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How a single line of code changed my life

rfunk82 profile image Ricardo Funk Updated on ・4 min read

It was 2012 and my career was going nowhere. That day a co-worker, Otto Lombardo, showed me a single line of code that changed my life for ever, this is the story of how I became a software developer.
I was introduced to computers by my cousin, playing the game “Street Rod” back in 1992 circa. It was love at first sight, I remember asking my mother to take me to his house so I could play again and again. No later than that my mother signed me up to take a computer course, DOS, Windows 3.1, Lotus 1–2–3, DBase! I was an exited 10 year old! I started getting early to my computer class so I could get more time with the computer. That was until my parents were able to buy me one, I remember endless days playing Carmen San Diego.
Now let’s fast forward a couple of years. I moved from Argentina to the United States when I was 15 years old, I had to wait about a year until my parents got me my first computer, a black Sony PC, amazing! And now there was this thing called the Internet, it was 1999 and I would spend all night writing my websites in Notepad to then upload it to AngelFire hosting service. I even received a gold (24 kt.) CD signed by Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer as a gift for testing MSN. Those were the days, having fun, hacking from time to time and feeling great.

A couple of years later I decided to fix my computer, I learned a few tricks and all of the sudden I had an interview with a computer company in New York. Wow! I walked in there and saw all these bins full of computer parts, I reached the promise land. I became a network engineer and I have to say that I could fix any computer/network problem, I was good at it… but I wasn’t completely happy. I always enjoyed creating things and now I realized the career I had for about 8 years was about fixing things, not creating. And that’s when it happened. A co-worker showed me a line of code in Delphi that could print a message “Hello Ricardo!” THAT WAS MAGICAL! That was it for me, I instantly knew I wanted to become a software developer. I went home, downloaded delphi and within a week I had the same interface of the software we had at work up and running. I even tricked the co-founder and developer of the software thinking I hacked the software and changed the menu. That was so much fun!
But now what? Should I keep learning “Delphi”? and then if I want to sell something I developed I had to burn it in CD’s? I was lucky that a friend of mine suggested to learn iOS “You can just build it and put it up in the App Store!”. It took me about a year to learn the basics, remember, I had no background in development. I spent hours and hours, reading, watching videos, writing stuff. My friend and I would start Saturday at 9 am non-stop until Sunday 2–3 am (or until my wife said enough!). I was able to build a prototype of an application that helped me land my first job…almost 3 hours away from home! For about 6 months I would spend 5 to 6 hours in commute. I lived in Queens, NY and my first job as an iOS Developer was in Summit, NJ. It was worth it! I would spend half of the time reading about development and the other half trying to get some sleep. I have to admit it was brutal but that job helped me get a job much closer to my house, about 40 mins away in Manhattan, NY. Around that time I was able to win a development competition that included a grand prize of $20,000 (Link) I couldn’t ask for more.

I was able to get a certification from New York University and later I was invited as a guest speaker and also hired to do some development work. I started to go to conferences and even speak at some of them. This is the life I dreamed of, I was living my american dream!

NYU

I’m currently working at MediPortal, we are trying to disrupt the Healthcare industry. I’m in charge of all mobile solutions. Now the hours don’t matter, I work at night, during the day, the weekends. When you enjoy what you do, you don’t look at the clock and think “I want to go home”. It wasn’t easy to get here but it was worth it. See, there is a secret, are you ready? Anyone can do it! I always think of the phrase Steve Jobs said:
“Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”
If there is something I would want to achieve is motivate someone just like Otto motivated me. Go out there and start living your dream. There is nothing you can’t do and you are the only one preventing it from happening. Be crazy, be bold. Make it happen!

Thanks for reading. I’m Ricardo Funk (@rfunk82 ). If you like this piece, there’s a lot more where it came from. I enjoy Developing code and applications that bring innovation. Passionate about writing, development and life.

