Becoming a software writer

Let me ask you something:

What motivated you to learn programming in the first place? And how old were you at the time?

I know that there is a limit in how broad I can make this generalization and that there is also a generational factor at play here, but I would say that most of the people I know that are currently working in software development jobs or running development companies share a similar set of answers to those questions:

They wanted to build stuff, and they started pretty young.

Photo by Shahadat Rahman on Unsplash

My story

When I was around 6 or 7, one of my uncles on my mother’s side had a developer job at a relatively large company. He lived 500 km away and we usually visited once a year. One of the reasons that made those trips so enjoyable to me was that they had a Win 98 PC at home.

I would spend hours drawing nonsense on MS Paint with my cousin. I didn’t really understand what that machine was at the time, and I had no idea how it would influence my life a few years later. I just knew it was something special.

Considering that there was an average 5-to-10-year gap between the time new technologies became commonplace in the US and Europe and the time they started to become mainstream in countries like Brazil, I was in the right place at the right time to experience our own sunbathed tropical PC-revolution!

We got our first computer at home when I was 10 years old, in 2005. It was the best thing to ever happen to me. I could finally play games and draw with MS Paint at home! Time went on and a lot of cool new stuff came up. Games with amazing graphics, dial-up internet, MMORPGs (I was a big fan of MU Online), and so much more. I was hooked.

In that same period, my friends and I were also big fans of table-top RPG. We would gather weekly to play Vampire: The Masquerade. The idea of creating an entire world of adventure that could be shared was so appealing.

When I was around 12, I discovered phpBB (an open-source forum system) and that people were playing an adapted version of tabletop RPGs on it (something called Play by Forum RPG – or PbF RPG, for short).

Naruto | Naruto Wiki | Fandom
Never thought I’d write this but thanks, Naruto. You pretty much gave me a career, haha.

Wanting to take part in that and let our minds run free, a friend and I decided to build our own PbF RPG system, using phpBB.

The theme of the RPG system we set up to create? Naruto. Yep, the anime.

The rest is history. We never wanted to learn to program, we just wanted to have the best RPG forum possible. HTML, CSS, and eventually PHP were just the tools that allowed us to achieve that.

We did end up falling in love with the code itself later but I feel confident saying that at least for me, getting better as a programmer was never something I’d do just for the sake of getting better. For me, becoming a better programmer = being able to build even cooler stuff. That was what this was all about.

What about you?

What motivated you to learn programming in the first place? And how old were you at the time?

I would love to hear your story in the comments below!

PS.: Ahh, and that friend of mine? Runs his own SaaS company now.

  1. I’ve been messing with basic html and php without really knowing what I was doing since the early 2000s. I mostly focused on marketing, design and videos. Tried to learn how to code several times through online courses but only got the hang of it in 2015 after completing Harvard’s CS50 online. My motivation was always the fact I had several ideas I couldn’t implement myself. Today coding is the main part of my job and it’s definitely one of the most important skills I’ve learned in my lifetime.

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