A short story of how I got to be the software engineer I am today.
My first PC 👨🏻💻
I remember having my first PC when I was 5 and the internet when I was 7. This was back in the early 2000s in Romania when most people didn't yet have a PC nor an internet connection.
(Thanks mom & dad!)
While I was primarily using it only to entertain myself or my friends, I believe that becoming 'computer literate' is the first prerequisite towards becoming a software engineer.
Having a PC & an internet connection was also the start of me learning English. Which is also a major part of me being where I am at today.
My first encounter with computer programming
I remember first coding back in 7th grade in school. Our IT professor was supposed to teach us a bit of PASCAL, among other IT skills like Excel and whatnot.
I had an inclination for it and was first in my class at it. It was super fun to create logical sequences of if/else statements which would make the terminal do what I wanted it to do.
What happened though is my family, which was pretty wealthy at the time, pulled me out of school for a few weeks so we could go on a ❄️ winter vacation.
We went to Dubai ✈️ for a week and then we visited a few ⛰ mountainous cities/towns in north Romania.
As a side note, I was as priviliged & spoiled as you could be in Romania at the time. Altough my parents were very strict regarding my school grades, I was given everything I wanted.
The point is, by the time I got back to school, the class was so far ahead on PASCAL that I couldn't catch up to them.
My little flame of interest towards programming estinguished and I took up boxing.
Years passed, the wealth was lost & I had to figure something out
Over the years my father was imprisoned, my family lost a big chunk of its wealth and I found myself in my early twenties not knowing what to do next.
I was 'groomed' to inherit and take over the familiy businessess, but these businessess did not exist anymore.
So, I had to set out & blaze my own path.
I've wandered a bit. A few things happened:
a car crash where I caused the death of a person (it's a hard topic for me still and it's also what got me on probation)
I quit boxing for the most part
many drunken parties & a lot of wasted time
a short stay in the UK where I hoped I would find better opportunities
a layman job in construction job under my father's company (what was left of it)
Eventually, in October 2019, I happened upon my now good friend Abuamerican. We were strangers, he mentioned on Twitter that he needed a website & I emailed him saying I could do it for him.
I didn't know much besides being able to set up a basic WordPress website. But I figured that was still better then the broken Wix website he used to have at the time.
And that's how I got into web development...
Being a web freelancer 🤑
At this point, I figured that for the first time in my life I'm onto something. I had the hope that I might be able to build a business of my own.
So, I started doing 2 things:
I learned more about building websites
I emailed more people to offer my services
In my first 12 months I made like $2-3k. Which is kinda shit, but I saw progress so I stuck with it.
It's important to note that, even with my family being far poorer, I still didn't have to worry about rent, utilities or food. For the most part, I could spend most of my money on my desires.
In my second year I made somewhere around $20k, but I also learned a ton from a technical aspect.
It's also of note that I never really worked full time... at least not for long periods.
Whereas at the beginning of my career I was a WordPress 'developer' after 1 year I was building custom web apps with plain PHP. And by now, December 2021, I have already graduated to Next.js, testing and Github 🤯.
I can only now honestly call myself a real software engineer to be honest.
I'm learning Solidity and web3 and I'm looking to break into this industry and have my first real job. 👨🏻💼