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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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How did you get into programming in the first place?

Discussion (130)

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Ben Halpern Author

Wow, congrats on making the leap!

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Mr. Black Hack ¤

Wanted to do psychology, one day someone asked me "soo.. <.< psychology huh... what are you gonna do with that... I was so sure I knew what I wanted to do, and that moment I don't why I just felt lost. I was in the library after that break and my girlfriend at the time, was like, you should take college more seriously, I was like "aight fine". Looked up high paying jobs, found that computer oriented jobs seemed to be up there, I said "hey I like computers", so I signed up for it just like that... I spent the summer before my first semester diving into it, every day got more and more exciting, I saw a whole new world and it was made of code. Never turned back since, except those last 3 years where I took a break, found passion for life and explore my creative perspectives. Some source code manipulation you know. Now with long hair and beard, the coding world welcomes me 2.0

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tag hatle

I don't have the long hair and beard, but how much it doesn't matter what you look like is a real draw of coding-as-a-career for me too!

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W. Brian Gourlie

I was thirteen or fourteen during the latter half of the 90's when AOL was still a thing. I discovered programs (progz as they were known back then) that you could use to punt people off of AOL via instant message, or spam chat room messages with ascii art, or any number of things that an obnoxious 14 year old kid would take pleasure in. I also discovered that some of these progz included source code, so naturally I was curious.

I studied the source code and learned an alarming amount of the Win32 API as an adolescent and eventually became proficient in writing these programs myself. I was also introduced to "affiliate programs" for certain kinds of websites, in particular websites owned and operated outside of the US that would allow you to sign up as an affiliate without having to prove your age or provide a SSN. I wrote spamming software that implemented the AOL Instant Messenger protocol and would scrape AOL chat rooms for people to message. This thing ran over a dial-up connection, had reconnect logic, and supported connecting an arbitrary number of AIM accounts to circumvent rate limiting.

Naturally, I had acquaintances who wanted to get in on it. I showed them how to do the affiliate sign up, how to set up a web page for banners, and provided them with a spammer that I could remotely configure to send a percentage of messages to advertise my banner portal. I pulled in anywhere from $500-$1000 a month which, for a teenager, was a lot.

Then I turned 18 and at least had the sense to find more legitimate means of making money. I knew it would involve programming, and well, here I am nearly 16 years later working as a programmer.

Quick edit and funny note about the AOL punting thing

It's so funny to think how insecure software was back then. To punt someone off AOL all you had to do was send them the following message:

<font size=999999999999999>peace out sucka!</font>

It was a simple buffer overflow caused by specifying a font size exceeding 32-bits. The worst part is that punting was super common and it took AOL YEARS to fix it!

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tag hatle

This reminds me of crashing someone's Messages app on their iPhone by sending huge emoji texts... I guess some things haven't changed, lol!

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Melissa Martinez

I saw my first developer in action at a Startup Weekend a few years ago. I had no idea what he was doing at the time, but I knew right then and there that's what I wanted to do for a living. However, I was building Myspace themes as a 11 yr old. I wish I had an adult in my life at the time to guide me towards Computer Science!

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Ben Halpern Author

What steps did you take after observing that first developer?

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Melissa Martinez

Well after that weekend, I jumped right back into HTML and CSS. Then I discovered Flash wasn't a thing anymore, so I had a rude awakening trying to learn Javascript. I took a class on Java in school, and was able to transfer that knowledge to learn JS a lot easier. I was also referring to job descriptions to see what else I needed to learn.

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Petty Thiel

AOL! My family got AOL when I was about 15 and I was completely hooked on reading everything and IMing random internet people. Somehow, I stumbled upon Geocities or the like and realized I could make webpages. HTMLGoodies was my go to website at the time.

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Oguzhan Yagci

I was around 10 years old and watching a TV cartoon called "Code Lyoko". One of the main characters was a computer genius. I found that so amazing to be able to do those things that I just grabbed the keyboard of my computer and started looking for how I could to such things.

