My Language Path


Everyone has to start somewhere. For me, I started early without knowing it. Somewhere in late Middle School or early High School I had to buy a graphing calculator for school, and ended up with a TI-85 new out of the box. Now, I should have known early on that something was abnormal in my brain because like always, the first thing I did when I opened my calculator was read the Instruction Manual.

I read the entire Manual (365 Pages) from front to back in a matter of days, and soon I was writing simple programs that would print equations to the screen (very helpful for tests where the equations were not provided), and it wasn’t long at all until I was writing the programs to complete the problems instead of printing the equations (coincidentally I struggle with simple math to this day, but have no issues writing programs to do fairly complex math problems). I did not know it then, but I was programming in a variation of BASIC. Several years passed, I discovered girls, and programming fell by the wayside. My academic interests moved away from technology and towards foreign languages. All was well until a friend gave me an Ubuntu Live CD in 2005. I immediately fell in love with Linux, and the abnormality of my brain pushed me to read every thread I could get my mouse on at ubuntuforums.org. It wasn’t long at all until I was writing BASH scripts to complete complex tasks, such as dealing with the aftermath of recovering files from a corrupted file system by consolidating several hundred thousand files from several hundred randomly named folders into a series of folders by file type. At this point I was in college, double majoring in Spanish and German, and generally feeling miserable about being in a program that did not challenge me intellectually. My beautiful Wife convinced me to take Web Design as an elective with her, and my life changed drastically. As soon as my fingers started typing code (if html even counts), I knew that I had found my “calling”. I dropped the Foreign Language majors, and became a Computer Science major. I was initially intimidated by the prospect of my first programming class (circumstances that semester caused me to join the class about two weeks late), but as the Professor (Don Bailes, who coincidentally has taught me both of the programming languages that I “fell in love with”) walked me through my first “Baby Steps” in Java I knew I was in the right place. The next semesters were a blur: I moved from simple command line age calculators to PostNet Barcode generators, my first GUI apps, to PHP, ColdFusion, and SQL. With every language I learned, I understood the fundamental concepts more and more thoroughly, which pushed me to learn even more. I learned C# (which is to this day my favorite language), JavaScript, PL/SQL, and most recently Python. It has been a long and complicated path, but I have enjoyed (almost) every bit of it. What was your Language Path? Where do you plan to go with it next?

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