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Jake Varness
Jake Varness

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What made you want to become a dev?

We all have those defining moments in our career or our education that made us realize that we wanted to become devs.

For me, it was in my first programming class when I wrote some Python code that added a couple of numbers together. It wasn't like a calculator or anything, it was literally:

print 3 + 4
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It sounds dumb, but when I ran that one line in Idle I said to myself "I made the computer do that... Whoa".

What was your dev-defining moment?

Top comments (42)

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aspittel profile image
Ali Spittel • Edited

I walked into a computer science classroom five years ago not knowing what code was. I had no context on how computers worked, how programming worked, or even what a programming language was. I quickly fell in love with writing Python, I thought it was awesome how I could build something useful and run it on my computer!

I re-fell in love with programming when I learned webdev with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. I could build webpages that were fully interactive relatively easily!

To quote the amazing Sandi Metz:

Those of us whose work is to write software are incredibly lucky. Building software is a guiltless pleasure because we get to use our creative energy to get things done. We have arranged our lives to have it both ways; we can enjoy the pure act of writing code in sure knowledge that the code we write has use. We produce things that matter. We are modern craftspeople, building structures that make up present-day reality, and no less than bricklayers or bridge builders, we take justifiable pride in our accomplishments.

This all programmers share, from the most enthusiastic newbie to the apparently jaded elder, whether working at the lightest weight Internet startup or the most staid, long-entrenched enterprise. We want to do our best work. We want our work to have meaning. We want to have fun along the way.

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jvarness profile image
Jake Varness

I've never heard that quote before today. Eloquently put ūüėĀ

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aspittel profile image
Ali Spittel

Ah! It's in the intro to her book "Practical Object Oriented Design in Ruby" which is probably my favorite coding book of all time -- highly recommend

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jvarness profile image
Jake Varness

Thanks for the reference! I like reading technical books so I'll need to check that out

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theredspy15 profile image
Hunter Drum • Edited

Wow, that's a really good quote!

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jfrankcarr profile image
Frank Carr

When I was in college in 1978 a friend of mine, a math major, asked me to go with him to take a look at a 'microcomputer' that had just arrived in the math department's computer lab, something called an "Apple II". They had it setup on a table sitting in between a couple of teletype machines and IBM punchcard machines. The guy in charge of the lab showed us an Apple BASIC program he had written that played some simple game. I signed up to take Computer Science 101 the next quarter so that I could learn how to do that.

I took a few twists and turns along the way, including a stint in the military followed by pursuing an MBA, before I went into programming as a career about 10 years later.

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kayis profile image
K (he/him)

Video games

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jvarness profile image
Jake Varness

Ever create your own? I haven't but I've wanted to try

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kayis profile image
K (he/him)

yes, but just small stuff

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zerquix18 profile image
I'm Luis! \^-^/

I'm currently 18 years old. Back in 2012, I was 13 years old and I was a Club Penguin player since 2009. In Club Penguin, there were some special penguins (managed by administrators) with the ability to give backgrounds and stamps to other penguins if they hung around together, so during parties people used to look for them everywhere.

Since we were bloggers, we had an image in our blogs with the location of the "special penguin", and that image was updated with a simple form in PHP. I wanted to build something better than that, so I built TrackYourPenguin. The system logged every update, allowed you to upload the images, have different themes, tweet the location of the "special penguin", and more, and it was easy to install (like WordPress, you didn't need to know about programming).

Also, just like in WordPress, I learned to add a button to update the entire system once there was a new update available. Many people enjoyed it, since it was the most complete system and they didn't need to know about coding. It was the project that taught me the most when I was a simple beginner.

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jvarness profile image
Jake Varness

Haha I only played Club Penguin like once but that's awesome that it was a source of inspiration for you!

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twof profile image
Alex Reilly

For me, I got my first laptop in 6th grade and found Applescript. I asked my dad what I could do with it, and he said pretty much everything. And with all that power at my fingertips, the first thing I did was make my computer say "fart". That's when I knew this was what I wanted to do :)

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damcosset profile image
Damien Cosset

I signed up for the free 14 days trial at Treehouse. I started with the Web development track and worked through the HTML and CSS stuff. After a week or so, my first website was out there on the web. The website had nothing special, an about page and a homepage. But I made it, all me, and it was an unbelievable feeling. From that point I was just curious to know what was possible with programming. And here I am :)

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jvarness profile image
Jake Varness

That's pretty awesome! It's amazing how you can gain so much programming knowledge without going to school these days.

It's amazing how your skills can evolve so greatly over time too, isn't it? Just think about how you started out: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and now you're blogging on dev.to about React and Meteor! I started with Python and evolved to Windows and Android apps and beyond!

wat

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Alex Gwartney

For me it was when I was in high school and got into 3D modeling which led me down the road of game development. And then after that I just started to explore a million other avenues of programming and landed in web development after I realized just how powerful and limitless it can become. Once I decided I wanted to get into web I played around in a few different languages like ruby and php and eventually every thing clicked the most with JS. And I have been taking it from there.

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jvarness profile image
Jake Varness

JS is where it's at nowadays!

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alexgwartney profile image
Alex Gwartney

Yep! and I honestly cant be more happy to see where it goes in the future.