I began with some HTML/CSS (my first website was a fansite called "Code Xana" which was of course about "Code Lyoko") and then a bit of C because I wanted to dig deep down the computer.

Now I am a CS student at 42 and I still am digging down in my computer to learn how to do those cool stuffs I saw on the TV!

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Mark Bussell Jr

Glad I got around to this discussion a little late - you have no idea how comforting to see more than a few who got into programming later than age 8... I've always felt like I was perpetually "behind" because I didn't start programming until mid-way through an AAS in Network Engineering.

I switched majors two weeks into the one required programming class because I'd found programming far easier and more enjoyable than anything I was doing on the Networking side. It just fit me better and made sense. :)

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tag hatle

Yeah the idea that if you weren't writing programs in grade school you'll never catch up is really daunting, I'm glad to see otherwise too!

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Andy Shevchenko

At a computer club in early 80s, drawing a snowman with 3 circles and writing a complex logic like:
INPUT "WANNA GET FUN?", A;
IF A="Y"
THEN PRINT "FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN"

Then annoyed my parents until they bought me a i8088 home computer which comes with operation manual and Assembly language manual. Figured out almost everything by myself through debugging existed applications and BIOS ROM. Wrote a simple graphics editor eventually.

Then soldered a ZX Spectrum clone stuffing up PCB with chips according to a manual. Hacked a lot of games, got employed as a hacker at age 14 with 300 USD wage, doing tape to disk games conversion.

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Daniel Cherubini

My Mum was in charge of the computers for the Department of Education for our state (New South Wales) in Australia, so naturally when I was born in 1982 I had access to a lot of technology.

Mum tells the story that i typed my first word on an Apple II at the age of 2, and I remember a few years later really wanting to play a text based adventure, like zork on our apple IIe. I begged mum for a non-educational game, and so for my birthday, I got a book, and a blank 5 1/4 inch floppy disk...

I was a little confused, If the game was on the blank disk, why the book, and the book had dragons on it, was this some kind of book that goes with the game?

I opened the book, and it was code, BASIC code, see the book WAS the game, and mum looked at me and said "You can play your adventure game, after you code it"

I remember getting about 50% through the book before I realised how to find the end, and never completed the code. Mum was upset, so she asked my why I didn't, I then said "Ohh you kill the dragon here, and this is how...." Mum was so happy, she had made me learn coding to a point where I could read the code for the answer.

I must have been about 5 or 6 at the time, after that at around age 11 Doom came out, and I got obsessed with multiplayer Token Ring networks.. which got me interested in C, and then C++, Java, etc etc etc..

All because mum refused to give in and do something non-educational

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Mario Durán

Some afternoon after school I was playing PlayStation (the first one) and my mom pass by and says to me in a very casual and distended way: Son you should be a software developer. So as a good son, I went to psychology school. After a few tries I ended up doing computer science like she said

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Massimo Artizzu

As an amateur, when I was something like 8 my father thaught me the basics of... well, BASIC. It was kind of love at first sight. Programmed things for fun, until I got into university - at that point I had no time.

Professionally, it was more or less by accident. Was looking for a job, sent a resume for working in a computer shop, it was forwarded to someone who was hiring web developers. I basically had no experience whatsoever, but surprisingly I got hired.

Maybe having won that programming contest back when I was an university student helped... I still don't know.

All I know is that I love my job.

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Luke Bonaccorsi

2001 at Age 11, first IT lesson at secondary school (UK here) we were taught extremely basic HTML. Homework was to go home and build a web page about something. Can't remember what I built.

What I do remember was the moment of realisation that I had just built something that goes on the internet. Before that the internet seemed like this inaccessible blob of knowledge and cool stuff.

I asked the teacher how I put it on the internet and from there I was building websites, looking at the source for other sites and getting books on HTML and JavaScript out from the library.

