My first exposure to computer code was LOGO on a trs-80 in 1982. It was pretty awesome. You could paint with a little “turtle” and draw out your name and stuff. After that I would spend time on my friend Commodore 64 making silly little text games in basic. I took one programming class in high school using Pascal, but by then my interests had wandered and I was more interested in paining, drawing, and a new application on our art room Apple called Photoshop
My love for computer graphics took me to school for 3D animation. After that I didn’t spend too much time with code anymore. I’d hack together small things. Small stuff. Web pages. That sort of thing.
After almost 10 years of that I tried to get into programming. I’d buy a book and make it to chapter 4 or so. Get frustrated. Quit. This cycle lasted a long time.
I tried to go back to school too, but it was very slow and I was in my early 30s and felt like “time was running out”
At the time I was working at a major airline as a graphic artist building 3D airplane parts and graphics for interactive diagrams. We were using Flash and the “programmers” I worked with would decompile swfs to build new features by trying to swipe code from them. One day I had an idea for using bitmasking or some similar programmatic solution that would save me weeks of world and he told me to “just make the graphics like I told you to”
So I decided to seriously learn how to code and spent the next 6 months as deep into Flash and Flex as I could go.
I remember reading Colin Moock’s AS3 when it dropped and almost hearing an audible POP in my brain when it finally clicked wtf a
It was like the floodgates opened. I got it. The examples started making sense. I was able to build a few things.
I worked through all the books I could. This was right before Stack Overflow started in 2008, so things were more… challenging. The Flash community was really awesome though and I started focusing on testing, code quality, and good practices as my areas of study.
At that point I had quit my job at the airline and started work at a previous employer. He had severe problems with a software consultant and I said “I think I can do that?” And he let me build a Django/Flex app with 50% of time.
What a ride!