So It Begins…

My journey into the world of software development has only just begun, but I already have so much I can reflect on and so many stories to tell.

My interest in coding goes way back. I’ve been playing video games since before I could talk, and many of my earliest and most prominent memories involve them in some way. In middle school I read a book about video game design and learned that programming languages were the primary tool used to create games, so I asked my parents to get me something that would teach me how to code. Eventually I got a program for use with our family Macintosh Performa that was designed to teach Visual Basic to kids. I managed to make a few small programs, but I put it on the back burner to focus on other activities I was doing at the time. I tried to get into a magnet school called High Tech High School that actually had classes on coding and other topics that would help me become a game designer, but due to my weak math skills I didn’t pass the entrance exam. I still think about how different my life could have been if I went there instead of public high school.

High school was a difficult time in my life due to the death of my parents and other life-changing events. I found a great deal of solace, community, and self-expression through music. I also discovered my aptitude for the subjects that comprise the humanities, but my ability in math continued to degrade. This trend led me down a path where I eventually went on to study Japanese language & culture (something I had always been interested in), music, and an eclectic variety of other topics at university. I have been working since I was 16 and have been mostly self-sufficient since age 18 out of necessity, and as a result I’ve tried my hand at many different jobs. Combine all that with graduating college during the deepest depths of the recession with no safety net to fall back on, and it probably isn’t hard to imagine why it took me a bit longer than others to find a career path that is both rewarding and attainable. I’ve navigated my way through many storms, and while I’m a little worse for wear, I’m here and I’m finally walking a path that will lead to success and fulfillment.

While I had dabbled in the past, I didn’t really begin my training as a developer until September of 2016. Just when I had finally given up the notion of attending a bootcamp due to my financial situation, Fullstack Academy (which was already my top choice) announced their 50 States of Code scholarship. I worked harder than I had in years to level up my skills and gather personal recommendations for the scholarship application. A few months later I was accepted into the program and offered a partial scholarship. The process of finding the money to cover the remaining tuition was a trying one, but a handful of friends banded together and made it happen just when it was looking like it might be years before I had the money to both support myself during the program and pay the tuition. It has been a totally transformative experience and I am extremely grateful to them and Fullstack Academy for taking a chance on me.

Well, that’s my background in a nutshell. I’ve been something of a vagabond throughout my adult life, and I intend to change that using the skills I am learning at Fullstack Academy. In this blog I will be writing about the things I’m working on in class, other side projects and points of interest, and eventually my life as a professional software engineer. It’s been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but also one of the most rewarding. I hope that the people who read this can benefit from the lessons I’ve learned.