16 years later I'm doing it full time and loving it.

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Ben Halpern Author

I wish I were given "go home and build a web page about something" as a homework assignment!

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Ben Halpern Author

For me, it was my friend who started a website for his band on Geocities when I was about 12 or so. I got hooked immediately on this stuff once the stuff was introduced to me, but I did let it fade away for a while, coded now and then for the next 10+ years, before finally jumping in for real in my 20s.

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Sabrina

Like most, I started dabbling with code as a kid customizing layouts for Xanga and Myspace. I just didn't know coding was a thing I could make money doing. I wished I would've known sooner. I loved how the web was constantly changing so majored in IT in school. It wasn't until junior year that I learned front-end web development was a career. I spent that summer and rest of my time in school teaching myself HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, etc.

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Lily Collin

When I was younger I loved playing Neopets and they had these profiles which you could customize with some CSS and could add some HTML as well. I didn't really find things I liked on other sites so I ended up learning to make my own. Eventually I learned how to make my own and made my own site to offer some that I made. Which is when I started doing things like PHP, CSS and some javascript.

When it became time to apply for school I honestly didn't know what computer science was but I needed to apply for something so that's what I did. I got to learn a bunch of different languages like Java, Python and C++ and decided I was going to work on becoming a system administrator instead. I still did some web stuff on the side for friends and people I knew. However during my last year of university I got a job in web development, which then started my career.

It's been five years since I've started working full time in web and I've learned so much and have started to become a specialist in SuiteCRM/SugarCRM development and integration. Drupal and Wordpress are an other two platforms that I've been working on developing plugins/modules. It's crazy to think that just a hobby would eventually turn into my career. I still do have my Neopets account I revisit every so often to see where it all started.

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Ashley Nicolson

Oh my word, small world! I started off the same. Loved Neopets and I was a 'webmaster' of one of their most popular Zelda guild (at the time) years ago and that's where it all began. Highfive for Neopets!

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Michelle Six

Late 70s and I loved arcade video games but lacked money. My father told me that video games were computer programs. He started me with a class learning Fortran 4 on punch cards which seemed designed to kill any interest in computers.

A friend though gave me a copy of Basic Computer Games atariarchives.org/basicgames/ My junior high school had a DECwriter hooked up via a 110 baud link to the high school's PDP 11. I started by typing them in, then learned to understand them and then creating my own games.

I was in that first generation where girls were being told we could do anything and at the same time society seemed to say girls should be nurses or teachers. I always assumed I would grow up to be a history teacher but instead became a software engineer.

For fun though I still write games for fun today itunes.apple.com/us/app/deadline-a...

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Jay Green ♥ 🇺🇸

Ha! That was my first programming book. My parents bought it for me when my school got it's first shipment of Apple II E's. My more experienced friend pointed out that the BASIC that book used was not compatible with Apple. So I decided I would modify them so they would run. I learned a lot by doing that. Then I mowed lawns for a year and saved up for my first computer, the C64. I stayed up late nights learning 6502 Assembly. Wouldn't trade that time in my life for anything!

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Eric B

If I had an Apple TV, I would buy your game.

I've been hoping that any of our kids will show any interest in programming, but they are between 15 and 22 now, and zero. oh well. at least we've got a couple hobbyist musicians :)

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Aaron Eiche

In early 2000 I hacked together a Mac Client for LiveJournal. It was the first time I'd ever done any programming that wasn't very light Javascript in web pages. I tried to go into CS in college, but didn't try very hard and figured that my brain just wasn't wired for programming.

In 2005 a friend of mine needed to offload some web page work that she had done, and I had made plenty of web pages. The work was for an artist and I kept running into problems that I couldn't solve with HTML. I started poking around PHP and was able to solve problems. Turned out my brain worked great for programming, I just had to be interested in what I was working on.

At some point I realized that I could probably make money doing this full time, so I started applying and picked up a job. 11 years later I'm still doing it happily.

