I’m originally from Camden, South Carolina. It’s a small, proudly-historic city, with not much to do when you’re young and in need of adventure. In as much, I grew up equally-spending my days with either my nose in fantasy books like The Hobbit, or The Indian in the Cupboard, and out questing through the surrounding forests in search of knights and dragons, as all young boys with an overabundance of imagination often will.
I discovered a new outlet for my pent-up creativity when my family bought our first computer in the mid-90s. I would go on to spend hours in Warcraft II ‘s map editor, having fun tinkering with its various settings, thinking of interesting ways to design my own levels for the player to traverse, as well as crafting an over-arching story to help bring to life that world I had created. And I think that is when I really discovered my love for “developing”; with a little know-how and a few keystrokes, you could create really awe-inspiring, fun and useful things that you could brag about to your friends during recess.
It wasn’t until a few years later, during my senior year in high school, that I got my first, actual taste of programming. The class being offered was a trial run, the first foray into the field of coding, for our school, as well as for the teacher. It had been decided that the language we would be learning would be C++, and it was a doosey for all involved parties. Despite the fumblings around of both teacher and student alike, I still recall having so much fun being given a task, and trying to figure out the code to perform it. And that’s what programming (or really, most things in life) is all about; being presented with a problem, and trying to break it down into manageable and logical pieces until you find the solution. It wouldn’t be until much later that I would find out that C++ is probably not the best choice of language one should start off with while learning to code, but my struggles in that arena had only just begun..
Freshman Orientation Day at USC finally rolled around, and I remember vividly sitting in front of the computer in one of the university’s fancy labs, scrolling through the bevy of available courses with wide-eyed excitement as I got to choose my destiny by way of picking which classes I would take for the upcoming semester. The language-of-choice for the Comp Sci curriculum was Java, and I remember the first class going extremely-well in the beginning. I lived for the long nights in the lab, hunched over keyboard, scratching my head and staring like a hawk at my monitor looking for bugs and trying to wrap my head around the concept of classes and OOP. At the insistence of my parents to hurry up and graduate, I would up changing majors a few semesters later, but I never lost nor forgot my love for the thrill of the hunt that is debugging.
Fast-forward a decade and, in need of change from the ever-on-demand life of the stalwart Helpdesk hero, I decided to try my hand at programming again. Fond memories of days gone by in front of the Warcraft level editor led me to the discovery of the Unity 3D environment, and thus to C#. While game development seemed a dream, my quest for a more practical application of this craft as a solo-hobbyist ultimately led me to yet another language; the venerable yet beginner-friendly, Python! And since, I have spent a great majority of my free time devoted to the study of understanding its secrets.