How It All Started
I was a young kid and all my friends were playing Call of Duty on Xbox. I wanted to play as well, however, the online service costed money and I didn’t have any money. I asked my dad if he could buy me Xbox Live and he wouldn’t, saying that I was going to get addicted…little did he know that I was already addicted.
I was persistent though and I kept asking him. Finally, he said that he will not get me the service and I need to stop. I was disheartened. For a while, I thought about getting a job but I couldn’t at the time, I was too young. I had no clue what to do…but I really wanted to play online.
So I went on YouTube and looked up how to get free Xbox Live. No luck. A bunch of ‘fake generators’ that were just stealing peoples’ email addresses and hijacking them. However, with a little bit of curiosity, I was able to figure out that I can go through the code and hack the hacker.
I was hooked right away. I started to learn how to read the code and get the information needed to hack the hackers. I finally got to play Call of Duty online (although I couldn’t play with friends). Now, I wouldn’t say that this was the most ethical way to get myself into computer science, but it caught my eye.
The Coding Days
After I learned how to read code, I started to feel confident in myself to start coding programs myself. I was in 8th grade and I decided to make a calculator for my math class. I used it so much and it helped me cheat on homework and tests (I still think it was justified).
Knowing that I just made myself a calculator that made my life easier, my interest in computer science started to grow even more. First it helped me play Call of Duty, then it helped me make math class easier, I was so hooked.
I started making websites for myself, for my friends, and sometimes for businesses. As time went on, I started to get even more into coding and started to learn how to make apps. So I learned Objective-C and PHP. I made a few apps and they were getting about 100 downloads a week. I felt pretty cool that I was able to put my own apps on the app store. This was about my sophomore year of high school.
Starting to Get Advanced
Things started to fall off after my sophomore year, I stopped coding. My interests went over to something else, I can’t exactly remember what it was though. My skills got weak. I tried coding again my junior year but it just wasn’t clicking and honestly, Call of Duty seemed like way more fun.
My senior year came along and I heard that you could do an independent study for AP Computer Science, I decided to take it. I was the only person who decided to try it out. I was handed a Java book by the teacher and was told to figure out the whole thing by myself. So I did. I learned so much about Java and object-oriented programming. So many things stood out to me: constructors, initializers, objects, etc. I fell in love with computers again.
As I went into college, the topics started to get more advanced. I majored in computer engineering because I wanted to understand the logic behind the coding languages…and it was pretty cool learning about the building blocks of computers. I learned about NAND gates and K-maps and all that good stuff. By the end of my first semester into college, I was able to build a vending machine (without change features) from scratch.
Then I decided to get more into computer science and learn more about the coding side again. I took a class for C++ and learned a lot about the language. It was a really cool experience. The most frustrating thing to make were linked lists by the way, I hated making those.
Finally, the latest class I’ve completed is ‘Data Structures’. I learned many new things using the Python coding language. AVL trees, hash maps, linked lists, etc. There are many data structures out there to use. It is up to the engineer to decide which one to use.
The One Thing
This huge story leads up to this one thing. How computer science has changed my life.
Coding has gave me more than just video game access or being able to cheat in math class…it forced me to think in a logical way. That’s the number one thing. I’m not a ‘certified engineer’, but I can say that by using the coding skills in real-world applications, it has helped me to become more logical. It has trained my brain to problem solve.
That is the biggest way computer science has changed my life: made my problem solving skills crazy good.
If you’re interested in computer science and how it can change your life too, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss. If you hate email, you can message me on Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram.