I started programming in the mid to late '80s when I was just a child. My family's first computer was a 486hz IBM clone with no hard drive and 4KB RAM. Video games were distributed through magazines or floppy disks. Back then, you would have to copy the instructions word for word into the command line to play games. One typo would crash the computer and have to start over. We did not have the resources we have today. You had to troubleshoot what was wrong on your own. That experience is how I became a self-taught computer programmer.
After high school, I had an internship at a local dial-up ISP. I was exposed to Linux for the first time there. During that time, I worked to get multiple certifications to start working in the IT field. After working my way up from the help desk to a systems admin, I took overnight call shifts. I'll never forget the time I was woken at 2 AM to help someone with a very minor issue in Excel (which was not something that warranted a phone call that early). I knew at that point that I needed to transition back to programming.
When I got my first Jr Web Developer role, I noticed many developers could not set up Apache or MySQL. So, my earlier experience as a Sys Admin made me valuable to the ops and development teams (this was a few years before DevOps became a role). I continued to work on improving the backend API with both teams to develop the best solution. In that role, I enjoyed building tools to help developers create amazing products, making that my career goal. The developer advocate role at Vonage is the perfect position to help further that goal.
I still play Video games in my free time. (My wife does not understand how I can spend hours building a factory in Satisfactory or farm crops in Stardew Valley.) But I also enjoy the outdoors. When not glued to a computer screen, I get out to climb mountains, take my bike out for a long-distance ride or just live off-grid in the woods for a week. I practice minimalism, do my best to help protect the environment, and work to help those with mental illness when I can.
You can find me on Twitter, where we can talk programming or philosophy.