15 years in the making: the origins of my career in web development

I wish I could tell you the first time I actually programmed a computer. When I was a child, I created a library in my bedroom and “loaned” books to my siblings, using Excel on an old Windows machine to keep track of who loaned what and how many days were left until it was due. Many computer programmers will tell you this doesn’t count as programming, and surely I was no child prodigy. Nonetheless, Excel provides an interface to interact with and manipulate data, and I used a formula to calculate due dates and fines. And honestly, what kind of 10 year old uses Excel to track borrowed books to their siblings?

A few years later, when I was in the seventh grade, my parents purchased a family computer for Christmas. I had been aggressively hinting at a Mac (think: laminated printouts of the tech specs from Apple’s website), and at long last, we had one – an eMac. Rather, I had one, as I monopolized the machine the one hour per day my mother allowed us to use it (on a dial-up connection, no less).

eMac computer from Apple

Remember the eMac? (Image: Chicago Architecture).

In need of a way to justify using the computer more, I eventually found a way to convince my parents. My father owns a custom closet company in southeastern Wisconsin, and his website was, well, very 2003. This being the early/mid 2000s, Flash was how “cool” websites were powered. My interest budding, my mother bought me a book at Barnes & Noble to help me learn Macromedia Flash MX 2004. Continue…