwitch behavior for the Minecraft version I was on.
Yup, I basically got rid of 2 jar files in my mods folder by making my own ugly macro.
The fact that I recreated something in an obscure language, having not even coded any program before, made me grow interest into actual programming languages.3
Well, I was Always into Computers and Games and stuff and at some point, I started wondering: "why does Computer Go brrr when I Hit this Button?".
It was WinAPI C++ and I was amazed by the tons of work the programmers must have put into all this.
13 year old me was Like: "I can make a Game, cant be too hard."
It was hard.
Turns out I grabbed a Unity Version and tried Things, followed a tutorial and Made a funny jet Fighter Game (which I sadly lost).
Then an article got me into checking out Linux based systems and pentesting.
*Promptly Burns persistent Kali Live to USB Stick"
"Wow zhis koohl".
Had Lots of fun with Metasploit.
More years pass, we annoy our teacher so long until he opens up an arduino course at school.
We built weather stations with an ESP32 and C++ via Arduino Software, literally build 3 quadrocopter drones with remote Control and RGB lighting.
Then, Cherry on the top of everything, we win the drone flying Contest everyone gets some nice stuff.
A couple weeks later my class teacher requests me and two of my friends to come along on one of their annual teacher meetings where there are a bunch of teachers from other schools and where they discuss new technology and stuff.
We are allowed to present 3D printing, some of our past programming and some of the tech we've built.
Teachers were amazed, I had huge amounts of fun answering their questions and explaining stuff to them.
Finally done with Realschulabschluss (Middle-grade-graduation) and High school Starts.
It's great, we finally have actual CS lessons, we lesen Java now.
It's fuckton of fun and I ace all of it.
Probably the best grades I ever had in any class.
Then, in my free time, I started writing some simple programs, firstvI extended our crappy Greenfoot Marsrover Project and gave it procedural Landscape Generation (sort of), added a Power system, reactors, Iron and uranium or, refineries, all kinds of cool stuff.
After teaching myself more Java, I start making some actual projects such as "Ranchu's bag of useful and not so useful stuff", namely my OnyxLib library on my GitHub.
More time passes, more Projects are finished, I get addicted to coding, literally.
My days were literally Eat, Code, sleep, repeat.
After breaking that unhealthy cycle I fixed it with Long Breaks and Others activities in between.
In conclusion I Always wanted to know what goes on beneath the beautiful front end of the computer, found out, and it was the most amazing thing ever.
I always had constant fun while coding (except for when you don't have fun) and really enjoyed it at most times.
I Just really love it.
About a year back now I noticed that I was really quite good at what I was doing and I wanted to continue learning and using my programming.
That's when I knew that shit was made for me.
...fuck that's a long read.5
10 PRINT "HELLO"
20 GOTO 10
It was the late 80's or early 90's, I was around 10 years old, and my jaw dropped when I typed this on the Atari 800XL my parents had just given to me.
Hooked ever since :)4
TL;DR; windows XP + bat scripts + fascination about being able to make things yourself.
I was born and raised in a village. And the thing about living in a village is that you are free :) Among all the other freedoms you are also free to build your own solutions to various domestic problems, i.e. to build stuff. This is one of the things that fascinates me about living outside the city.
When I finally was old enough (and had the means to, i.e. a computer) to understand that programming is something that allows you to build your own solutions to computer problems, it got to me.
With win 3.1 I was still too fresh and too young. With win 95 I was more interested in playing with neighbours outdoors. With win 98 I was a bit too busy at school. But with win XP the time had come. I started writing automation solutions for windows administration using .bat scripts (.vbs was and still is somewhat repelling to me). I no longer needed to browse Russian forums and torrent sites to find a solution to a problem I had! That was amazing!!! [esp. when my Russian was very weak].
That was the time when I built my first sort-of-malware - a bat script downloading and installing Radmin server, uploading computer's IP and admin credentials to my FTP.
I loved it!
However, I'd stumbled upon may obstacles when writing with batch. I googled a lot and most of the solutions I found were in bash (something related to Linux, which was a spooky mystery to me back then). Eventually, I got my courage together and installed ubuntu. Boy was I sorry... Nothing was working. I was unable to even boot the thing! Not to mention the GUI...
Years later I tried again with ubuntu [7.10 I think.. or 7.04] on my Pavilion. Took me a looooot of attempts but I got there. I could finally boot it. A couple of weeks later I managed to even start the GUI! I could finally learn bash and enjoy the spectacular Compiz effects (that cube was amazing).
I got into bash and Linux for the next several years. And then I thought to myself - wait, I'm writing scripts that automate other programs. Wouldn't it be cool I I could write my own programs that did exactly what I wanted and did not need automation? It definitely would! I could write a program that would make sound work (meaning no more ALSA/PA headaches!), make graphics work on my hardware, make my USB audio card to be set to primary once connected and all the other amazing things! No more automation -- just a single program or all of that!
little did the naive me knew :)
I started with python. I didn't like that syntax from the beginning :/ those indentations...
Then I tried java. Bucky (thenewboston), who likes tuna sandwiches, on my phone all the free time I had. I didn't learn anything :/ Even tried some java 101 e-book. Nothing helped until I decided to write some simple project (nothing fancy - just some calculations for a friend who was studying architecture).
I loved it! It sounds weird, but I found Swing amazing too. With that layout manager where you have to manually position all the components :)
and then things happened and I quit my med studies and switched to programming. Passed my school exams I was missing to enter the IT college and started inhaling every bit of info about IT I could get my hands on (incl outside the college ofc).
