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I've been in and around code since the early 80s but it was never presented as a career choice. Women were nurses or secretaries. I grew up knowing I wanted to do something sciencey and so I studied earth sciences and palaeoecology at university (I wanted to be the next paleontologist interviewed on National Geographic! Oooh!. I was still always interested in computers and code so I dabbled here and there. Even did PC repair in high school. In the meantime I worked as a veterinary technician to pay the bills. Well graduation came right around the 2008 collapse and I didn't know what to do with myself so I retreated to vet medicine. Which is hit or miss as far as a career option is concerned. I loved what I was doing but trying to make a living as a single woman with 18,000/year was sucking so hard (most people are either married, a doctor, or married to the doctor to make ends meet in that industry)!

So...Last spring I quit my job and threw myself into learning how to code full time. That's paid off as I've found my first new gig with some awesome people and we're doing good things! I get to paid to learn and build things everyday! And pay my rent! That's pretty awesome! 😊


Thank you! It's been quite the journey! But here's to more learning in the year ahead! :)


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


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!


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.


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!


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!


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.


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!


What steps did you take after observing that first developer?


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.


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.


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.


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


My story is pretty boring, but it's mine so I like it.

I'd been a Linux user for a few years, mostly because I always had kinda crappy old computers and running Windows was just too slow. I'd done some "programming" before, in middle school (QBasic), and fooled around with Bash scripts and things.

I'd found a neat CLI tool I wanted to use on npm. I didn't know anything about Node at the time, but I wanted to try this thing out, and ended up fixing an issue I had with it.

At the time I was in a dead-end job, and was trying to get into doing websites for clients as a freelancer (just HTML and CSS, which I'd been doing since the early 2000s for fun anyway – my very first 'real' website was a Harry Potter Fanfic group side, called "The Raven's Claw").

Learning enough about Node to fix this little tool was a really interesting adventure, and I ended up deciding to pursue that a bit more. I went to a bootcamp (DevMountain in Provo, UT) and spent several months studying and building stuff 60 hours a week. Getting the chance to just focus on learning and trying to build stuff for a few months was a pretty great thing (and however you feel about code bootcamps, I think that's their real selling point, not any specific curriculum or anything).

I ended up mentoring at DevMountain for another three months, which was, I think, more beneficial than actually going through the program. Got a job right afterwards as a front-end dev for a pretty neat company, and now I've been doing this professionally for a little over a year, so I guess I can call myself I programmer.

I also grew up with a graphic designer mom and a sysadmin dad, so maybe I never really had a choice?


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 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


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 :)


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!


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. :)


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!


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!


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


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.


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


At a computer club in early 80s, drawing a snowman with 3 circles and writing a complex logic like:
IF A="Y"

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.


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?

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


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.


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.


First I was interested into becoming a scientist with physics, but got a trainee on a Research platform where all Computer scientists worked on something physics relevant like Mars so my interest began there ^


Hated programming in school because of the way I was taught. Graduated, wanted to be a security expert, then Python happened. It's too beautiful to leave. I'm in fact stuck in its awesomeness.


Glad you kept going even after that, many misunderstood coding because the way of learning was out of touch and monotonous. But others found the courage to look beyond.


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 :)


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.


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.


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:

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.

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

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

Now JS.


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 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!


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


In the late 1960's my father worked for Exxon (Esso in South America where we were on overseas assignment) and they sent him to IBM School to learn to program like they did for many controllers/accountants b/c who else was going to program in those days...

He came back and told me (5 years old) he learned to program and I was fascinated by the thought that you could tell a machine to do something.

That curiosity stuck in my mind as I kept thinking of how such a thing would work and when we returned to the US (San Francisco) he signed me up for a class taught at Dominican College in San Rafael. I was too young (12) to drive so I took a bus to/from class and I learned BASIC on a teletype with no screen, just a typewriter connected to a printer and a paper tape reader. We wrote a program to print calendars and images using text characters. I was hooked!

Subsequently he became the CFO of Zilog in Cupertino on Bubb Road and next door to the then nascent Apple computer. My father would complain about the "hippies" next door and their beer bashes. It sounded like fun to me!

My first real immersive language experience was simultaneously teaching myself C using K&R (book only, no compiler) and Forth running on my calculator - before the IBM PC/Apple II were available. My first "real" computer was a Victor 9000 that I bought on employee discount b/c I worked at Victor during the summer and taught myself ASM programming. I've since learned over 10 languages and I keep learning more each year.

One of my life goals is to get is out of the Turing Tarpit as I don't think what we've been doing all these years has changed much. We are still typing if/then statements in text editors. There has to be a better way!

Thanks, this has been a fun trip down memory lane!


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.


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.


... in 1981, if you didn't have a huge software budget, you typed in programs from a magazine. As a 5 year old, I did not have a software budget. So, I typed in programs from a magazine. That quickly lead to changing programs after the fact, which lead to changing programs while entering them.

Not much later, maybe when I was 6 or 7, I was able to write my own things .. although I still definitely prefer not starting from scratch, but rather modifying existing things.

I didn't become professional at it until 2010 or so, when an aspiring game studio offered me a chance, based on my messages at a forum. It's been a great time, ever since.


