I barely did any coding in high school, and whenever I used my computer I spent most of the time gaming. There were no real courses in high school that introduced computer programming, and for whatever reason I didn’t have the curiosity or interest to learn anything outside of school. I spent most of the time trying to get good marks and focused on my strength, science. It didn’t help that I believed that anything to do with computers required lots of math. Math was a weak point for me in high school, and I got poor marks in calculus. I knew this would not be acceptable for university applications, so I retook the class the year after and ended up with high 90s. But the damage was done, and nobody told me that this wasn’t an obstacle to learning about how computers worked. To be fair, it was my fault for never bothering to ask. But why would I have asked? I already knew that computers obviously require tons of math, duh!
I got admitted to life science at the University of Toronto and studied hard on science and science only. I got onto the dean’s list for my first year, but it at the cost of basically all my free time. It was so bad that for the entire year I had lost contact with my friends who I normally played games with. There was no chance for me to learn anything on my own at this time.
Looking into my future course load I saw that all my education would start to get more and more focused and specialized. I figured that I should broaden my horizons while I could and take electives in completely different subjects. I considered taking courses in Japanese, economics and computer programming. I ended up teaching myself Japanese over the summer and left the other two courses for school.
The computer programming course was CSC108H1, where they taught computer programming for one semester in Python. Coincidentally I ran into an acquaintance from high school in the lectures and we decided to team up for the partner projects. It went over the basics like variables, loops, object oriented programming, and used an IDE called Wing. Embarrassingly, I remember having trouble understanding the difference between print and return. There were issues with the partner projects since my partner always had a reason for not showing up and doing the work, but I was enjoying programming so much that I didn’t care about doing them alone. This should have been an obvious sign that I should have considered software as a career path early on, but at this point I had tunnel vision focusing on getting into pharmacy school.
After taking the course, I always had Python installed on my machines. I would tinker around with it once in a while and create odd scripts once in a while but I wouldn’t create anything serious for nearly another 10 years.