If you are interested in reading this article in Spanish, check out my blog The Developer's Dungeon
I grew up in an upper-middle-class home in a suburban neighborhood in Argentina. During my adolescence I was quite a mess:
- I liked punk rock so I wanted to wear a mohawk in a school where you had to wear shoes, shirt, and tie
- I fought with my father constantly
- I did not do well in school, mostly because I ditched class to go play magic the gathering or play video games.
After I turned 18, I didn't knew what I wanted to do with my life, I knew I had to go to college because that is what everybody does right?
Since my high school was business-oriented I signed up for a double major in Business Administration and Accounting at the University of Buenos Aires, the biggest university in the country.
Forward 5 years later, it was 2013 and I was 23 years old, I was still living with my parents, working 8 hours a day as a bank teller while going to university in the afternoon/night.
Pretty normal life right? probably everyone I know would have considered that a good path for someone who is progressing in his life.
For me, it was hell. I was not happy, although I was making progress at school I was half-assing it, I did not like what I was learning one bit, but I knew I wanted a good life and I thought that was the correct path to get one.
The funny thing is I have always been around technology I just didn't realize it could be the right thing for me. My father is a software engineer but our relationship is complicated so my attention was diminished, all my friends worked in software or IT.
It was one of those friends, Gaston, who probably knew me better than I did, that told me many times that I would love writing software. I have doubts if I could even understand it, but I decided to give it a try. He gave me a brief introduction and I got the book used in the first year of Engineering majors at my university and started learning algorithms, data structures, and C/C++.
I was immediately hooked.
I felt like I had discovered a new world.
I felt like I had gained magical powers.
This was something special.
I did spend many days and nights meditating about my life and what I wanted to do with it. I recognized that coding was something I was deeply interested like I never had been before, no one had to tell me to study, to read, to practice, I did it out of my own interest and curiosity about everything that this new world had to offer me. So I decided to make a full switch and become a software developer.
After I completely finished that book, the same friend, who is a .NET developer told me to read C# in Depth by Jon Skeet, I went over it and started doing C# with Windows Forms.
It is funny how one event can trigger multiple others, from that moment I used what I knew and started doing hacks for the same video games I used to play many years earlier.
Started small with some macros that would hit certain keys, then to reading and writing memory and then to creating DLLs that would Hook windows functions in order to read client-server traffic.
At the same time I got accepted at a C# Bootcamp given by Accenture, it was free but involved going there 8 hours a day for a month, which meant quitting my job as a bank teller. I decided to take a leap and do it, quitted my job and went through the Bootcamp.
I guess Gaston still saw potential in me because when I finished the Bootcamp he gave me a recommendation at his job. Two months later, I was working there as a .NET Developer, doing C#, Webforms and ASP.net MVC.
- I still come back home after working 8 hours and I code my ass off.
- When I work out I have a long list of software development podcasts.
- Before bed, I read software development related books.
- I give mentorship to starting developers on the weekends.
- I have worked in some open source projects including my own Visual Studio Code extension.
- I blog at least once a week.
This career has introduced me to amazing people and even gave me the opportunity to move outside the country and experience a different kind of life. After 6 years, I still think this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, I am very lucky that I found my calling in life and I had friends pushing me forward at the right time.
Your situation might be different, but if you feel related to my love story with software development, please do whatever is in your power to continue on this path, it's worth it, I just regret I didn't start earlier.
Now I can look back and see that all my choices, though scarier, were rooted in something powerful, the realization that this was the correct path for me.
I can't do the work for you, but I can give you my story as proof that it is possible, I can be there and push you forward when you need to, I can give you advice and guide you in your journey.
Thank you for reading this summary of my journey into development, a journey that is only just starting and I can't wait to see what the future has ready for me. If you liked this article, please share it.
The promise I made a few lines back was real, if you need help, DM on twitter or ask me your question right down in the comments, you have a new friend 😄