A few more stepping stones, a few more irrelevant jobs to pay my bills in the city, and I got to where I am now.6
I grew up without having access to PC or internet until i was like 7-8. (This may seems weird to kids today that have internet and PC or phone basically when they can slightly think)
So when i started using PC i started playing games.
ofc they were basic and all.
But as always i started thinking. They were limited. Very limited. Like cant we do better ?
So i started looking at how games were made.
And guess what ?
I found out that it was indeed possible to create a basic game.
I knew this is what i wanted to do in life.
I mean sure i learnt C as my first language cause of 1 book and learnt C book from another book but oh well.
I mean sure i dont want to create games but now 11 years later i still work (Hobby or non paid work. I blame fucking coro*a.) in C basically every single day.6
I'm a 3rd generation developer in my family, my grandfather did it, my father did it, and my grandson will do it.10
I don't know if programming it's really for me.
I started programming because I needed a way to escape from my life. When I started I was in a really bad situation, no friends, bad grades and other shitty things. Programming helped me to regain self esteem and made me happy.
I got a degree in music performance. But at the end of it, I decided that I enjoyed the finer things in life, like having a house and, you know, food.
So I struggled through some entry level jobs until folks noticed I had potential, and a kindly manager paired me with our database developer. The rest is history!1
When I was 8 I discovered RPG Maker 2000 by chance... I started making little games and basically never stopped.
Fast forward a few years, I wanted to know how to do the 'real' stuff SO BAD. So I chose a CS-oriented high school, which filled in some gaps in my otherwise self-taught programming skills.
Discovering Ogre3D was the final nail in the coffin.3
Didn't know what to do after school. Out of ideas I just randomly started bioinformatics.
Turned out to be one of the best decisions I made.
Well, throughout my life I've never really thought about programming. Then one day during some downtime on a backpacking trip with a friend, while I had nothing to do my friend sat there with his computer with the screen all dark, filled with funny colourful text in lines of different length, with some lines even starting more towards the middle of the page than to the left, almost following a vertical wave pattern. He said he was writing a program to control his home remotly as well as working as a security feature that could unlock his home automatically when he got home. I was amazed by the colorful text as well as the fact that he could just create this crazy program out of nothing.
Half a year later I attended my first lecture at the computer science programme. My first program was a command line tool used for baking bread. It asked you how much flour you'd use and how many eggs, then it'd tell you wether or not you'd got the correct ratio. I was blown away by the intuitive nature of programming. I could imagine the control flow as a tree or flow chart in my head. I mean the whole program was only a couple of user inputs followed by an if-statement and a print-statement, but for me it was awe inspiring. I knew then that I'd probably chosen the right path in education.
When I was 12 I created my own LEGO manuals and monopoly boardgame variants.
When I was 14 and into gaming I had fun playing with a Q3 level editor for Wolfenstein (GtkRadiant), and drew boardgame maps.
When I was 16 I translated the game battledawn.com to French for in-game currency in return.
When I was 18 I fiddled with texture packs for Minecraft and got interested in Total War mods.
When I was 20 I met a student who studied webdev & design. I was so excited about basic HTML, CSS and later JS and PHP, that I read and learnt some every evening (and even failed an exam because I was learning PHP until 5AM)
I always wanted to use my skills to create something of use to others. Open-source is the perfect avenue for that and is also what enabled me to get here in the first place. And though I m've been professionally employed as dev since 2015, only the last 2 yrs I finally consider myself skilled enough to give back something of quality :)2
How I knew this was for me.... I didn't.
It kind of just happened in the natural order of things.
I was once a wii young lad who had a dream, and that dream became a smashing pile of being broke, jobless and unemployable, not a great way to start off that early life but hey, it was what it was.
So I looked at my computer one day, lousy dusty Pentium 4 with a massive 80GB HDD, in the corner, and went... fuck it, this thing is going to make me money.
So from there I picked up my old high school book on VB6 and on with it I went, forcing my self to make that calculator I couldn't do in school and a few other things, from there I got into a course for webDev, not uni, and after being dropped from that course ... that's a story for another time, I basically said fuck the system and my journey into webDev took on a life of its own.
Starting with frontend (back when layouts where tables and css was font colours) and IE5 was still a thing, and progressing into JS for a fucktonne of "onClick" events, then backend... I went down the .PHP3, PHP4 hadn't been released yet, but at the time .ASP was a thing too although it was complicated as fuck.
For many years it was just 1 thing after another, picking up MySQL, screwing around with databases, setting up linux servers, gobbling up Python a couple years later and started automating different things, just building site after site, until one day I landed a professional gig - not just casual freelance stuff, and from there when you think you know a lot, what I thought I knew got blown out the window and imposter syndrome sunk in, but I kept pushing ahead.
That saying "you don't know what you don't know", it has meaning here, you don't know what you don't know... but the moment you know you don't know enough, you either crumble or you keep waterboarding yourself in knowledge to reduce the unknown.
And somewhere along the line I accepted this path.
It may have taken me a few years to get off my feet but I'm glad I took that first step.
I get really bored doing the same work again and again. I found that with programming/scripting I can automate boring stuff.
So now I spend twice the time doing a program to automate things. XD3
I started to learn programming to be liked by a girl and since then I periodically ask myself if this is really for me... And periodically, right as I start thinking it may not be for me, I find myself solving issues programming stuff, seeing parallelism between software development and anything and randomly toss out the classical: "you know, with and Arduino you could(...)" To people put of nowhere.