If I'd never heard of it called "web development" I probably would never have gotten into it. I was never very "math-y" but I was deep into HTML and CSS with Neopets and MySpace and LiveJournal, and my first job was as a secretary where I was a web admin (without the title or pay of course), the general Help Desk, and the "find-an-open-source-version-of-this-software-and-make-it-work-by-Sunday" person. I've worked for years in tech support now and after trying the college thing a few times realized I'd need to find an alternative to move up in the world, and I didn't want that alternative to be management.

So "web development" sounded like something I could do -- I knew HTML and CSS pretty well even if my eye for design isn't so hot. From there, I started realizing that programming languages are just that, languages, and anyone can learn them. It's not about any inherent ability, it's about problem-solving. I'm starting to see myself as a "web developer" and I'm thinking that being a "programmer" might not be beyond my abilities too.


I've been playing computer games since I was little, and had learnt to upgrade PC hardware from watching my uncle (to support my gaming hobbies, of course).

My first 'programming' experience however, was to create an alma mater website for my high school. The art club, which I am also a part of, asked me since they think I am good with computers. I said yes, even though I didn't know anything about it. My only programming experience at the time was from doing a bit of BASIC in junior high. Regardless, I took the challenge and bought several books to guide me and give me inspiration. I set up the website in GeoCities, and added some effects using Javascript code I copied from those books. My friends seemed to like it :)

I continued making websites as a hobby in University; I maintained a website for work experience and learnt ColdFusion and CFML for a capstone project. By the time I completed Uni, I decided a career in programming was the way to go (I was a business / commerce major).


Never considered IT as a career for a second while at school in the 80s, I was good at languages and literature and figured I would end up a writer of some kind. Did a BA, worked in journalism sub-editing newspapers for a while, then my workplace introduced 'automated page layout' software which basically did a large chunk of my job. Figured it might be good to broaden horizons a bit so I learned some HTML then lucked into a job at a small web design business. From there I learned everything I could get my hands on, got progressively more and more backend, eventually doing everything from sysadmin to UI design. Now have been working as a full stack software developer for nearly 20 years! So I guess I did end up working with languages after all, just not in the way I expected :)


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!


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.


Same here! Wanted to figure out how people were adding music and fancy backgrounds to their user profile pages.


My first encounter with programming was a classmate who showed me how to use VBScript. I didn't really know what I was doing, but I could make messageboxes and the like.

Soon I found a program which allowed me to write some Visual Basic-esque code. I can't remember the name, but it was quite crappy.

Later, I studied Software Engineering and had C# as my first real language, along with the basics of software development. Later came C, Bash, Java and SQL.


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.


As a child I completed all PC games that were installed on my PC. Was surprised to find one more game on the desktop to play. So I double-clicked the "ping-pong" shortcut icon which opened Visual Basic 6... and ever since I am programming every single day.

PS: Not in VB6 anymore xD.


Was 8 back in 2008 when my father got me Small Basic, a simpler version of Visual Basic. I fondly remember making a game in which you had to click on the newest circle in the window, and a new one would appear every time. In 2009 I got a java book in Norwegian, and learned Java. Since then I've done C#, Python and C++ from stackoverflow. In that sense I'm as self-taught as can be, but I've picked up good coding habbits as well, I'm not just stiching togehter tiny examples from SO.
Currently trying to write a compiler. Having a blast, thanks dad!


I did physics for a year, had a programming course I didn't really like that much, but after failing physics i reconsidered it, and decided to just jump into a new study (applied programming) and I never stopped, I'm now a week away from starting my internship at Algolia


The summer after 3rd grade (so I was probably 9 years old) my mom took me to a community college course teaching QBASIC. Looking back I must've been super-annoying to everyone else there, but I understood things quickly and completed the course material rapidly. Years later I found out I'd also been doing algebra (which I was afraid of at the time) in this course.

I noodled around with simple text stuff for years afterward, partly inspired by the descriptions of the systems in the novel Jurassic Park (of all things...)

Later, working on a satellite (FASTRAC / Nanosat 3) at the University of Texas, I find out that the data acquisition tools are all written in Visual Basic. Oh yeah, I (mostly) know that, I can help with that. Then again and again throughout my aerospace career that kind of coding opportunity has come up. Fortran 77? No I don't know that, let me look at it...oh yeah, that's not that different, I can do what you want me to. C and C++ for a Win32 app running on a laptop on the space station? Yeah no problem, I got that. Lord knows what'll be next...


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.


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.


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...


In the mid nineties I was going to night school and cutting meat in the supermarket by day. Dad told me that I could make more money as a COBOL contractor, especially because of Y2k. Dad spent a year training me COBOL, where I had to recite the code! Got a QA job and taught myself HTML and JavaScript. Dad said Internet was a fad. After Y2k he was done and I had a good career. Owe him everything for putting me on the path.


Lego Mindstorms for my 13th birthday. The built-in drag-n-drop coding wasn't enough, so I learned NQC from The Internet, which was a simpler place back then - a Not Quite C language built on a hacked version of the Lego microcomputer's firmware, NQC taught me the basics of programming in an amazingly tangible way. It opened up a whole new world. Thankful every day for my parents encouragement, even though programming may have been greek to them.


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.

Classic DEV Post from May 6

Thoughts on legacy code, diversity and inclusion

TLDR; If you're still dropping snarky commentaries about PHP on Twitter, just grow up already.

Ben Halpern profile image
A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny.

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