After playing games like Oregon Trail on the school Apple IIe computers as a kid in the mid 1980s I just had to know how they made this stuff. I started reading about programming. My first programs, in BASIC, were written in pencil in a spiral notebook and later typed in at the public library. Within a few years I had learned Pascal and a little bit of assembly.
The Apple II line went extinct and I didn’t have the perspective to understand what in my skills was still useful. PCs were advancing too fast to keep up with and my family couldn’t afford to be buying another computer every year. So I got out of the code game and threw myself into music. Band was pretty much the only reason I bothered to show up to high school.
I tried going to college to be a composer but ended up discovering and being corrupted by the Internet. I dropped out, then made zines and played in a bunch of weird lo-fi/punk/noise bands for a few years and lived that dirtbag life. The only kind of job I could manage to hold down long-term was delivering pizza. After a while I got married and lived in a trailer park.
A high-school friend who had found his way into IT encouraged me to get back into computers. I enrolled in one of those 2-year colleges that advertised on the Maury show. By graduation I realized that software development was my calling but I was going to need a Bachelors degree to be taken seriously as a job candidate. Eventually, at the age of 30, I got one. I’d made a point to study Computer Science foundations and theory over specific technologies, so that I’d have an underlying basis to learn and move with changing technology. That adaptability has been my credo ever since but it can be challenging to convince an employer that my 5 years each in Scala and full-stack Rails make my .NET Core experience equivalent to more than the 6 months or so it counts for on paper.
After getting laid off from the only cool tech startup in Black Hawk County, I moved to Des Moines and I been out here grindin ever since. I’ve been called a unicorn and a Swiss army knife and a whole lot of other complimentary things I’m weirdly uncomfortable with. Accepting compliments has never been my strong suit.
I’ve got struggles and opinions and eccentricities and I find it soul-crushing to pretend otherwise. If you can’t handle that, we might not get along, but don’t let that dissuade you from giving us a chance – I’m generally accommodating to a fault, at least at first. This world is not my home, I’m just here to learn and maybe teach a little.