The Life of a Programmer


I was made to write computer software.

I grew up as a very secluded child. When I say secluded, I don’t mean I never left the house, but in the way that I never had friends outside of my family. I grew up in a military household meaning staying in one location for more than a couple years wasn’t likely. With this being the case, it was always hard to make new friends whenever I moved, and by the time I had a couple decent friends it was time to move again.

The only consistent thing in my life at this point was my computer. No matter how far or how often I moved my computer was there every step of the way. I got to spend a lot of time with my computer figuring out how it worked and how to make it better.

Here is some of the basic code I still use to this day. Photo from Andrew Gilbert’s personal collection.

I first got into programming after I moved to Germany in the fifth grade. I was looking up how to beat a certain boss fight in Super Mario Sunshine when I came across a post on a gaming blog. Someone had managed to write a code that allowed them to pull movies off iTunes and watch them completely for free.

Well, me being the bored child I was, I would love to watch movies for free since I didn’t have any sort of money in my pocket. So, I started diving into how websites and security codes were written and how you could break those encryptions. In short non boring talk, I learned how to write security code and then reversed engineered it so I could learn how to get around another person’s code. I felt like I belonged in a spy movie to a certain degree.

This is the part where I believe I was made for stuff like this. The code and practices I was learning did not happen in one weekend. It was months of hours on hours of me sitting at my computer practicing and learning as I went. Luckily, I didn’t have very many friends to distract me asking if I wanted to go out and have human interaction.

Instead I had java script, HTML, CSS, and many more programs to keep me more than entertained. Although I never did get good enough to learn how to pull movies off of iTunes (I was 13-14 at the time so I’m sure you’re not surprised), I did learn enough to where once I was a freshman in high school I was helping my teacher teach his class of intro to computer programing and software development. This obviously caught the eye of some professors and I was given many scholarship opportunities right out of high school.

A lot of people look at software development as a lonely, sitting at your computer all night lifestyle that isn’t appealing. For me it’s the complete opposite. My whole life I was ‘trained’ for a job where having long sleepless nights was the norm.  I’m not sure any of the stuff I just said really made sense to anyone reading this, but I guess that’s okay since this isn’t the language, I specialize in (I’m referring to computer and software language *wink* *wink*).    

About Andrew Gilbert

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