I had a goal to become a Computer Programmer when i was in High School.
So in high school I had a computer programming class my sophomore year (it was Basic on an Apple / MAC).
In my home town, there is a Utah State University (USU) extension across the street from the high school. So we didn’t have any Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Instead, we were just given release time from high school and we went and took a college course. My Junior year I was going to take a computer programming class at the USU extension but not enough people signed up so they canceled it and I ended up in a computer graphics course. I did get into College Algebra/Pre-calc. My senior there was still no programming class and somehow my counselors screwed up and pulled me out of Calculus because I supposedly didn’t have enough art credits, which it turns out I had plenty of because because I had taken computer graphics and they just “forgot” to count it towards art.
I went to the University of Utah (U of U) after I graduated, but again, things were stacked against me. None of my friends came with me. They ran out of room in the Freshman dorms and stuck me in the graduate dorm with the weird oriental guy who was four years older than me and smoked. The lowest level computer programming class was not exactly simple and didn’t teach programming. The class spent all lecture talking about true false theory and then without even an introduction to C++, told us to write some C++ programs. They didn’t even require a C++ book for the course and in 1995 I am not sure there was a Sams Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days (5th Edition) or such books and so I had no idea where to even start. My Dad lost his work and then I wrecked my car and used both those reasons as an excuse to just do a full hardship withdrawal of my courses.
I got side-tracked writing fantasy for the next little while. I server two years as a missionay for my church in the Dominican Republic and came home having forgotten that I wanted to be a developer. My brother moved to Provo and I wanted to live with him when I got home so I moved to Provo too. Which led to me going to Brigham Young University (BYU) where I got a degree in English (emphasis in Creative Writing, technical writing and editing) and a Minor in Spanish. I kept trying to get a Minor in Computer Science but there were just no night classes at all in CS. To help me get my degree I had started by getting my MCSE by taking a night training course the fall of 1999. Then I got a job at Convergys where Microsoft outsourced there Windows 2000 support. I was a Technical Lead for a support team there. Then I moved to the Nortel Networks account (they also outsourced to Convergys) where I was a router support engineer, a L3 switch support engineer, a Load-balancer Layer 7 switch support engineer, then a Technical Trainer, and somewhere in there I became an expert at wireless networking, learned FreeBSD, learned php, and started an open source project using FreeBSD, Apache, Mysql, and PHP. Convergys provided a tuition reimbursement, so they reimbursed my tuition until I graduated with my English degree in August of 04. Did I mention that I was an Assistant Fiction Director at Leading Edge Magazine? Check out issue 46 where i am listed under “Staff” and issues 47 and 48 where I am listed as “Assistant Fiction Director”.
So as you can see, even thought I was working on an English degree and as a hobby writing poetry and fiction stories, I was still working with computers and as a second hobby learning FreeBSD, Apache, MySQL, PHP.
Well, in August of 2004 I not only graduated but I got married, got a new job with LANDesk and moved to a new apartment (with just my new wife and I, of course).
At LANDesk, it being a software company, I was exposed to development more and my desire to get back into it returned. I went through a few books all on my own:
- Sams Teach Yourself C in 21 Days (6th Edition)
- Sams Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days (5th Edition)
- Cross-Platform GUI Programming with wxWidgets
- Microsoft Visual C# 2008 Step by Step
Then I took some classes at Salt Lake Community College, which were mostly in Java.
I started doing some small development projects and completed two add-ons for LANDesk.
A development position opened in Support, working with our internal support tools, data warehousing, reporting, etc…I applied and some how, my work paid off and I got the position. Now as was my original high school goal, I am a developer. Official title: System Analyst / Developer.
I am loving it.