Growing up in a small town, there wasn’t much to do for a preteen and teenage boy besides get on his Playstation or computer and kill time. Through this exploration of technology, I began to show an interest in computers and thinking back on my youth, the first true coding experience I ever had was building MySpace backgrounds using HTML and selling them to my friends. I only wish I had known that doing this was actually a potential career path that I could look forward to doing one day. At my high school, there weren’t any computer science specific classes, but I took as many classes with computers and math as I could. My passions in school were math and computer aided design (CAD), but I didn’t really understand what I wanted to do for a living until my junior year of high school. I learned that I truly had a passion for helping other students and tutoring friends in my free time. With this and some advice from my parents I decided to major in Math Education and become a high school math teacher.

Now in my seventh year teaching, it is honestly fun to think back to the various events that have happened in my life that have shaped me into the person that I am today. I still have a passion for teaching and helping others, but I also have a somewhat newfound interest in computer science that has rekindled lately that I didn’t realize I still had. My day job fills my cup completely. I honestly don’t see transitioning from teaching to computer science full time happening, but I know that learning about and practicing coding is one of my true passions today.

In my fourth year of teaching I was asked to lead a coding class for freshmen. My knowledge of formal coding at that point was little to none. My math foundation was strong which allowed me to pick up many concepts quickly, but it was challenging and engaging which I love. After deciding on a curriculum, I began working through the problems and courses myself to ensure I could help students as needed and ended up completing a six month javascript course in a little over three weeks. I was hooked. I was addicted to learning and growing as a programmer unlike any subject I had ever learned. I tell my students about that story to remind them that they may not love every class, but when they find something they love, learning it will not feel like a chore.

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”

With three years of coding experience as a teacher and programmer myself, I am about to finish up my seventh website for a client this month and I am proud of where I am. My favorite quote of all time is “Be proud, but not satisfied” and that’s exactly where I am with coding. I still love to learn and grow, but can reflect on how far I have come and how everything I know is self-taught and because I had the initiative and drive to learn a new skill. I am working now to improve my Javascript skills and have hit some plateaus that have required me to reach out to other programmers for help. Humble and hungry are a dangerous combination.

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