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Diego Delgadillo

Back 10 years ago, I took Computer Science at high school. I always thought before that decision: "there has to be something more than Dreamweaver, Flash and Expression Web," because that's what I got at middle school. And there was, I met Java, but that wasn't after a month of working with Raptop (Yes, the Flowchart!).

Nowadays, I live in the discombobulated world of Javascript, in which someone already launched another framework by the time I finished this post.

*Fun facts

  1. Dreamweaver and Flash were still under Macromedia.
  2. From a high school class about 240 people... only 12 came out with Computer Science honors... how cool is that?
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tag hatle

"someone already launched another framework by the time I finished this post." made me laugh out loud, too true!!

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Muntadhar Haydar • Edited on

I was 11, I'm 20 now, when my parents, both Civil Engineers, told me about how they loved computers in late 80s and 90s and how they did some of their homework using BASIC so I started to learn it bit by bit. I remember my first ever program was written in BASIC that gives you Area and Circumference for 1 of 4 shapes given the required info. Since then I learned VB and VB.Net and later C#. 
Coding is fun and I it helps me a lot in Electrical Engineering.
I released some Windows apps and did things with Arduino and RPi.

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Manuel Gómez

Back in my high school ages. We had a "computer" class with 2 hours per week and we got Pascal as language.Well, I would have done anything to procrastinate and not sitting and studying math and physics, so I got deep on programming at home. I still remember that blue screen with yellow keywords...

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Sergey Peshkov

I was learning to create cool animations and stuff in Macromedia (Adobe nowadays) Flash and found some tutorials about ActionScript, and that was the beginning. After that I've learnt some programming at school, then university, learnt some technologies by myself, but ActionScript was my first experience

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Pankaj Doharey

I started programming on a BBC Micro because my school had it, it was really wonderful to see that. After a gap of 7 yrs, because i changed my school and other schools did not have a computer, it took some yrs, before it became affordable to buy a computer in India.
During my second encounter with computers i learnt C and C++ programming because i wanted to create a Male counterpart of Lara Croft in 2000's. Something similar to Uncharted now, though it never materialized as i became a web developer and also it helps to pays bills. This year i have quit my job and working towards bringing a Console Class Commercial WebGL game to the market. Hopefully i would finally become a successful Game developer, a dream i cherished since i was a kid.

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Thad Humphries

I was a recently discharged Army paratrooper, and hired for a job requiring a top secret clearance, but the Army lost my file. While I was being re-cleared, the company put me on a contract that did not require clearances--putting ruggedized laptops into a light infantry unit. I learned programming while being the middle man between the grunts and the geeks.

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Cadell

On LinkedIn my job description was front end manager at a supermarket and ever so often LinkedIn would email me possible positions I would be perfect for. One hiccup though, these possible job opportunities were for front end developers not actual managers at supermarkets LOL.

You can imagine my face after reading the details of these front end postions... "The heck is HTML", "Javascri who??" 0_o. So one day out of curiosity I spent a few hours really researching front end development and I was instantly consumed by it. By the following week I was already messing with HTML and CSS and building my first webpage.

Now one year later, I'm pursing a degree in computer/software eng and I'm also building my first web app with Ruby and the Sinatra framework.

That's my odd story :D.

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Gideon Pyzer • Edited on

This seems to be more of a life story, but don't worry, I'm not that old. I started playing with computers when I was around 9. I used to use my dad's work laptops. I kept breaking things, including corrupting the OS on numerous occasions. In the fear of being yelled at,
I anxiously spent hours trying to fix it and, eventually, succeeding. This gave me my problem solving skills.

I liked browsing the Internet and going on websites. I wanted one of my own. On my 10th birthday, my dad bought me my own domain name, because that's what all the cool 10 year old 90s kids wanted. I learnt HTML and CSS mostly, and built my terrible static entertainment website. I experimented Geocities, if you remember that gem ha.