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ethan profile image
Ethan Stewart

I spent my first two semesters of college still deciding what to do. I liked messing around on the computer (just games and Internet browsing), so I kinda wanted to see if there was anything I would enjoy doing that actually involved the inner workings of a computer. Still not sure exactly where I decided that or why... But I was hooked a few weeks into my first intro to programming class. This was in large part because of my professor, who is the type of man that can see when a student is really starting to understand and enjoy coding and help build your enthusiasm. After this first class, which taught the basics of coding with JS, I took almost every programming class I could find between the Info Tech and Computer Science departments. I spent a lot of time with Java and C++ for a couple years before getting a web dev internship (which has turned into a great salaried position) and finding it to be my strongest passion as far as coding goes. So I'm still not entirely sure what made me want to look into programming, but the thrill of seeing something work and knowing I wrote the code behind it, and the fun I have making that happen, have been enough to keep me going for four years now, with no plans to stop anytime soon.

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z0al profile image
z0al • Edited

When I was a kid, I dreamt of building a Robot, I had no idea where to start and no mentors, that is why I thought I need to go to CS college. I couldn't learn programming (or even how to simply use a PC) before I made it to the university for many reasons.

Two years ago, I graduated from CS college, didn't build a Robot or even know how to, but this time I know where to start :)

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Rufaro Madamombe • Edited

When I decided to become a Dev, I had no clue how I was going to do it but I just knew that it was for me. I knew deep inside that I just loved computers, maybe it's because I grew up with tech around me.

Now, that sounds vague and all but my intuition was reinforced when I actually started coding because of a startup idea and fell in love coding. Kind of the same way you put it, here I was making magic using a keyboard and that blew my mind away so I kept on learning and still continue to learn because I love the adventure that coding brings.

I've shared a bit about my journey as a self taught developer before so you could take a look at that article if you're interested to know more because I'd just be repeating the same story.

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jvarness profile image
Jake Varness

That's an inspiring story Rufaro. I think that even the most experienced people find that on their journey that there is still so much to learn. Your story shows that no matter how experienced you are or how long it takes, the important thing is to never stop learning and to have perseverance.

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Henrik Härkönen

I think it was a long continuation from the late 80's, when I was about 9 years old. It was then when we got our family's (well, practically it was mine) first computer, an Amstrad CPC 6128 and it came with couple of games. After playing two days some silly soccer game I felt kind of disappointed. "Is this all I can do with it??" I remember thinking back then. Not long after I realized that I could actually make the computer do stuff by typing these long listings of commands to a BASIC interpretator. POW! Mind was blown. After that, all I wanted to do, is make the computer to do stuff. Quite soon the situation was such that there wasn't any question that I'd wouldn't go all the way to a university to study this stuff. It was sort of a "active drifting journey" to this profession. :)

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jvarness profile image
Jake Varness

It's sort of interesting how dumb we think computers are until we realize how smart we can make them ūüėĀ

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larswaechter profile image
Lars W√§chter • Edited

The first the I came in touch with coding was around 4 years ago in school. Here, we developed a calculator with Pascal. At this moment my interest awoke in coding but I wasn't really fascinated by it. One year later I made a two week internship at a company that creates shopping systems.

My task was to work on a dashboard with Node.js on the backend. At this time I had no idea of HTML, CSS or JS. So in the first days I just started to learn the basic stuff before I took a deeper look at Node.js.

At the end of my internship, I created a dashboard with some cool features like a pinboard and so on. For sure, it was not perfect and it had many bugs but nevertheless I loved it. During this time I really 'fell in love' with coding and I realized that this is what I want to do in future.

I was faszinated by the result and what I've learnt in these two weeks. Moreover, I realized the endless possibilities you have with coding. It was something like a completley new world to me.

So I kept working on it at home during my schooldays and tried out more and more.

Today, I can say quite sure that this internship was the trigger for my decision to become a developer.

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Alexx Martínez

I decided to become a developer when I was 23 years old and realized that my life was heading nowhere, had no aspirations, and I had been working as a call center agent for over 5 years.

It has been difficult, and even through I don't work as a developer yet, I know that the hard work will pay off, and most important, I have a goal and a reason to wake up and work.

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David Muckle

Same reason I enjoy videogames. "See that mountain? You can climb it." Except with programming you can do more than climb the mountain: You can shape the mountain, cap it with snow, place every bush and boulder on the path up. You can make that mountain your mountain. And in this age, you can show it, this miniature world, to the whole of the real world.

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Jordan Roskelley

Firstly, I have enjoyed video games my whole life (I learned to read because of the Kings Quest games). So I've always been drawn to computers. Then, in junior high it was time to take career aptitude tests and I realized it was time to start considering what career I would like. My uncle is a programmer, so I saw that it provided well for his family, allowed him to be home, etc. I liked this, so I decided I'd check it out. I struggled through the first couple years of college, because I felt like I couldn't do anything real. I could write command line apps, plunk out a few classes in java, but that was it. Then, in one semester, I took databases, html and python, and that is when it all clicked. I could write a web page, that talked to a server, which stored things in a database. Suddenly, the internet wasn't magic, but just servers and databases. I felt so empowered, I've been hooked since.

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Sorry, it's true.