So yeah. Guess it's for me. I hate it but... Wait, I could automate my windows depending on the difference between internal and external temperature... Hmm... Later guys, got a project to deal with!18
It was around for a while but I didn’t realize it was it for a long time. I was fixing computers for cash and spending in on booze while in primary school. Making websites for cash and for fun while in high school. Some guys wanted to buy my databases at the time and sending me emails that my websites rocks. I didn’t cared cause I party a lot and I didn’t need money.
Sex drugs and rock and roll was my life not a fucking computer.
Since I never had problems with math I passed exams and got myself to university and dropped out cause of those 3 funny things above. Turned out to pass exams after second year when math and physics disappeared you need to study more then 1 day before exam and party was more important for me.
I failed tremendously. My girlfriend left me I was out of money I got back to my hometown with my laptop and I somehow between depression, drugs, alcohol and killing myself reminded I was getting money from websites and I can try to follow that movie.
At that time I didn’t read single book in english in my life. I know some basic english so I decided to try to read some actionscript2 pdf. Why actionscript ? I liked those simple games. Those were fun and there was nothing better. I was reading first book at least 10 times with vocabulary that took about a month until I remembered whole book and second book was faster like 1 week third was 1 day and from then thing moved a little faster. I discovered flex just before adobe acquired macromedia and started writing in it. Started answering to some questions on forum and build some portfolio website with fancy 3d animations and stuff and finally applied for 2 jobs.
They both were amazed by my website and one of them sent me some task to do and I did it overnight and sent them back. They wanted to hire me and I need to respond to them.
Second job they invited me for talking and asking about math, if I’m ok with 3d and stuff and they offered me job closer to my home town so I picked them. The code was amazing, 3d equations, quaternions, complicated stuff bit very well written by some company that dropped project before launch and my first task was add some small feature.
I remember first day in elevator with my former boss who told me to not to get scary and take it slowly I was trying to do my task as fast as I can worried I will be fired if I don’t do it and nobody else will hire me and I won’t manage to recover from second failure. It was even more fighting with myself that I will fail again then with this task lol.
I’ve done the feature third day and when they said it’s cool and I can commit my changes it appeared to me that It might be this shit that will get me out of trouble.
I was never again wrong about programming and so wrong about trouble but that’s a different story...
When I was 8, I was just casually using the computer I had, and then I suddenly started asking these questions in my head, “how does all of this work? How does the computer know when I press that key on the keyboard? How does it know I moved the mouse to the right?” And so on and so on. So I started searching for answers. Then I saw code examples and stuff and I told myself that I want to understand this and just started learning. Hooked ever since!!
Initially I wanted to be a sysadmin 6 years ago actually. And to this day I still am, to some extent. But since a while ago - I believe last year - that idea started to shift. I always got so enraged at software going tits up, further fueled by the fact that without programming skills I couldn't do anything about it but weep.
Last year in February I did my first part of the LPIC-1 exam, and this year also in February I did the second part. Failed the second part though so I'll have to go back for that. But in the exam results I found that my shell scripting skills are pretty much perfect. I got a big fat 100% on that part.
So that got me thinking. Is the shell a proper programming language, and could I use this to write my own software? And the answer turned out to be yes. Granted like every programming language "'it's\ definitely\ not\ perfect.'" But hey it does most of what I need and for automation it's absolutely great.
So that's what I do nowadays. Still a sysadmin, but I picked up a habit of writing out everything I would otherwise do manually into code. I love it!1
I was around 12. My mother just took a new position as Algorithmic and programming teacher (Mathematics before) for high school seniors. (Around 16-17 in Russia back in a day).
So sometimes, I waited for her after school, listening (just a bit) what she was teaching.
Then one day I was waiting while she was giving an exam of 2 hours to seniors (End of year exam). In 20 minutes, I doodled a thing on a piece of paper and showed my mother. I was correct on all questions and all flow diagrams (Was not called like this back in a day).
From this moment, I knew, programming and logic are for me.
At the end of high school (So I was 17), I received the collective message from most girls in my class saying : “ You felt in love with computers and ignored us”. They were right ☹, I realised it way later.3
I am from a third world country. Although I went to one of the better schools in my neighborhood, the education didnt work out very well for me (maybe because I wasn't the brightest kid in class). Nothing made much sense except math, but didnt do very well at that either since the number of equations I had to memorize increased every year and I hated memorizing. One day programming started to make sense and from then I got the best scores in the class for programming, somewhat decent scores in math and languages and barely made it for other subjects.
I just continued doing the only thing I was good at. I am really curious about physics, chemistry, biology and other subjects and I religiously watch youtube videos and read articles explaining related concepts. Maybe I would have followed a different career path if my science teachers made any sense. Or maybe I am too dumb for that.
Is programming for me? I am still not sure but I know this is something I like.2
TLDR: I didn't & still not sure if it is..
I love bug hunting & fixing & figuring out how stuff works, but many will argue this is not even real programming..
Long version how I ended up programming:
Back in highschool, I was deciding between english and mathematics & computer science.. I filled in the form for the latter. Got a change of hearts but I already gave the extra/backup empty form to schoolmate..
Figured it's for the better because it's a hell to get a job as an english teacher/prof anyways + I dislike comunications with people + documentation (if any) is in english etc..
