In middle school I started out by working on an Animal Crossing fansite with some folks I met on the Nintendo forums. Someone else handled the hosting and everything, but I had access to create content via a WYSIWYG that let you drop down into HTML. I learned some rough, early 2000s HTML this way. I'm talking things like <table>s for layout, inline CSS styles, background MIDI music, etc. Later I moved on to a Runescape fansite (😂) and helped contribute some Java applets, but still the same sort if deal.
Unfortunately my rural Midwestern high school didn't emphasize tech very much as a viable career path so I decided to go into the sciences -- so I started my undergrad as a Biology major with a pre-med concentration. During this time I didn't do much, if any, coding.
A few years in I realized that I really wasn't interested in becoming a doctor and the thought of four more years of school to become a pharmacist really wasn't appealing. Then one day I saw a magnificent feature-length Daft Punk music video called Tron Legacy.
This sounds kind of dumb, but it reminded how much I used to enjoy computers and the (very basic) coding I had done as a kid. It inspired me to reach out to a CS advisor late in my Junior year. So I did that and decided to try double majoring in Biology and Computer Science. This was pretty late in my undergrad career so tacking on CS meant taking a 5th year and really cramming in all of those required classes.
I regret not having a chance to do any software engineering internships, but I was able to get some initial experience by:
A bit of a roundabout journey, but now I'm here. If you've read this far, sorry for the wall of text! 😊
Hey no apologies, these stories are awesome and it’s so nice that a lot of people have a winding path. My friend did a similar degree but didn’t get into the exciting world of web development.
I also love that a lot of these stories involve the weird and wonderful early era of the web with Geocities and MySpace and such. What a time is was to be alive
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