In my mid teens, I discovered PHP and MySQL databases. I created some beautiful XSS/SQL Injection-prone forms, such as simple article/comment system. I later lost a little interest and got lazy, but as I went to study Computer Science, I re-gained my interest in programming, or rather making cool things by creative means. There's so many cool projects I could have done, but didn't, a few years ago. However, now I'm working for a great software company, building up my front end skills and confidence levels after a long spell of imposter syndrome.

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phillip kerman

Multi-slide projectors placed in racks (at least 2 pointing to each screen) ..."programmed" to dissolve/advance in synch with sound track using such devices:
stevenmichelsen.com/AVL/AVL_Show_P...
stevenmichelsen.com/AVL/AVL_coyote...

And later on DOS.

Then Macromedia Authorware (which wasn't much different than scratch)--but it had multimedia drivers to control laserdisk and later digital video and CDROM etc.
ascilite.org/archived-journals/e-j...

That was sort of eaten by Macromind/Macromedia Director (language was "Lingo").

Then Flash/ActionScript 1, 2, 3 (which was like Java)

Now JS.

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Leo Yockey

I used to code up my own profile on Myspace, but I had NO idea I was doing HTML and CSS. While I was working Casino Security, a vendor randomly suggested that I look up code.org and start learning how to code. He saw that I was good with computers and unhappy with my job. Eventually, I ended up on Codecademy where I learned the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I loved it! But I wasn't job-ready. I enrolled in a bootcamp a few months ago. It was the best decision I ever made!

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Muntadhar Haydar • Edited on

In 2005 when I was 8 my father bough a desktop for his work and I was fascinated by computers so I played some games and did some PowerPoint things until summer 2008 when I knew from my mom and dad, who both are Civil Engineers, that they did some programming back in college in early 90s so I decided to be an engineer and learn programming which led to my first program ever written in BASIC.
Now, I'm 21 y/o and studying Electrical Engineering and have programmed in VB.Net then moved to C# which I did some desktop and UWP apps using it and since 2015 I am programming Arduinos and RPis with C/C++, C#, Python.

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Damien Cosset

Partly because I was always interested in it, and partly because I needed some direction in my life. I dropped out of college where I was studying economics. Then, I was just filling my time with some jobs I didn't enjoy and didn't want to get better at.

I needed a career that I could enjoy while working on skills that I could always improve. Because I always thought that it would be pretty cool to learn how to program, I started by picking up a book about C, which I quickly gave up :D . Then, I signed up for the free trial on Treehouse and started the front-end development track. I was 23, it was 2 years ago, and it was the best decision I've made so far.

So, outside of the sense of urgency of picking a career, I would say that the feeling of having no limits in what you can learn, improve, work on or dream about is absolutely what go me into programming

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James

In high school I was in programming club. I was fascinated by computers and code. But my family wanted me to be either a preacher or a doctor, depending on who you asked.

I went to college in 1999 majoring in Theater, no wait I mean Neuroscience for 3 years... But wait, English... Yeah English is what I graduated with. Then I was just lost for a few years after school. Working small jobs, etc.

Then I landed a job at a major insurance company. I did well, and my programming skills and love of programming came back with a vengeance. I was automating all the things everywhere that I could. Pretty soon I got in trouble for that, turns out big companies don't enjoy what they call 'shadow IT'. However they did like what the results of my work, so they gave me a sandbox and I kept working.
It wasn't long after that I officially moved to a dev role. I had to learn .NET which was a great investment. Now I'm in web dev and this is the career I want.

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Robin Goupil • Edited on

Always loved video games and I have always been very curious about how people where making them.
At 16 I started programming video games with my best friend in C.
I fell in love with code and discovered C++ a few years later at college.
After Giving up with the video game industry (great hobby, very harsh job imo), I am now working in a startup called Therapixel on changing the face of radiology - obviously in C++ ;)

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Guilherme Holz

I failed to get into the federal college in Brazil as a history major, so my dad said and I quote "Don't go on thinking you gonna sit on your ass all day, tomorrow you'll find a job". I knew how to fix a computer so I started working with tech support, one day I was offered an opportunity to work with html and I asked a friend if he could teach me in one weekend, he said "sure" that was 13 years ago. Never looked back.

