My mom was my eighth-grade computer class teacher, and one quarter, she focused our studies on basic HTML coding. It was simple stuff; we covered the main content tags and not much else.
At the end of the eight weeks, I decided that I didn’t like coding. Now, I have a degree in interactive design, which focuses on front-end web design and user interaction. Where did that love for coding and drive to learn come from if I started off disliking it?
Truthfully, I don’t have a single, straight answer. Instead, I have a story to tell. A lot of it is about my mom, but she’s the one who got me really interested in this kind of stuff. She’s the reason I got my degree, code, and am so interested in technology like VPNs and residential proxies in the first place.
I needed to find a cheap residential proxy that had high-quality, protected servers with excellent connection speeds when I started to code. I wanted to be anonymous online and keep my data safe, and proxies do exactly that. That way, I could code bots for scraping without putting my information at risk.
Childhood: An Odd Place to Start
When I was a kid, I told my mom I wanted to learn how to multiply and divide the summer before I started learning it in school. I understood nothing about it; I just wanted to be ahead of everyone else on the first day.
My mom earned her degree in computer science in the early 1980s when the field was still somewhat new. One of the first languages she learned was COBOL, a language I probably will never need to learn.
She’s the one who taught me how to multiply and divide, and she taught me all about the fun world of puzzles and codes. That might sound like an odd thing to mention, but it’s very important and is one of the main reasons I considered coding in the first place.
My mom gave me my first introduction to coding in middle school, but she never pushed me to follow the same path as she did. The closest she ever came to doing so was in high school when she told me that I might really enjoy coding. I didn’t listen to her. At least, I didn’t until the end of high school.
Senior Year Panic
My school made a pretty big deal about where everyone went to college, and I didn’t know where I wanted to go. That affected me. I stopped doing things that I liked, and I became more introverted, spending most of my time online. I left behind offline puzzles and my music in favor of the internet.
During my teenage years, I started learning different coding languages. I realized how much I liked coding, so I sought ways to do it. On social media websites, blogs, and forums, I started customizing the HTML and CSS of my profiles to see what I could do. Then I started learning about back-end code, robots, and scrapers.
I was more hesitant to dive into this part of coding, but I’m glad I did. I started to use inexpensive, cheap software to start coding my own scrapers. Later on, I discovered something called Upwork, where I could offer my scraping services and make some money.
I ended up picking a state school because of the tuition and the variety of classes. I had no idea what I wanted to major in, so I started looking for other things to do. Again, my mom suggested coding, and I actually listened to her.
College: We’re Really in It Now
During my first year, my major was “Undecided”, and I focused only on my general education credits so I could really think about what I wanted and spend time coding. I took an entry-level coding class during my second semester, and then I realized that the school I’d chosen had a major that was a perfect blend of design and coding courses, precisely what I was looking for.
I started learning how to create useful code for websites and bots, and I was absolutely hooked. I started looking things up on StackExchange and W3Schools, trying to get as much information as possible. I decided to go back and look at Upwork so that I could monetize my obsession. Upwork ended up helping me put myself through college and earn my degree.
When I realized that I could make money with my bots and scrapers with Upwork, I started doing it more often. I found out that I could make a lot of money off of something that fulfilled my love of puzzles, and eventually I started seeing it as more than just puzzles. Each line of code I write translates directly to money.
The money that I make from coding and scraping is far better than I thought it might be. It’s one of my primary motivators now, driving me to learn and code more. I want to improve my skills so that I can keep making money and continue improving.
Coding helped me feel better. It helped me choose the next stage of my life, and afterward, it started making me money. It goes above and beyond puzzle-solving, and nothing else comes close to the thrill I feel when I finally figure out why a line of code isn’t doing what I want it to.