When I was young, technology as we know it today was just forming, the internet started becoming available, and our dial-up connection wasn’t fast. You could say I grew up with technology in an unconventional way, my first personal computer aside our shared family one was an IBM PC. It was huge, it was bulky and it definitely was louder than I had expected, but it was the perfect starter machine.

As the years grew by, and technology went into hyperdrive, my computer kept being upgraded, eventually landing at an HP desktop with 8 GB of memory, and 1 TB hard-drive, this is when I got heavily into computers. I’ve always been programming since the first time I saw my father do it, the way you could control computers made me overjoyed.

While kids my age were concerned about friendships, relationships and parties, I was neck-deep in books and code, reading and learning continuously. By high-school, I had already written just shy of 132,000 lines of code, and decided I wanted to do this full-time as my career. When I spoke to my teachers about it, like many kids, I was told it’s a stupid idea, and it’s very unlikely to go anywhere.

I decided to take a leap of faith, I dropped out of high-school in Grade 9. It was a rough few years, but I dug myself deep into learning, exploring, and breaking technology. Bit by bit, I wanted to learn everything I could successfully within a reasonable amount of time. I found a love in backend development and system administration.

A hobby, turned into a passion, turned into a full-time career in short order. I went from being unemployable due to no high-school completion, to getting my first entry contract job. After this contract, 6 months into it I had decided to leave the contract to accept a new job, this job gave me more responsibilities, a significant pay raise, and considered me an “Intermediate Software Engineer” – awesome!

About a year into that job, I jumped ship to become a manager. Boy, I wasn’t prepared for that. I had grown up around technology, but not other people. I was never able to understand how to properly interact and manage other humans. I wasn’t able to get the hang of it as quickly as I’d like, so I was let go. It wasn’t of any surprise, and I found management wasn’t for me. I didn’t like being in charge of a large team, I wanted to keep it small and simple.

I decided to reach out to employers and found a company hiring, after a few interviews, I landed the best job I’ve ever had: Senior Software Engineer and Systems Administrator. It’s the best of both worlds, and it’s a lot of work. My boss has been fantastic, my colleagues for the most part are superb, and there’s been very little issues that I’ve not been able to resolve. I love being able to develop, manage, maintain all in one. Even more recently, I’ve been doing cyber security and patching holes in our own software which is exactly where I’d like to take my career.

Growing up with technology got me to a place where I never dreamed I’d be able to get to, very quickly. It was mentally draining, it was daunting, but I’ve made it through. I’m happy, during these years I met this incredible lady I ended up marrying, and we have a child together. We’ve had our downfalls, our struggles, but in the end we always work it out.

So, to the students learning computer science, if I could share any lesson I learned from my experience here, it’s to keep your head up, dive in, but don’t forget to socialize, to take breaks, and to learn how to interact with other people in a respectful and professional manner.

I’m hopeful for the future, and I’m excited to see where life will take me down the road, and I’ll be blogging every step of the way.