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Scott Hague

Started programming when i was 12 to automate level grinding on an online game, that moved to getting involved in building a private server of the game with a few other people. The natural flow of those two led to a marketplace for these "scripts" where i made my first sale of software.

Fast forward 6 years and i had started off as a 1st line technical support phone guy, I was still actively developing in my spare time so looking into ways i could make my job easier. Ended up building a load of php/bash scripts that allowed me to automate 90% of the fixes i needed to do (was a niche platform that the helpdesk provided support for). It was soon noticed by management and i escalated up to a tester.

Jump forward another year and i had a new job as a 2nd line support guy for a small company, the company saw potential and i got my first 'developer' gig by building an automation platform for one our our existing large clients. Then just grew from there. Now i run a team of 8 developers working with some of the largest companies in the UK.

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Cloakd

Started programming when i was 12 to automate level grinding on an online game, that moved to getting involved in building a private server of the game with a few other people. The natural flow of those two led to a marketplace for these "scripts" where i made my first sale of software.

Fast forward 6 years and i had started off as a 1st line technical support phone guy, I was still actively developing in my spare time so looking into ways i could make my job easier. Ended up building a load of php/bash scripts that allowed me to automate 90% of the fixes i needed to do (was a niche platform that the helpdesk provided support for). It was soon noticed by management and i escalated up to a tester.

Jump forward another year and i had a new job as a 2nd line support guy for a small company, the company saw potential and i got my first 'developer' gig by building an automation platform for one our our existing large clients. Then just grew from there. Now i run a team of 8 developers working with some of the largest companies in the UK.

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Wesley Ameling

This is actually a bit of a weird story. I was playing Minecraft about 5 years ago with the mod called ComputerCraft. This mod enabled users to write lua code to interact with the Minecraft world (turning redstone on and off, actually display GUIs using monitors). I was so amazed by the possibilities of programming that I kept doing it. I always wanted this component in my study and it was between computer science and bioinformatics. I chose bioinformatics purely because it had two worlds combined: natural sciences and programming.

To this day I already passed 2 out of 4 years of this study and still enjoying it very much!

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Carson Evans

I am very lucky. My father was an amateur radio hobbyist and that spilled into computers, and especially the intersection of computers and radio back in the 1980's. He passed his love for tinkering along to me and also gave me a computer and introduced me to GW-BASIC which I used in middle school to turn my Choose Your Own Adventure books into text based games. GOTO PAGE # and GOTO LINE # were a natural fit. My father was able to turn his hobby interest in technology into a job doing technology work for the federal government. In the early 1990s he had a premonition that newly elected Vice President Gore was on to something with this Internet thing. He had already been playing around with similar technologies with Packet Radio so he left his government job and founded one of the first Internet Service Providers in the Washington DC Area. I was a freshman in high school at the time so he put me to work doing technical support. I got paid to sit and play with this Internet thing. It was not long until people started calling asking for help getting their businesses onto the web and my career as a web developer took off. Again, I am very very lucky and owe it all to my father. I now have two high-school aged kids of my own and am trying to pass that love and opportunity on to them.

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Wesley Ameling

I actually started programming by playing games. Not an exciting game, it was Minecraft with a mod called ConputerCraft. I really liked how I could create (super unsecure) passwords to control a door and after creating bigger applications, I realized I could use this for real life applications. It was a lot of reading and trying to code, but got me really fascinated. This day I am studying bioinformatics and really like how I can automate things to discover biological functions, namely by discovering the DNA

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Aaron Chamberlain

A friend of mine in middle school heard that you could cheat on the game Runescape by making software do it for you. I wanted to try it out, spend way too long trying to get some community tool working (it was in Pascal) and never did get anything substantial working. Echoing many here, I wish I would have had a mentor that I could ask questions to.

