If you are anything like me, you became fascinated with computers at a very early age. The very first computer I remember using was the Commodore 64. This “machine” only had 64k of RAM but you could play tons of “free” games on it and even program it. I used to get these magazines that had open source code in them. I couldn’t read the code, but I would manually type in the program for days and then try to get it to run. I never was successful. Not once. Did I give up? Hell no!
You see, everything takes practice. You are almost never successful when you try something for the first time. When you fell of your bike for the first time and skinned your knee, as a kid, you had two options:
- Quit riding a bike because you are bleeding and you don’t ever want to be hurt again.
- Rub some dirt on it and try again.
I almost always pick option 2. Eventually, the bleeding stops, the pain goes away and your “flesh” wound will heal. And the outcome is that you have learned a new skill – you now can ride a bike!!! For the record, I never put pads and helmets on my kids (Nina Scroggin and Stella Scroggin) when they rode their bikes. I turned out fine and so did they.
My next step into programming computers was on a 386 using MS-DOS (Disk Operating System). I was in 9th grade and got my very first program to run. It was running off a floppy disk and was a simple ‘Choose Your Own Adventure‘ text based program for Science class. My 9th grade teacher didn’t even know how to run it. She just game me an A. Thanks Mrs Davis from Center Grove High School!
The next step is where I fell in love with programming, engineering and computers. I got into Freshman Engineering at Purdue which is a huge accomplishment. I will say this about Purdue for Indiana kids; it’s not that hard to get into Purdue, but it is really hard to stay. Purdue is the 4th best engineering school in the Solar System. I’ve never met so many smart people from all over the world in my life. The diversity in thinking and hearing other people’s stories from all over the planet was incredible. People still think of Purdue to this day as an Ivy League School; but it isn’t. Doesn’t matter what other people think anyway.
At Purdue, I got to learn a ton about computers and programming them. I started on UNIX, VIM and one of the best programming languages of all time => C. I graduated in 1998 and wanted to give up several times. But I stuck with it. Hard work and sacrifice do pay off in the long run. Neil Armstrong also went to Purdue and he struggled with engineering there too. But, like me, he didn’t give up. With hard work and determination, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. I never saw it live (hey, I’m not that old), but I hear that everyone was glued to their TVs.
This photo is from 1969. Look how good the quality is. Now, we have security cameras everywhere and we can’t make out anything. Cheap isn’t always good. It’s true when people say ‘They don’t make stuff like they used to’.
Next, I went on to work for SEP and became a very good Engineer, Project Manager, Architect, Business Development, UX Designer, Business Leader, Owner and CEO of a SaaS company called CardBoard. Both companies were very successful and helped do that. I did those jobs for 24 years. I couldn’t have done all of this by myself no matter how hard I tried. My parents, family members, mentors, colleagues, professors, clients all helped me when I needed it. Haters are gonna hate; ignore them and move on. They are a waste of your time. I love that I never left the Hoosier state and that I’m from Indy! I’m not a newb to the Indy tech scene – I’ve been doing tech in Indy for almost 35 years now. Reach out to me directly if you want to learn more => firstname.lastname@example.org
So, now it is time for me to give back. I want to help those who are interested in learning how to get started in software development. If that is you, watch the video below. Practice your craft and most importantly, don’t give up!!!!
Naptown is an OG term for all of us born and raised in Indianapolis. A lot has changed; it’s not a sleepy town anymore! And for those like me, I found the person who bought the animatronics from Showbiz Pizza Place (aka Chucky Cheese)! Now I need to start a Go Fund Me to bring the band back to Indy.