At the end of first year, I didn't even apply for all the exams because you had to have both programming 1&2 to pass or even be eligible to take the year again.. I figured I'd fail them, so once I actually passed both (& actually not with bad grades), I was fucked.. had to retake the year, which means I lost time + still had to pay the rent etc.. decided to drop out and return home and do the IT engineer course instead to at least have some formal education to help me find a job. Finished that without problems, I 'specialised' in network administration.
I got a job straight out of school as a web developer.. the irony.. got some conflicts with the boss and was terminated (material for another rant).
Later I sought out admin jobs, but got declined because I was overqualified and had programming experince. FML, right?
Ended up sending out mandatory job applications for IT administration & programming to not lose the bonuses & got called up to a meeting in the company I work for since then.
No qualifications for .net & MS technologies, but they liked my CV so the ended up setting up the interview anyway. I didn't know half of the technologies and concepts by proper name, but they figured I understand enough of the content to give me a try. A few years later, I got the most fucked up project they have because of my love for new thigs and trying to understand everything. It's aaaalmost bearable now.. still needs a lot of work, but I'm happy where I am. Saddly, I'm still second guessing if I'm doing a proper job as a dev, but they seem to be very ok with my work. (:7
I saw Steve Ballmer’s sweaty DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS rant and that really spoke to me on a fundamental level.5
When it became clear I enjoyed it.
A job you enjoy in a field that pays well? I consider myself very lucky.
When I wrote a code snippet on an exam paper📄 during college🎓 days and the lecturer compiled ✔️ it without an error.3
I solved a error while developing a site in ReactJs, now the whole project has 68 errors all of a sudden :/7
I’m just lazy af, so I spend hours to let something else do the actual work.
That’s why grandpa created farming devices, that’s why I use software to my life easier.
It worked once, I liked it, I continued.1
A sudden click inside my head when I was at the uni trying to implement sudoku. I understood everything I was taught all three years prior, implemented everything I could think of and finished uni with an A for diploma
My math teacher.
Simple story: His way of teaching was like bible study - he dictates the mathematical rules, the students had to write it down _exactly_ as told.
(Yes. He even dictated spaces / newlines / ....).
Had him for many years....
Since I was the rotten apple in class (I was always very weak regarding math), he had joy in mobbing me specifically.
It was one of the reasons I never thought about programming at all - or to be more precise, I _feared_ programming since everyone told me it would require intense knowledge of math.
Well. Fast forward. I went to university despite my fear, just because I was too stubborn to prove my math teacher right.
He was one of the counseling teachers too - and he made _very_ clear that I would fail in _anything_ regarding mathematics job wise.
I failed university, yes.
I gave up simply because I was too bored to learn and replay stuff by heart you'll certainly never need to remember your whole life.
Math played a role, too. Since I lacked the whole mathematical background, I barely passed the tests (mostly by a point).
But thanks to a lot of friends I learned that mathematics is helpful for programming - but not a must.
After giving up university, I started an apprenticeship.
And while I dreaded the decision for a long time, I couldn't be more happy about it.3
i knew i was born to make videogames so i went to find out how they are made and i found they are made by programming, so i knew i need to learn programming.10
A combination of life literally pushing me in this direction and my own interest in everything that is smart or complex.
But, I hope it serves as a stepping stone for me to achieve better things than being "just a programmer/dev"
For me, programming is translating and transforming a human expectation of how a computer can help, into a code. I am no coder per say, but I can "tell" a computer what to do far more successfully then I can a fellow human.8
Was enthusiastic about dial up internet. When it logged me in it was like entering a new world. Then as I got older finding that you could publish your own site by using HTML. I had to try that and learned how to then make a server to handle users and the such. It was just one added interest at a time to make cool things happen. The CS courses helped me hate programming for awhile but I’m here today working for some big companies like Disney.
I played around with game scripts (in C-like syntax) and even wrote my own (well, halfway) before learning some Java at school. Had a bad internship and decided to waste a few years by studying engineering, where I failed everything but programming. Before getting kicked out I exmatriculated myself then I kinda came to the conclusion of "How about doing something that seems quite natural to me?".
Back in middle school I wrote the simple Hello World Java program out on a piece of paper in an attempt to figure out what all the syntax and keywords meant. I didn't get bored
What hurts you the most?
2. IDE with White Background
3. HTTPS://DUCKDUCKGO.COM (Caps Url)
4. Download failed at 99%
5. NULL Pointer Exception
Just a strong feel and will to pursue it! As the time passed by it became stronger.
Even in the challenges, when you find fun and happiness and satisfaction of after achieving it... that's what proves constantly.. as if....
I was always somewhere in the range of not athletic enough to be a jock and not smart enough to be a geek during high school so it left me in a fun little purgatory between social groups. Ever since I was a kid though I saw my cousin make flash games for fun and thats where my interest in programming started but I never really did anything with it.
It wasn’t until I broke a bone during a football game and couldn’t play or workout for 8 months that I started jumping head first into programming and IT WENT DEEP. After tearing through and intro to java book I started reading and watching courses about data structures and learning how to make mediocre apps and games. It was terrible as any beginner usually is but god was it fun.
Then college came around and I decided to major in computer science, got myself a nice starting job at a typical big tech company with an actually decent team to work with and I still have the same love for it all since I started with it.