Discussion

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hasnandurrani profile image
hassi durrani

its really amazing to read your history ..... <3

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rfunk82 profile image
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ombasan profile image
ombasaN

awesomely amazing

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amrutprabhu profile image
Amrut Prabhu

That was really awesome. I remembered my days, somewhere in 2004 when I had just searched online, how can you code a computer(I was like 15 years old, with dial-up connection). so then I heard of C programming language. Then I searched more and started learning C programming. It was really fascinating for me that I could create something that make the computer do for me. I still remember the printf statement which just prints what I want when I run the program. From that day, it changed my life's course itself. Today I am software developer at TomTom. It was really nice reading your post.

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rfunk82 profile image
Ricardo Funk Author

Thanks Amrut. My only regret is not discovering software development earlier!

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Francis T.

Hi, as you said "would spend all night writing my websites in Notepad" at ~16y.o, with dBase (database) knowledge before (10y.o). I think those were great starting point for software development.
I don't know why a-Delphi-hello-work become "Eureka" ten year later...

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rfunk82 profile image
Ricardo Funk Author

I guess I just didn't know how to move forward from making websites, I did make some money but I just didn't know how to translate that into a career. Also, about dBase, I was kid, different times (Around 1995), so it was more of learning stuff just for fun, but nonetheless, it's a great point you making.

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Amrut Prabhu

But its better late then never. :)

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Peter

I learned developing software also as a lateral recruit, but I didn't sacrifice so many hours ... for what? If this is the American Dream I don't want it. If refuse a life where work is the only important thing. Developing software is a real cool job and I love it, but I cannot imagine becoming old continuing to develop software my entire life. There is so much more.

Beside of this, I regard programming only a tool, a means to an end.

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KukavicaHome

I was begining porograming on vcax8800.120 mb of ram when Bill Gates worked on 64 kb..I did evrything whith vector graphics whith gks..Bill Gates is buisnissman..Young people belive that is new computer technology is somthing revolutionary...nothing reviluthionary in 40 years except javascript...

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Sophat Vathana

You're programmer really awesome, I remembered a single line of HTML changes my life. I found HTML book accidentally in trash bin but I don't have a computer, I went borrow a computer from my friend for one night, I didn't sleep for a night. that is amazing when I saw HTML is rendered in IE it's very interesting and then I start research about programming languages I start to wonder how people create awesome things like this.

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Ricardo Funk Author

That's an amazing story. I'm pretty sure that moment you saw HTML rendering in IE was magical.

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Somesh Thakur

your story really is great man. simple yet deep.
and that quote by Jobs you put there, it's still swirling in my mind.

"What you call 'life' was created by people no smarter than you..."

So deep and profound. WOW

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Carlos García

Something similar happened to me. When I was a child, I used to play with my cousins The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in an old Nintendo 64. We are from México, so in those times buying videogames was difficult so we replayed that game a lot. My dad was a Network Engineer, he is very passionate about tech so we always have talks abouts networks, engines, and so on. I think that, the combination of those two things: my dad's passion for engineering and my discovery of videogames and computers , made me took the decision of becoming a developer. Now a days I study Computer Science, and I can tell you something: that was the best decision in my life.

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Kiril Peychev

At some point I felt like reading about myself, but at some point I felt I'm going in the wrong direction.
It was first mIRC (not so much the chatting), then I made some servers, networks, I was also writing some html codes in Notepad, then some flash in Dreamweaver, very exciting stuff for me... But then I felt I'm going too much into it, I was sleeping on the keyboard, forgot to speak with people, I felt like I was not living in the outside world... maybe I sound weird, but that's what I felt at that point.
Sometimes I feel sorry that I didn't continued with programming - I had the passion... But I guess it was all because of the surrounding.
Then I got into Photography and it was a great passion. It was like escaping the virtual world and going back to the real one. Now I'm also into Graphic Design - again with computers, but some kind of balancing it all...
I know I may sound stupid, but when I read your story I feel very close to it.
It's a great story after all and congrats on your achievements!
Good luck and have a great inspiration! Cheers

