My Journey as a Web Software Developer

How I’ve started Web Programming at first

 

You’ll find my story easier to understand once you can put yourself in my shoes for a moment.

I’ve started programming in Codeigniter at first, which is an PHP framework, I’ve had no prior PHP Experience at all, except an background in algorithmic C++ for two years. I’ve also had no prior HTML or CSS experience, I was copying everything out of the internet, and I absolutely had no clue how to actually write CSS or Javascript, everything I did was explore, and enjoy the fun of actually creating a website.

Everything I’ve coded in codeigniter was strictly by the book, everything was clear to me, how to do it, and how to organize it, even if I had no idea why it was working or how it was working, All I did was enjoy creating my website from a blank white page, and I was extremely happy, and that was great, it was happening by the time I was 14 years old.

 

After that, my confidence shattered

 

I’ve started working on a project with my C++ teacher, whom asked me if I want to join his team and develop Web Applications.. I’ve always considered myself the bad apple at first, simply because the other person who joined had a deeper background, and better experience.

The first project has started, I had no idea WHAT, I am doing. Everything was there, point blank, I had a functional backend system in Zend Framework, in which again, I was absolutely clueless about it, honestly ! And I was supposed to know those things, because I’ve “read” some books, but I’ve never been a fan of reading programming books, BUT I enjoyed and enjoy reading articles, because I can focus, reading a +400 pages book just seems pointless for me.

And Yet, I was, extremely afraid to fail, because I loved programming more than anything, it was my dream to program since I’ve first opened the Warcraft III Map Editor, and I felt like a GOD, and I loved it, no I am not a psychopath, yet.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. – Albert Einstein

The first thing I’ve learned is that the Zend Framework 1 documentation sucked, it simply wasn’t easy for a rookie. And yet now I understand, Zend Framework, honestly, isn’t created for people who are starting programming, it’s created for app development experts who are ready to innovate coding, and break the barriers.

BUT, the most important thing Zend taught me, was to keep my code clean, and organize everything accordingly, and that’s a reflex for me, and noticing bad unorganized code makes me angry, honestly.

 

Two Months later, everything made sense, or did it ?

 

I’ve learned that, by just following 3 or 4 easy steps, I could easily create any backend system, without any effort, it was all about saving and displaying data.  I was all clear to me, easily understandable, I was wondering why isn’t everyone a Developer, this is so easy.

Yes, it was easy, because I was doing only the easy stuff, which eventually got boring for me also, but this came up later on in my journey in web application development.

 

I’ve wanted to code better, and better

 

The main thing I’ve wanted to fix in my coder life, was to not duplicate code and all, and at the same time to keep things simple.

Just imagine that I’ve taken failure at the next level, I’ve failed so many times, just because I wanted to be a better Developer and make things better, even if I failed horribly, I’ve learned my lesson and improved, in time.

 

Why quitting my team changed my life

 

Initially, all I wanted was to learn on others people projects, because I had no idea about what was actually there on the web, about anything, I didn’t even know what Open Source is, and I regretted that, honestly one of the best moves I would’ve was to involve in an Open Source project, and just do it, for free, because money wasn’t that important at the age of 16. Yet I’ve made it important for me, after earning money from my boss while working the team, and doing some freelance work, I’ve actually started to like the daily taste of pizza.

 

How I’ve decided to chose my hourly rating

 

I’ve searched for project that had a budget specified, I’ve noticed that it wasn’t bloated with applicants, and I took it as a challenge. It was my first project application ever, and I was accepted.

The project seemed fun, I had absolutely no idea about low-budget projects back then, but I was lucky to get a decently payed one, it was an $250 project, to create something similar to stackoverflow, just the application skeleton, with no interface, just basic HTML worked.

Except the part when now this seems crazy, I’ve actually finished the project in less than 12 hours

The job description itself. job-posting-odesk

The project was listed in February, with a deadline of 2 months

 

And now, the most direct cover letter, ever.

 

job-letter-odesk

I was 100% sure I will finish the job in less than 24 hours, yet I’ve chosen to have a 48 hours interval, just in case I wanted to hang out with my friends, I’ve never tough I could’ve had technical problems back then and I should have the delivery time a bit … Spaced, just in case anything happened.

What motivated me to not get off my chair for 12 hours

 

It was the project start buzz, and the clients message before we did.

You are much faster than I imagine, I thought It will take some days until we can start, but Let’s do it.

I had no previous experience with the Facebook API, except Gigya integration which was really easy compared to what I was facing. I’ve had no knowledge that there was a facebook integration library. I’ve made my own one, in such a manner that it fit me, and honestly, It was fun.

Every new project, had something I haven’t done before

 

I wanted to motivate myself to learn everything properly, and my motivation was this. Someone is counting on my to do this, I need to do it.

And I’ve never failed, I’ve never failed a single project, all the projects I’ve did were 5 star rated, and people left awesome reviews, and I loved that, reviews were like a drug for me, money was not important.

I’ll tell you honestly, Money was the currency of my value, at least that’s how I saw it, because of my opinions learned from society.

5 Projects Later, May 2012

 

My first real investment, was a Toshiba laptop

After working for various people, I’ve set aside a pretty decent amount of money, around $1.200 at that time, which was pretty nice in just 4 months, aside the money I’ve already spent. And I’ve spent it all, on a laptop, just because I wanted the best laptop I could afford, just because I’ve enjoyed playing World of Warcraft, and I wanted to do it with better graphics.

IMG_0318

This photo was taken a later that year in a Hotel room while enjoying a glass of whiskey, awesome feeling for a teenager I guess 🙂

Money wasn’t important, at that time

Honestly, I didn’t care about the money that much, all I wanted was to work, and I wanted to do it properly, that’s why I was actually charging people $15 an hour. And I was working trough Odesk and Elance. I didn’t have a lot of projects I worked on, simply because I’ve never applied to anything that wasn’t a challenge.

 

That’s all folks, for now

This is my story back in December 2010 until May 2012, a lot of details have been skipped, it’s been almost 3 years since I’ve quit my first team and 4 years since I’ve started programming as a Web Developer. It’s been a great run so far, filled with accomplishments and a lot of failures.

Thank you for reading my story.

Cheers,

Robert

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