It started as an ego/anger against a professor (just to prove a point) and latter turned out to be something i will happily do every single say of my life.9
I was always into computers, ever since I was a kid. Played a lot of videogames on Windows 98 and XP, and a lot of my earliest drawings were level ideas for those games. My first encounters with code were with game creation software like GameMaker, but I barely touched the code proper outside of editing a few variables from other people's code. After that I basically forgot all about it and spent most of my teen years being a shutin.
Skip ahead to my last year of high school without much idea on what to do. I was good at math when I wasn't being a lazy shit, so between that and what my parents expected of me, I was prepared to go to university for civil engineering. However, two things changed that decision, the first being a great IT professor, when me and a friend were so far ahead, he started assigning us some harder work, and suggested we study computer science at university. The second was a super jank and obscure open-source early 2000's game that somehow still has a thriving community and is actively being developed. I stumbled upon it by chance, and after playing for a while, I submitted a balance change on the GitHub repo. Even though it was just a single variable change, that time I got it. That time I saw how powerful programming could be and what could be done with it. I submitted PR after PR of new features, changes and bugfixes, by the time I left there I had a somewhat solid grasp of the fundamentals of programming, and decided to enrol in the computer science degree.
Enrolling was possibly the best decision I ever made (not america; debt isn't an issue), as well as giving me actual social skills, every course I took just clicked. The knowledge I already somewhat intuitively had a vague grasp on from videogames, general computer use and collaborating with russian coders who produced the jankiest shit that was still somehow functional was expanded upon and consolidated with a high-quality formal education. Four years later and I'm fresh out of uni, it was a long road between when the seed was first planted in my mind and now, but I've finally found out what I want to do with my life.
won't know for sure until i find a job though ffs
I discovered programming around the age of 12, when my parents bought their first computer:
A Pentium II, 233 MHz monster with Windoozle 95 and even 2 USB ports. Additionally we had an internet connection on crazy fast 56k. The machine was as slow as a snail on heroin, but I soon started to dig around in the file explorer and system control panel.
Searching the interwebs by what the obscure file endings meant, I found some mailing lists about quickbasic and one about C.
QuickBasic was pretty easy and it didnt take long to get some beep abuse script running and a basic text "game". Later on I got into HTML and PHP.
Being still somewhat of a child at that time, QuickBasic really opened my mind to imagine what else could be possible by using just a computer, your brain and lots of willpower.
It was the moment I realized, I wanted to really get into programming or electronics after school.
Hey baby, wanna go to my place and do some QuickBasic and chill? 😏💦1
My dad taught me basic algebra when I was a kid (I think 7-8). Then he taught me BASIC and within a month I decided I was going to be a game programmer when I grew up. Not quite where I ended up, but that's how the journey started.
I remember when I was at vocational school, my teacher sat us down and had use start web development with HTML, (HTML wasn’t my first programming experience but that’s a rant for another day) and after I printed Hello World and changed it’s color, I was even more hooked than ever. This is something that’s fun, and interesting and I don’t need to pay to do or be around specific things to be able to practice. I can do this at home or at school and I can make my own programs if I need them, automate mundane tasks, and learn so much more about technology than ever.
And the final thing that sealed the deal was I could do this and make money and not be stuck in a field I would be miserable in. Which was a very important factor for me.4
I didn't, I just loved to break windows as a kid, and I learned Scratch and Small Basic vis their pdfs. _I had no internet and lots of time as a child, OK?_4
I'm late to programming, took me some years of working for dumbasses in the building industry to realise that i was meant for it.
When I left high school I thought that technology would never be a career on my old and undeveloped hometown (still isn't but i never contemplated the fact of moving to other county back there)
Glad to finally realise it :) being able to be proud of your work and to build something meaningful is great.
Also, to be able to work from home and hang out with my dogs is the best :)4
No idea, it just makes me happy. I'm happy when I'm programming :)
Well I mean, most of the time. Every once in a while I just want to kill myself because Tim didn't do his work properly and now there's no fucking documentation for his stuff.
Ignoring those moments, I'm happy when programming :)
How I knew programming was for me?
In high school, the special education teacher who was assigned to teach the 'Computer' class. He taught us (maybe 5 of us in the class) Basic on Apple IIe and using various apps (word processing, database, spreadsheet). One day he brought in his personal Macintosh and showed how one could write code 'underneath' clicks to perform operations. Using Pascal, I popped up messages, made beeping sounds, etc. Blew my mind.
Seeing my and other's interest, he got the board to approve a 'Advanced Comp' class for the next semester.
First day, the room was packed.
Teacher: "Raise of hands, who thinks this class is 'Advanced Composition'?"
<most of the room raises their hands>
Teacher: "That's Mr. Early's class. This is Advanced Computers. You're welcome to stay, but we're going to be writing programs and learning other computer related topics"
Next day, the class was just me. I knew then I wanted to do this the rest of my life.
Thank you Mr. Hitt.3
I think my first encounter with a PC was when my cousins invited me to play a video game. I had never used a keyboard or mouse, I did not know how to turn a computer on or off.
For that reason my parents encouraged me to study basic computing, that helped me get a part-time job, and I realized that knowing how to use computer systems gave me a certain advantage over my other colleagues.
That led me to study engineering related to telecommunications, but I didn't know how to program and I didn't have the required level, obviously I failed the first course. But there was a teacher who supported me to study programming with the C language. I will always thank that teacher for helping me and seeing that I had programming skills, which helped me a lot to finish my degree.1
Damn lots of you knew this shit before turning of age.
I didn't code a single line until I went to college.
