What made you want to become a dev?

jvarness profile image Jake Varness ・1 min read

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?


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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.


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


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

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


Wow, that's a really good quote!


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.


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.


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


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


yes, but just small stuff


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.


JS is where it's at nowadays!


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


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 :)


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!



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 :)


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.


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.


A good friend exposed me to QBasic when I was in 6th grade. I also got exposure to a game called ZZT which has a Basic type of scripting language. I was fascinated by the construction of the code and what I could do to tell a computer what to do. From there I aspired to be a developer getting my B.S in Computer Science.


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.


This post has been up for almost 2 weeks now! I still can't believe I'm getting responses!

It's been a pleasure hearing about everyone's journey.

I think the most interesting thing to see is how different everyone's experiences have been. For some, we started out as non-technical people and we quickly grew into the role. For others, our passions grew from our hobbies.

No matter where we came from though, there's one thing that unites us:

Damn do we love code.

Keep it up y'all 😁


I had a similar experience. I was first introduced to programming in my first semester of College in 2007. My first programming language was "C", I didn't really like it much because I didn't see the importance of it, since most of the programs I wrote were console programs. It wasn't until the following semester I was introduced to Java and the first basic assignment was to build a simple GUI with a button component. When the button is pressed it displays "hello world". After I compiled and executed the application I was blown away. I was like "Wow I made this!?!?" from then on my interest in programming skyrocketed and loved it ever since then and I knew I had found my passion. Fast forward 10 years later and I'm working as a Software Engineer and I love it!


Well, almost five years before, I bought a computer and I have finally got internet access in my own house, then all the time since I was a kid I wanted to make videogames. My computing teacher told me a few years before that C++ language was easy, and the same day that the internet was installed I put in google "programming languages for make videogames", and C++ appeared again other languages were there too like C# VisualBasic.NET but, C++ convinced me, I dowloaded Dev C++ and two hours after I've written my first Hello world. I have to say that my first C++ Teacher was Jesus Conde, his youtube channel still active 'till today.

Today I work as a Junior Programmer, well Im not making videogames yet but I'm still working on it ;)


I was a mathematic student, when I came into my friend's room, he was learning VB 6. He was making a small program that adds two numbers and prints the result. I was amazed by it, I borrowed his book, and started learning to program and planned to create a card game. But I was stuck when things got complicated. I said to myself that I need a proper education for this, so I quit mathematic and joined computer science next year. Best decision I've ever made.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 :)


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. :)


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


Games. It was my enjoyment of playing computer games which got me interested in computers and considering it as a career option.

I remember first learning to program in Q Basic in the early-to-mid 90's by borrowing books from the local library and copying the code listings to make little games such as a racing car game where the car was a hash character with a colon character each side for the wheels and the sides of the track were vertical pipes.

Of course much of the fun was figuring out how they worked, altering these programs to see what affect the changes had, as well as adding additional features.

When it came time to go to Uni there were no game development courses that I could find in my country, so I chose a more general "Business Computing" course where I discovered web development. The mixture of coding logic and visual creativity strongly appealed, and still does appeal, to me.


To be honest, I got into this because it was such an "in" thing. At first, I really thought this was a gateway pass to a good career, meaning it was well paid and highly regarded (even if it wasn't like other certified courses like being a Doctor or Lawyer).

I got into coding bootcamp with that goal in mind: for a well paying job that looked "cool".

So I went to class in the bootcamp, did my work, tried my best, and asked and sometimes not ask. Sometimes, I was stuck in a problem but I would hesitate in asking, and then my teacher come up right behind me and point out the missing piece in my code. Or he would suddenly explain the javascript code I found in StackOverflow, but couldn't understand.

Same goes for my first ever boss. He founded a small company here in the Philippines and it's only us 6 employees working, so he's very hands-on. He teaches us everything he can. He encourages us to ask when we're stuck. And he gives us code reviews and tips whenever he has the time.

So to conclude, maybe I didn't have any code-defining moment. But I feel so blessed to be around people who teach me and pass their knowledge to me. It feels good to learn. And like how Ali Spittel quote Sandi Metz: "we can enjoy the pure act of writing code in sure knowledge that the code we write has use."


It mainly links being to me wanting to know how things worked. When I was a kid I'd be taking apart anything I could find to see how it would work on the inside. Including my family's computer. Which I couldn't fix. Once i learned about hardware I got interested in what was being used to make the interfaces and software we see possible. So I started searching around and messed with some batch scripts. From there it just sort of took off.


I always tot of websites and web applications as mistries beyond my imagination (lol), until the day a friend shared with me a book 'an intro to HTML and css'. Writing a simple hello world program and running it on my browser....Mehn that changed everything for me, I so much then desired to join the misterious gang of developers


A bet and an IQ test!
I'm petty like that!


Mine is the idea of the power the computer has to be able to build things and the joy that comes along which all seems like a magic to me


Wanted to make a MCEdit plugin, got carried away. Never ended up making my plugin :P