It took me another few years before I found out about a musical instrument called the monome that was completely user programmable that I got interested in programming again. Some stuff was written in MaxMSP, some in C, etc…

Currently work in Web Development and but also interested in things like parallel computing.

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David Roberts

My mom bought me an XT (early 90's). Turned out the store didn't give us MS-DOS. Went back, they gave us MS-DOS plus a book and disc about GW-Basic. My first program was to track my baseball card collection. Then a bank app with withdrawls and deposits, complete with a '!' on deposits and a simple '.' on withdrawls, go for playing to the mindset of the user. Third (and when I really started to take off) was a app for my highschool teacher to help them track student grades and attendance. I was (and still am) having so much fun with it.

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K (he/him)

I some Flash and Photoshop stuff when I was 14 and liked creating digital things. I also modified games like Half Life and StarCraft.

Then I was at IRC regularly and liked the bots that did what you told them. I discovered mIRCscript and started doing my own news and game bots, mostly by copy-n-paste. Funny that I got an interval running that would news via sockets from a HTTP server and parsed the needed strings out of the response years before I learned what an array is...

I later learned C in high school and then worked as a Web dev between high school and university. I learned HTML and CSS for a private website and got some PHP basics on the way, which seemingly was enough to get a job.

I studied computer science and media and learned JavaScript on a job I had besides university.

Guess the Web is just my thing :)

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Abhishek Singh

In 2008 when I had to choose course for engineering I chose Information technology, and at that time I didn't knew anything about programming, my interaction with computer was almost zero because I lived in rural part of India. I chose IT just because I had read a lot in newspaper and TV that 21st century is going to be IT age, Also I was curious about how mobile phones work.

In my first year of engineering college I didn't did well in core IT subjects, I tried to change branch also, But in the end I decided to carry on started learning Java, HTML etc.

After graduation I didn't got job in programming field and realized I wasn't prepared for programming yet so I started learning web development from many tutorials and youtube video and I finally I got a job at a small startup, where I got to learn a lot and worked on some web application and games.

Now I think choosing IT in 2008 was best decision.

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Kyle Welch

Programming accidentally fell in my lap. My highschool had a program where core classes integrated with tech and meant we all had to buy laptops. One day when I was having typically laptop issues and found that our school's tech support was student run, including the website. I happen to know the lead developer for the website and was asked to join.

I quickly picked up on web development and rose through the internal raking system. I soon was building in my spare time and even landed a job with a local advertising company. At this point I was working with PHP, HTML, JS, and CSS.

My college major was a hard choice between Game Development and Web Development. I stuck with the safety of web development, which lead me learn C#. Learning C# was the first step on my journey to becoming a full stack developer.

I has been a amazing ride and love each new challenge it was put in front of me.

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Anil Das

One day, my friend and neighbor said, "Hey, my dad wrote an article for his work's in-house mag. Want to read it?". I said sure. His dad was a rocket scientist, and the article was a very simplistic explanation of logic gates. I didn't quite understand it, but the idea that electronics can do arithmetic was interesting.

Couple years later, I was reading a general interest science book from the Soviet Union (might have been Physics For Fun), and it gave a very basic description of how a computer program might be work (i.e. IF and GOTO). Again, I found this interesting, but there was no chance I would see an computer anytime soon.

On the way to visit my college (by train), met a fellow student who had a Casio "pocket computer". Something like this. old-computers.com/museum/computer.... I learned BASIC by reading the manual for it. Pestered my dad to buy me one, and played around writing programs for it. And then college starts. We had an IBM 370 mainframe, and a required Fortran course in the first semester, so boom!