I tried to, but it was just too fucking complicated and I didn't understand a thing. Tried to grasp how to use some tools like Unity or an Adventure Maker of sorts and something called Flix for Flash games. Didn't understand shit.
I decided to study systems engineering due to a career aptitude test I took hoping somehow that way I could learn sthg.
First thing I was taught was bash.
When I realised I already knew enough to code a whole text adventure from scratch with such a simple language I felt really hyped.
Always loved text and graphic adventures.
Afterwards I was taught the Z80 assembly language and how CPU registers worked and it blew my fucking mind.
That was the first half-year.
Then I was taught C. And boy was it hard. Didn't get how memory was being handled until the very end.
I happened to be one of the few passing a stupidly complicated semifinal test with triple indirection pointers.
That felt goood.
Learning other languages afterwards was a piece of cake. C#, Java, X86 assembly, C++...
It was a hard door to open. Fucking heavy. But now nothing seems black magic anymore and boy isn't that something to be proud of! :D
I don't, I just started doing it out of spite. The first pc i ever had for myself was a windows vista hp laptop. It ran like absolute shit. Yes I had used many computers before that, but this was the first one i got for myself and i was honestly sad I could not get it with xp.
Because it ran like shit, I decided to investigate as to why, i wanted to understand the people that did the system before I was to blame and talk shit about them.
Down the rabbit hole. Thank you vista, had you not been shit on MY computer I would have never gotten here. Also my mom always wanted me to be an engineer so there's that.
It was game dev.
Just googled how to make games on my own, thats how it began. Yoyo games game maker, Oracle's greenfoot(this was some cool shit),stencyl then using some random game engines, pygame,lua etc. Had fun. Still having fun. Will try game dev again in future.2
Like age 8?
As a kid I really liked flash games and animations and wanted to get into it. I couldn't do flash, it looked too complicated but I found a little software by the name od KoolMoves that was just a simpler flash animation tool.
I did a bunch of shitty stick figure animations in it (hello to everyone from stick figure death theatre) but eventually I realized that I can make it do things (interactive menus, choose your story kinda things, move the player around, shoot...!)
I fell in love with AS1 and later AS2.0 and made bunch of demos and proof of concepts for systems and games. Most are lost to time and datarot by now)
Eventually I found out I can make the entire Windows machine do what I want using first Batch files and later Visual Basic script (made a skype bot!) At this point I was also really into graphics and logo/web design
Age 15 - 20 or so
Then it was pretty natural to move to actual Visual Basic, then C# and finally I to C++. And I had the C family in my heart forever. I managed to get a but into 3D graphics too and got a part-time in archviz
Even by this point I never believed I could be a programmer as a profession. I thought of it just as something I love, but have no chance getting into compared to some of the names out there. I half expected to be either doing graphics (cause I found it simple at the time) or some shitty random job in an office.
Finally I decided to go to uni and study software development, see if I can touch the future I always dreamed of! And... Well... I found out more than 80% of the people there never touch a language up until now and most people are just as retarded as I thought..
For a while I also worked as a game designer (still not being comfortable calling myself a programmer, so I chose a non programming position) but I ended up going into the code and improving and fixing game designer tools (it was unity and C#)
After seeing actual programmers at work in a company, and talking to a bunch of them I realized I already have everything I need to do this seriously and with that experience out of the way I breezed through uni, learned to love Linux and landed a proper job :)
I kinda hope my experience with long lasting self doubt will be useful for someone
When I was in high school I liked discrete maths. I always wondered which field would be best for me. There was an introductory programming class and I was hooked since then.
Operating systems were the next thing that interested me. Now I am too deep into writing drivers and kernel modules and it feels a bit monotonous. These days I am attracted to quantum hardware. I am trying to align myself to make a switch toward quantum systems engineering.
Wrote a perl script to spam group sms to my friends, in perl. Also - web scrapers.
Ugly AF stuff. never heard of strict, or warn when I did it.....
really fun times!
I was ten years old. At this point, despite being in my early 20's, I've officially been programming more than half of my life. From the first moment I knew that this was possible, that we, as software engineers, can do what we do... I've been quite literally obsessed with the idea.
I don't like to give other people credit for the events in my own life, but there is one thing that, more than anything else at the time that lead me down the path of computer science, directly lead me to where I'm at today. If you're at all interested in film and cinema (not to mention programming) then you've undoubtedly heard of The Social Network, directed by David Fincher. Amazing film, I'd recommend it to anyone based off of the film alone, but for me that movie holds a special place in my heart.
My mom took me to see it that movie in theaters when it came out, I would not stop bugging her to take me, there was just something about the founding of Facebook that... Sparked my young imagination. I swear to you that I didn't blink for the entire time I was in the theater watching it. It blew my mind, not only that you could do that kind of stuff with computers, but that you could actually make a lot of money working with computers as well... Ten year old me had different priorities in regards to programming 😂 Starting the moment I got home from the theater, I dedicated my life to learning everything I could about computers. Originally my goal was to, shock of all shocks, create a social networking site for me and my friends to use. I still like to brag about it to this day, but that project eventually became my groups final project in our computer class in Middle School. It was funny, middle school computer class, I had already been programming a few years by that point and was rather proficient in PHP. There were kids submitting literal spreadsheets in Excel as their final project, a few static HTML pages, that sorta jazz. My group and I submitted a full fledged twitter clone, with complete functionality. We got 100% on the project 😂😂
My reasons and interests have changed over the years. For example, I'm not particularly interested in creating a social media application these days, and I don't program because I think it'll make me rich one day (though the hopes always there) but the one thing that hasn't changed since that night I sat enraptured in the beautiful cinematography of David Fincher and facepaced dialogue of Aaron Sorkin, is the complete and total fascination with computers and technology. For that reason The Social Network will forever be my favorite movie.3
Don't know really, my father introduced me to vb6 when I was 11 (20 now) or something. And then I just started programming more and more. When I found other languages where I could do more things, and with bigger online communities. I just continued to program, and haven't yet become tired of it.
