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How and why I became a programmer

The year is 1996, I am 10 years old. I'm your usual kid who likes spending time with his friends and playing video games.

One day, I ask my mother to buy me a Nintendo magazine, called Club Nintendo, the Mexican equivalent of Nintendo Power.

The magazine is full of tips, tricks, cheats, news and everything Nintendo-related. Those were the days. My mother sees me encouraged with the magazine, so she gets me a full-year subscription. Wow! I was a lucky kid.

At the same time, the Internet was rising and home computers were starting to be more frequent. My mom gets one computer for the family. A Compaq Presario with 32MB of RAM, a 3GB hard disk drive, Intel Pentium @ 200MHz and a 28.8kbps modem. A dream come true.

She also contracted a dial-up Internet service. I remember that the company sent us printed instructions on how to connect to the Internet. Since no one in the house fully knew how to do it, I was given the task. After trial and error, I was able to connect to the Internet. The first website I ever accessed was I was a smart kid, heh.

The Internet back then was very primitive. Other than browsing for information, reading your email and viewing static content, there was nothing much you could do.

Wait. What does this has to do with Club Nintendo? Well, most articles regarded video games, or something related with the video game industry. But volume 5, year 6 did something different: "Curso Básico de Internet" (Basic Internet Course).

Club Nintendo volume 5, year 6 (1997)

As a kid, you don't read the text, you only use magazines for the images. So I didn't put much attention when I read that article. Until one day.

The article detailed how to do your first website with HTML code. You didn't need to download anything. You only needed notepad and an Internet browser. So I gave it a shot.

I typed in the instructions carefully (original Spanish version):

                Esta es una prueba
    <!-- El código de tu página-->
    ¿Qué tal, cómo están?
    Ojalá que le estén entendiendo

I saved my document as index.html as the instructions stated. Then, I proceeded to open it using my Internet Browser. And that is how it all began.

For me, this was huge. I typed in some code that I didn't understand and the results were my first website. Of course, this wasn't hosted on any server. But at the end of the day, my thoughts were "I can do this".

I think that most programmers can relate to this feeling. What I felt back then, and I feel when I'm programming is the following, the ability to create something powerful, instantly, with your hands, is almost godly.

My Friday afternoons changed from playing soccer or video games with my friends to actual coding. I literally called those nights "Coding Nights" (Noches de Programación).

I started playing with the code and looking for more information. That magazine became a Bible to me. Afterwards, my mother also bought me an HTML book, what I learned in that book I still use it to this day.

When I was 12 I created a website using GeoCities. It was the way to publish a website back then for free. Afterwards, when I was 13 I took formal programming courses.

The rest, is history.

Today, finding programming tutorials is easy, very easy. Google "programming tutorials" and you'll get 338m+ results. Back then, Google literally didn't even exist, it appeared until 1997. I used WebCrawler.

However you fall in love with programming and how you decide to learn, it's up to you. This skill takes time, practice and passion.

Dear writer of that Club Nintendo article, thank you.

If you like to know more about Club Nintendo, check this documentary created for GTV Japan.

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Profound Jack Daniel's enthusiast. In my free time, I like to code and lift weights. Proud owner of two Siberian huskies. Professional Services Manager at Medallia.