Always a Developer

Telling your own stories is a great way to reflect on how you got somewhere and share any value knowledge learned along the way. I began my journey in writing code probably much earlier than most. I took it all the way through childhood into my career. In fact, I can trace it back in my mind to a memory of me asking my parents about how a URL should be formatted to correctly pull up a website when I was about 9 years old.

I became fascinated with computers and I wanted to understand how they worked. I was only trying to understand computers for the sake of my own curiosity and then once I understood them I could move on to something else (little did I know how deep the rabbit hole would go). From there, my curiosity grew as my dad started down the journey of creating a dynamic website for his business clients to submit service requests. To be clear, he is not a software developer, but was able to learn enough of what he needed from books and the internet to make what needed to be made. I found the concept of creating a website to be so fascinating, the fact that you could just write some words into a text editor and that would somehow translate into a usable interactive application caught my attention.

Not long after my fascination grew, I remember my dad giving me his ColdFusion and HTML books and setting me up with my very first domain name and a basic hosting setup. From there, I took off quickly taking as much from these books as I could. I was in awe of the things I could create with some simple markup and inline styling typed into a text editor. Over the next few years, I would pick up bits and pieces of JavaScript as I tried to comprehend the concept of dynamic websites and how to make the markup react to user events such as clicking with a mouse. At this point I was just beginning to see the potential to create, that was unfolding in front of me. After learning enough of the basics to create some simple websites that did little more than change a background color or move a box across the screen, I shelved programming for a while. Here and there I would pick it back up to see if I could make something that came to my head, but for the most part the curiosity laid dormant until freshman year of high school.

Intro to Web Technologies

When it came time to enroll in my classes for the year, I came across two one semester classes called tech 20 and tech 30. I quickly signed up to take both that year, even though there was a prerequisite tech class which I had not taken. I hoped they wouldn’t make me sit through a class teaching me to use basic word processing and computer knowledge that most people had already been using for most middle school projects in the previous years. Ultimately they allowed me to skip the prerequisite course and continue my growth in JavaScript and begin to learn programming server side applications. These courses became my biggest foundations in taking off seriously learning the ins and outs of programming. It was during that year where I found that I really enjoyed developing the entire web application from the back end APIs to the front end interactive interface, except for the actual UI design itself. It came time to create the final project for tech 30 in which we were tasked with creating a rudimentary social network that could do simple tasks like register and login users, create posts, and view user profiles. I went all out on this project to make the best Facebook clone that I could. I called it MyCube and even hosted it under a subdomain off of my personal website. I took almost every aspect up a level from what was expected, using ajax requests rather than html forms and using jQuery to create dynamic user interfaces and animations.

The Next Big Game

It was since that project and year that I haven’t stopped dreaming up ideas for cool software projects to create. I ended up getting really interested in the idea of making an iOS app that would go viral. I had saved up enough money to buy a MacBook Pro and a year subscription to the Apple Developer portal. I learned quite a bit about Objective-C and developing really basic 2D games, but didn’t come to the point of realizing that dream. My interests instead took a twist towards the Jailbreaking community and tweaking my iPhone to it’s extremes. I even got so interested as to start developing my own iPhone hacks to utilize for myself. One of my favorite projects I created was an SMS Gateway, which essentially allowed me to process incoming text messages and reply to the message with some logic in the code. I ended up using it to create a basic rock paper scissors game, as well as blackjack.

My First Job.

A few years later I began my first job at my dad’s company with my role being a mix of IT and Software development, where six years later I am still employed. Though I learned a ton about software through my own creative outlet in high school, my real experience and skill sets began to grow massively as I learned and honed my skills 40 hours a week. I began to learn the value of using software libraries over developing everything from scratch. I learned different architectural design patterns, mostly by doing it the hard way first, before coming across better ways on forums or framework documentation sites. I even began learning more skills in the deployment and DevOps side of application development as my rudimentary local to ftp deployments became to risky (especially since at the time I wasn’t even using any versioning mechanisms, yikes!) My development practices got to the point where I was using containers, continuous integration, deployment channels, bundle optimizations and scalable server architecture. I hadn’t realized how fascinating the process of getting code from developers to the production servers could be until I started digging around all the services AWS had to offer and experimenting with them.

What’s Next?

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Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

Fast forward to now, I spend most of my free time either exploring new languages, frameworks or just new cool developer technology. I also try to find problems that don’t have any software solutions or that could be bettered with some form of automation or technology. My creativity especially gets sparked with my two kids. Dealing with the daily routines and struggles of having young children reveals endless new inventions that could be made to ease the life of parents. Point being made, it’s hard for me to be in most situations without finding a way to mentally bring technology into it. Be it psychological training or a deep rooted passion for creating, I feel like I will always be a developer, whether it remains in software or goes to something entirely different.

To all the software developers out there, what gives you your passion?

software engineer. minimalist. enjoy creative software solutions.

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