I failed university on a different engineering field because of me being so irresponsible, I wasn’t studying enough and wasn’t turning in homeworks, I kept trying to push myself but eventually got suspended, I think deep down I didn’t like it.
Started working for a call center, first a mobile carrier and then an ISP. Always did my best and it was very rewarding to solve issues but it was clear that I was disposable and management kept rewarding ppl that kept good performance metrics in dubious ways and I got sick of it.
During that time I kept the idea that I was going to overcome the suspension and get back to college but got carried away by life and years went by.
One day I was training a new hire and he was very excited talking to me about websites, webapps, seo, monetization by ads etc. I enjoyed the conversation because I‘ve always been (or used to be) the most proeficient in the use of computers within my circle of friends.
About that time Swift came out and I started thinking about enrolling to software dev. in a different university, made sense to me because ppl always said and thought that I was going to choose that path but it was very intimidating to me. This time I thought the worst thing that could happen was just failing, but still it was a chance to have a better chance at life.
I started strong, I was the top student in programming fundamentals and went above and beyond in the coding challenges, I did well on non-tech classes too on the first semester. From then everything started falling apart, I was hearing a lot of concepts and I did the binary tree shit and everything but I didn’t understand how, or when I was going to use all of this stuff, I wasn’t able to connect the dots I got lost and started lagging behind, the majority of my classmates just did the bare minimum and shared homeworks and I fell into depression, most of the time I wasn’t turning in anything but I managed to bullshit my way until last semester when my depression got really bad and stopped presenting myself and turning in nothing at all, all the bullshit was weighing heavy on my mind I kept blaming myself for being a failure, I had to seek for professional help and thanks to that I was able to save the last semester and graduate by the good will of some professors and a tiny margin.
Now after the university fiasco I was thinking in going back to the call center and face my destiny but an ex classmate referred me to the position where I am now, he told me to learn laravel in order to collaborate so I started doing some online courses and I was like wait... this shit is a breeze and everything makes sense... and that’s the story of how I learnt more in a few laravel courses than on the entire uni, my confidence has been growing up ever since and I feel less intimidated everyday, I’ve been enjoying it so much because I’ve been learning stuff that I can apply right away and I’m looking forward to keep learning, being better and working on this field for many years.
Turns out I wasn’t the failure, the school system was the failure.
Sorry for the long post.1
I knew programming was for me, MUCH later in life.
I loved playing with computers growing up but it wasn't until college that I tried programming ... and failed...
At the college I was at the first class you took was a class about C. It was taught by someone who 'just gets it', read from a old dusty book about C, that assumes you already know C... programming concepts and a ton more. It was horrible. He read from the book, then gave you your assignment and off you went.
This was before the age when the internet had a lot of good data available on programming. And it didn't help that I was a terrible student. I wasn't mature enough, I had no attention span.
So I decide programming is not for me and i drop out of school and through some lucky events I went on to make a good career in the tech world in networking. Good income and working with good people and all that.
Then after age 40... I'm at a company who is acquired (approved by the Trump administration ... who said there would be lots of great jobs) and they laid most people off.
I wasn't too sad about the layoffs that we knew were comming, it was a good career but I was tiring on the network / tech support world. If you think tech debt is bad, try working in networking land where every protocols shortcomings are 40+ years in the making and they can't be fixed ... without another layer of 20 year old bad ideas... and there's just no way out.
It was also an area where at most companies even where those staff are valued, eventually they decide you're just 'maintenance'.
I had worked really closely with the developers at this company, and I found they got along with me, and I got along with them to the point that they asked some issues be assigned to me. I could spot patterns in bugs and provide engineering data they wanted (accurate / logical troubleshooting, clear documentation, no guessing, tell them "i don't know" when I really don't ... surprising how few people do that).
We had such a good relationship that the directors in my department couldn't get a hold of engineering resources when they wanted ... but engineering would always answer my "Bro, you're going to want to be ready for this one, here's the details..." calls.
I hadn't seen their code ever (it was closely guarded) ... but I felt like I 'knew' it.
But no matter how valuable I was to the engineering teams I was in support... not engineering and thus I was expendable / our department was seen / treated as a cost center.
So I do a bunch of stuff online and I'm enjoying it, but I also want a classroom experience to get questions answered and etc.
Unfortunately, as far as in person options are it felt like me it was:
- Go back to college for years ---- un no I've got fam and kids.
- Bootcamps, who have pretty mixed (i'm being nice) reputations.
So layoff time comes, I was really fortunate to get a good severance so I've got time ... but not go back to college time.
So I sign up for the canned bootcamp at my local university.
I could go on for ages about how everyone who hates boot camps is wrong ... and right about them. But I'll skip that for now and say that ... I actually had a great time.
I (and the handful of capable folks in the class) found that while we weren't great students in the past ... we were suddenly super excited about going to class every day and having someone drop knowledge on us each day was ultra motivating.
