How I Got Into Programming

As a child, I remember being fascinated by the scrap computers my dad brought home. He encouraged me to tear them apart, learn how to reassemble them, and appreciate the interplay between how hardware and software work together to perform various tasks. With this knowledge, I started assembling computers at a young age for myself and my younger brother.

During the socially rough years of high school, I turned to academics as my refuge. As a hobby, I explored the topics of computer networking and programming, but the proverbial “fire” was lit when I asked myself: “How does the Internet browser know where to go when I type something in the URL field?”

Soon after, I registered a free domain name, hosted a website on a 133 MHz desktop (yes, that was with “turbo” on), learned HTML, and gained a special area of interest in site optimization. All of this learning was done through online forums/videos, reading through sample code, and primarily trial-and-error. I then dabbled in PHP, CSS, Java, and Javascript to tie together concepts with web-based languages. However, there was no structure to my learning. I was often frustrated with failure. To make matters worse, instead of fixing the issue, I would move on to more advanced topics before even grasping the basics. In a sense, I wanted to run before I could walk.

Slowly but surely, I learned one more function… another tweak… another solution to fix problems to obtain the output I desired. The methodical, logical style of thinking inherent to programming was how I learned to troubleshoot errors not only with technology but in other aspects of life from auto mechanics to plumbing and electrical wiring.

Once I started my medical training, I was consumed with studying for exams and my clinical responsibilities. Programming was always a nice reprieve from the imperfect science of medicine. Although I just don’t have time to learn new languages as before, I’ve still tried to dabble in new projects… the most important being learning Apple’s Swift language to program my iOS app – EchoTools.

Nurturing an interest in programming has opened so many doors throughout my career. It has given me insight about how the Internet works and made me the obligatory “tech guy” among any group I join. I can’t wait to see how I’ll continue to use this hobby to expand my career and improve the lives of others. 🙂

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