In 2012, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), specializing in Internet Technologies. Basically, that means that I have a piece of paper that says I know how to make computers do stuff. I didn't really need that as proof for myself; I've been working with technology since childhood.
Some of my earliest memories of technology include watching my father build computers by hand. I played around with the motherboards and pretended they were miniature cities. I would go to work with my mother and she would walk me through some of her email liaison work as a business analyst. I mastered typing and 3rd grader knowledge through the JumpStart computer games. I made spray-can masterpieces and pixel dolls in Microsoft Paint.
I don't remember my first created website. One of my earliest had to be my BlackPlanet page, which was a Myspace for Black folk. If you’re too young to know what Myspace was, just Google it. It was a customizable Facebook with music and glitter everywhere. It was great, trust me.
Using the tools I had on hand, I kept playing around with websites and graphics. I even created multiple websites with different personas or topics. One of my favorites was Brown Eyes Looking, a website based around the pixel dolls I had created throughout the years.
For my senior year in high school, I decided to take an actual computer programming class. My memory is fuzzy as to exactly why, but I think it was suggested by a counselor as a complement to the computer graphics class I wanted to take.
Mr. Thyden, my programming teacher, noticed a natural talent within me and invited me to join the school’s competitive programming team. I accepted since it was another extracurricular activity, a plus on scholarship applications. Though, I must be honest. I was not good at the contests. The puzzles didn’t click with me (still don't). I hated the restrictions in time, eating, and restroom breaks. Despite my mediocre performance in the programming contests, Mr. Thyden still encouraged me to strongly consider a career in software development.
Since I actually enjoyed coding, I took his advice and did some research on the industry. I saw that the demand for developers would be high for years and the local university, UNO, had a very good computer science program. Getting a full-ride scholarship also helped in cementing my choice of university. So, in August 2008, I started college with a major in computer science and never looked back.
I have been in all sorts of different sub-industries (manufacturing, transportation, insurance, etc.) and I have worked on all parts of the stack, meaning I can build a complete website and manage any databases associated with it. If you have any website questions or projects you need a hand in, I do freelance work.
Would I ever change occupations? Probably not, unless it was to be a full-time writer, a well-paid full-time writer. I'm already a starving artist when only counting my book sales.
What do you all do for a living? Have you changed industries or occupations? If you haven't, why not? If you could, would you and why? Just curiosity speaking. Until next time!