How I became a Windows developer

Dominque Terry was 12 years old when he got his first computer.

Growing up in a single-parent household where luxuries were few and far between, it was an unexpected treat.

The computer was a Dell desktop with a Pentium 3 processor. Soon, Dominque started upgrading the computer, replacing the hard drive and video card and troubleshooting the operating system to make it work faster.

“That’s what led to my love of programming,” he said. “Ever since then, I’ve been hooked. I wanted to build tools for myself that helped me be more productive.”

That early interest in technology blossomed years later into a career as a full-time Windows developer. Dominque began coding in college and now at 29, Dominque has created more than a dozen Windows 10 apps with a cumulative download of more than 21,000. He also runs his own Windows-based software development company, Pragmatic Dev Solutions, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Hockey Playbook app

His Windows apps include sports-coaching apps My Basketball Playbook (more than 5,000 downloads) and Soccer Playbook; a goal-mapping app (Vision Board); and an app to help people who, like him, suffer from Myasthenia Gravas, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease. Called “Living with Myasthenia Gravas,” the app has a simple user interface so users can track, from one to 10, the degree of their symptoms such as muscle fatigue, difficulty in swallowing or breathing, and weakened arm and hand strength.

He started developing for Android first, but switched to Windows because of the platform’s low cost of entry (a one-time $19 registration fee), the easy-to-use developer tools and Developer Center benefits, and its supportive developer community. In addition, he pointed out, Windows allowed his apps to stand out in Windows Store and earn more revenue.

“Why not create innovative apps for this platform instead of creating apps for an already-crowded marketplace?” he said. “Windows has a better chance for discoverability.”

Learning by doing

It’s been established that some genes can skip a generation. Dominque’s mother, who works a nurse, didn’t get her first computer until just a few years ago. But his grandfather had a lifelong interest in technology, and he was the one who gave Dominque his first computer.

In middle school and high school, Dominque learned as much he could about computers, building them on his own time and becoming the de-facto IT guy for his friends and family.

“To this day, I get friends who call me and say, ‘Can you fix my computer?’” he said.

But even though he loved tinkering with computers, Dominque didn’t think he had a natural aptitude for tech. As a student at DeVry University, he took his first programming class, and it was a struggle.

“I didn’t even like it at first,” he said. “I didn’t think I was any good.”

Unbeknownst to him, that’s when he started down the road as a Windows developer. You could say Dominque developed his Windows app almost as a fluke.

To help himself do better in a computer-information systems class, he created his own ratio-analysis calculator using C++. When his classmates found out about it, they started using it, too. The web calculator became so popular that Dominque eventually created a mobile version of the app, and it’s now available in the Windows Store as Ratio Analysis.

In his free time, when he’s not building software for local businesses, Dominque is developing more Windows 10 apps and is excited about the Windows mixed reality news announced at Build 2017 and about the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. One of the new apps is a wedding budget planner, and another is a savings goal tracker.

“I’m a creative person,” he said, “and I like the freedom and flexibility that Windows gives me.”

If you’re curious about developing your own Windows apps, head over to the Windows Dev Center. You’ll learn about the Universal Windows Platform and get the tools, SDKs, tutorials, and other information you need to get started as a Windows developer.

Do you have a story or know someone passionate about Windows development like Dominque? Reach out on Twitter and we might feature you in our next blog!

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