How I became interested in computers
It all started with an Apple Macintosh II… or was it the Macintosh Classic II?
I was about four years old. I don’t remember the circumstances, but basic typing skills were introduced at my school. Exposure to Windows 95 and 98 followed. At 12, I gained access to a Dell laptop―something like the Inspiron 5100―running Windows XP. It became my playground. When my 40GB HDD was running low, I examined root files for wasted space, inferring which were unnecessary. How could they be important files if I didn’t understand their names? I was almost universally wrong, summoning the Blue Screen Of Death. Friends would reinstall Windows, and the cycle would begin again. Eventually, I learned what probably shouldn’t be deleted―as well as what definitely shouldn’t be deleted―with some command-line arguments along the way.
High school introduced me to other computer geeks. They taught me to use Tor to access the dark web. MySpace let me experiment with HTML and CSS. I explicitly refused to use a Facebook account when I couldn’t customize its markup. We used PortableBox and proxies to subvert school network restrictions, drafting a senior prank to password-lock the BIOS of the library computers. We held LAN parties and ranked the top RGB lighting configurations in our builds sourced through NewEgg. We launched private forums to anonymously express teenage angst and posted edgy digital artwork on DeviantArt. We shared programs with 256 MB USB drives and installed unreleased versions of Windows someone’s uncle had shared… or something. We played D&D, competed in Botball tournaments, and spun glow-sticks listening to Darude. We were were kids.
After high school, I started working full-time. I didn’t realize I could build on this experience and turn it into a career―I didn’t have an influence in my life to tell me it was possible. The only memory I have of family members with regard to computers is anger―anger for me spending too much time on them, and the incitement of fear upon the expression of that anger. I thought computers weren’t something you could “do” as a job. I didn’t know any better, and I didn’t ask.
Working with computers became my job. It was a job that I didn’t know existed. If I could re-do my path, I would have moved in this direction much sooner. But I can’t. Even if I didn’t make it early, I made it, as I’ve discovered a fulfilling career.
Interested in the whole story of how I obtained my first job as a web developer? Read about it here.