After that I picked up my first job and it has been fun since then. I like fixing stuff, I like making it 'better' and easier to use (for me, coworkers, and the customer) and it's fun learning / trying new things all the time.
I was leaning programming in high school and got so addicted and curious that I started learning how to do a web browser, a tic tac toe game and those kinds of things (using visual basic and pascal)
My teacher said that even she didn't knew how to do those, and that I had to explore my "talent"
I now understand that it's no talent at all, but she kept motivating me and guiding me during all those years and I love her for that3
Initially I was taking Network Security. Didn't like it that much. Figured I should explore and took a diploma in Information Tech.
First programming assignment, stayed up the whole night to solve it accompanied by a couple of Monster drinks. Got hooked on programming ever since. Picked up caffeine addiction along the way.
Oh and I'm now lactose intolerant. Strongly believe it's due to the large amounts of coffee I had back in the day.
I always knew somehow, without realizing it. Since I was a kid I always was fascinated by technological stuff.
My parents are into humanistic fields so they couldn't give me any good input to understand what I liked exactly.
One day I learned I cpuld tinker with stupid batch scripts until I read on some forum the word "programming".
I was like "wtf is that" and googled the word.
In that moment I realized what I was going to do in my life.
I got bored / fed up with my previous line of work after just ending up on that path a good decade earlier, and started thinking what could be the thing I either could potentially be any good at or would possibly enjoy - and also make a steady income from as well, which was a luxury my previous career could never have offered me... for the longest time I couldn't think of anything. I just started browsing for some edu to apply, and saw an ICT BSc. And off I went... I guess the final realization I wanted to be a programmer, not a data analyst or ICT salesperson or something such was sometime during the series of Programming 101 courses that I found thoroughly enjoyable.
I did not...
My year of just working was up, and I had to choose my education.
I heard about the IT degree and went to a “meet and greet” with the current students.
I signed up and the rest is history.
I was working at one of my dad's friends during vacations, he asked me to build a flash form and make it send an email.
And so I followed a tutorial, and from then, I wanted to know what the guy that wrote the tutorial knew. And that's that.
I started when I was 8 because I wanted to make a game, and I also knew it was something I wanted as job later.
I don't know any better than that I am a developer.3
A friend and I made a voting application that was used for student body elections that and subsequent years. We got a certificate of excellence or something.
I was trying to do something in this automation program. I was looking through forums and someone posted a python script that did something sort of similar. I was reading that and thought "hold on a second, this sort of makes sense. if I change this..." and then I changed it and it did what I wanted. Up until that moment I thought programming was for galaxy brains only and never considered getting into it
Man, programs were fascinating, one day when I was (I think) seven years old, I googled how to make a program, I found something called neobook (anyone else?), and the rest was history.
I don't. I could've been a writer or a physicist for all I know. But when we started programming in high school I realised that I like doing it and I'm a quick learner with an affinity to maths so it felt relevant.
I was late with getting into programming and only started considering it after completing an education in animation before (unwillingly) working jobs outside of that field for a few years.
I had to really dig to try and figure out what I'd enjoy doing, and it's when I asked myself what I enjoyed about things in the past like railroad tycoon that I got on the track (eh?) of putting stuff together and making it work.
I remember seeing my friend play and I was screaming internally at his "who cares it works" solutions. When we later played ottd I would try to set up my stuff so that it was readable and because I realized how annoying it is when I can't figure out what my friend's tracks are supposed to do without asking him.
I was basically a developer all along. It's just that my only programming language was railroad tracks and signals.
I basically never knew it wasn't for me. My dad brought home a keystroke-entry programmable calculator as a gift after a business trip when I was, I dunno, 8?
And then I never stopped.
I am first in my family, no one before me had done coding. So
my family supports me in;doing code...3
Made some basic static sites in early 2010’s, started getting bootcamp ads frequently.
Eventually joined one & saw what I’ve been missing out on...actually tried in bootcamp and now I’m almost a real deal dev guy 👌🏿
...actually extremely happy but don’t wanna be that guy
Always seemed like an evidence. I can't imagine life without programming.
I'm interested in a lot of things and I like doing various activities but sometime I lose interest in them. It's never been the case with programming
I had dabbled in some game programing in Unity (like Unity 1 or 2 at the time) and played around with python. But I hadn't spent much time programming. I was going to school for marketing because when I graduated high school, there were basically no software jobs anywhere near my hometown. But I got an internship at a place that had a single web developer but like 5 clients who had websites. The dev left and I volunteered to build websites, thinking it had to be better than writing about asphalt pumps. They gave me a $5 raise. At that point I realized 2 things.
1. The area around my hometown was starting to have more software jobs (I actually ended up moving and I'm extremely happy I did now).
2. Devs usually make more than marketers.
I already knew I enjoyed programming, I just didn't see it as a realistic career until I got a pay raise I didn't even ask for, and for a job I wasn't qualified to do even.
I was in EE Engineering dept. I got A1 from programming class despite failing at all other EE classes. Couple years later of failing EE classes, I switched departments without hesitation.7
Gunstar Heroes, Streets of Rage 2, Street Fighter 2. It totally blew my child mind to the point of no return.
I was the one who knows linux more than the teacher itself but can not say of programming actually
I only knew html css and she'll programming at that moment
But later on trying learning I felt in love ...
My computer science teacher said that I have to work in this area. Before this, I didn't realize that I am good at programming.