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Ricardo Funk Author

Hey Kiril, your story sounds very much like mine. I also do love photography but only as a hobbie flickr.com/photos/143904346@N06/

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sousacanfly

I now understand the epidemic of bad usage of the word "engineer" in the USA. Most countries in Europe don't allow you to call yourself engineer unless you hold an engineer's degree.
Cool story though :)

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Ricardo Funk Author

I just published a follow-up article related to this one:

Welcome to my journey. In the next few paragraphs I will try to pinpoint the precise moments that made me a technology lover, a computer repair technician, a network engineer and a software developer. Basically, the moments in my life that made me who I am today.

Link: dev.to/rfunk82/how-i-became-a-soft...

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Yrineu Rodrigues

Ricardo, thanks a lot for sharing your experience with us! I would like to one day met you personally.

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Olumide

Inspiring story!!! Looking forward to getting better at development and telling my story too

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Ricardo Funk Author

Let me know, I would love to read it.

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lumie31 profile image
Olumide

Most definitely!!!

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rana5ohaib

Dont know how i got here, but thank god i did. Amazing to read your story, and i do personally believe that sometimes life bugs you and makes you question your previous decisions and that you should be brave enough to accept the reality and take risks.

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oliver oduma

i love your post and i want to be a software developer, can you help me?

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Ricardo Funk Author

Oliver, find resources online, I learned coding from youtube and just working on a project, something that I needed. Find that side project, that something that you need and start working on it. Go to the library, get books, read technical blogs, take free online courses.

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oliver oduma

Thank you for the advice. I will do as you said

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Gereltod

Such cool story!!!!! When I was kid & student, I had a lot of passion like you. I could spend nights. But now, it's different, i lost my way. How can I get passion & motivation again?

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Ricardo Funk Author

Hey Gereltod, thanks for your message. We all been there, we have our highs and lows. Find whatever it is that you love and push forward, if you feel that you lost your passion make sure is not an outside variable that affected you, like your current job or people around you. What I do to re-gain my passion if I feel like I'm loosing it is to find a project, something that I would love to use and start working on it.

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judexco

correct!! your response is fantastic

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Salli Figler

What a great story! Your determination and passion is being rewarded! There will be something great next for you.

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SaidBH

Thank you Ricardo!

What a touching story!

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nick profile image
Nick Rameau

Pretty cool story!

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Juan José Molina

Ojalá todos consigamos un trabajo que nos apasione tanto! Condenado al éxito :)

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judexco profile image
judexco

wow...ur story is so inspiring and motivating...i'm challenged..thanks alot

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Eproftech

wow this is amazing and encouraging. I jux started development, it hasn't been easy but i know i will get there. Thanks for the motivation.

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Ricardo Funk Author

Keep fighting!

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Arup Ratan Sarker

Excellent, inspiring for me.

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TheEnemy

DAMN good story.. i enjoyed reading it

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Sergii Ozinkovskyi

This story is very motivating!

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Haris Khan

I really like to read story like this and that's what drive my energy toward Programming ...

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Théristes Gomes

It is really amazing! I'm so glad to read your history, but I got a question, that actually it is an issue that I'd been stuck into. What it if you'd become an expert Delphi developer? training professionals, always getting new projects to do, been requested all the time, and you know how to develop in other languages too but not so far as you went with Delphi, and at the same time watching Delphi getting updated day by day, but getting far away from the others languages, I mean the massive development,
and watching all your friends getting into other languages like C#, Java and etc, because they are popular so.
what do you'd do? I mean, cuz you can be creative with Delphi, but also you fell alone as long you go at GitHub, StackOverflow and etc. What do you'd do?

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Ameya Pai

Really inspiring! Be crazy in one thing and you will achieve it for sure!

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Miguel Ángel Useche

I liked your story :) pretty cool!

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Haufila Johannes f.s

wow that is so interesting. Your words really motivated me and i really want to follow your footsteps