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meditari

I was given a VIC-20 at age 12. It came with an instruction book and sample programs which I keyed in every time I wanted to play a game since I didn't have a tape drive. I enjoyed the hell out of it then and still do...

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Bryan Baldwin

Originally I was trying to extend a copy of Super Star Trek written in GW-BASIC on my father's 8088 clone when I was 13yo. I changed it so it would pass a red line over a rectangle in the display and reveal the contents of the adjacent quadrants as it passed over. It was slow, but I didn't know what a compiler was, and building an .exe was a complete mystery to me. Unlike GNU and many Linux distributions of even the past 15 years, Microsoft did not distribute any build tools whatsoever with its OS. I blame them for atrophying creative computing for everyone, and snuffing mine out for ten full years. If only there were an Internet then, or I stumbled across a copy of DJGPP.

I did a degree in Studio Art, and muddled around with a few jobs retouching photographs and some design, until I bought a Pentium Desktop and wiped WinXP off its disks and installed Linux.

I did persistent world programming for Neverwinter Nights multiplayer in NWScript and perl for a couple years before I got my first System Administrator role. I've been working as an Operator for about ten years before merging into the Devops workspace. Today I get top salary in my field, working a 9-5 Platform Engineer role, and am currently building my own Game Engine from scratch in C.

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Paul Lefebvre

As a young teenager in the early 80s my Dad had a friend come over to show us an Atari 800. After seeing it connected to the TV and running a simple BASIC program that displayed my name on the screen, I was hooked.

That was in 1983, so I guess I can say I've been programming for 34 years! I've written programs in BASIC, Pascal, C, Scheme, Lisp, PowerBuilder, Java, C#, PL/SQL, Visual Basic, Xojo and probably others I'm forgetting.

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Rassas Amine

I'm a very passionate programmer and a software developing enthusiast.
I started to study programming in the second year of my high school in the IT field which is the first field to give programming lessons in Tunisia.
From then, i developed my skills and got excellent grades in programming. I only hope that I'll gain more knowledge, and in detail, about web development as well as software developing :D

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Daisy Chubb

After getting my theatre degree (BFA) in 2010, I basically worked 5 straight years of retail hell. The acting thing was definitely not going to work out for a poor 20-something (although my peers with well-off families had no problem, it just wasn't possible to be out of work for long periods at a time for me, nor would I want to be!)

So I took it on myself to take some career counselling, basically discovering my values and skills and how they could best translate to a new career path - plus I was happy to go back to school!

I almost went with Graphic Design - I discovered I love problem solving, I do have communication and team-oriented skills, I taught myself some simple mark-up in high school when Geocities still reigned supreme. I value travel, and constant learning - anyways all of this lead me to pursue programming!

So now I have 1 term left, I'm almost 30, can't wait to get out of college and into the work force. I'm making apps and learning Ruby on my own time, really really enjoying it! I am in a paid co-op term using Microsoft CRM which I really do NOT enjoy, but it is only temporary and I hope to find something more challenging and code based in my job hunt after school.

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Scott Wesley

The Vic-20 was the first introduction, using BASIC pokes recorded on tape, but I think it was seeing the use of a variable in a simple Pascal programme over the shoulder of another student in year 9 that sparked something for my career choice. Ada at university, then PL/SQL with Oracle databases.

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Berkus Decker

Oh, jeez. Where do i start.

In 1991 or 1992 i got my first computer - a ZX Spectrum 48k clone, made locally. I dabbled with BASIC and then started learning Z80 assembly language. A few thousand PEEKs & POKEs later I got an IBM PS/1 with 85 Mb hard drive and a completely illegal copy of Borland Turbo Pascal. Wrote a windowing graphic system in it, learned x86 assembly along the way, then a couple years later went to C++ - this was 1996 or thereabout (yeah, C++98 wasn't even a thing). Fate was set - I studied Linux as a hobby while working with bunch of Windows machines for a few years more and then landed a Qt UI job at Skype.