A Bit About My Development Experience
The first experience I had as a developer was creating websites with Adobe PageMill in 1997. Graphics such as .gif files were amazing and I remember that websites at that time used them often. Prior to graduating from high school, I decided to go to Chippewa Valley Technical College for their Computer Information Systems (Computer Science) degree track.
I vividly remember my first day of Perl Programming when the professor asked, “Who here has a home network?” Dreadfully, I was the only one in the room that didn’t raise their hand. Then we started into Perl (“Practical Extraction and Report Language by Larry Wall,” the instructor drilled that into us) and it was not at all what I thought programming was supposed to be. Perl was not graphical, full of regular expressions, and didn’t seem very interesting at all, but I learned it anyway. What’s great about the Perl experience is that I learned regular expressions and that has helped me immensely while working on some of my technical independent projects such as Cora, a Siri-like clone for Windows Phone 7.
Visual Basic .NET 2003 had just been released and I took a course on the technology. This was exactly what I had been dreaming of; finally a graphic user interface that actually looked like Windows applications. My favorite Visual Basic app creation was an email app that allowed me to email anyone from any email account. It was only for demonstration purposes.
In 2005, I learned the beginnings of Java and attempted to write a simple pong game using sprites. I had an issue where the screen would flicker during gameplay and the professor couldn’t help me with it. I discovered that it was an issue with the screen buffer not preloading the images. After a quick fix, the game worked as expected and was the only game created that used image graphics.
In the beginning of 2008, I worked as a consultant in Chicago on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and developed in C#. It was an amazing experience and allowed me to discover what options I had as a developer.
During the end of 2008, my friend’s brother, Nick Shin, who had worked on one of the Mortal Kombat series and Tranformers 2 game, shared his experiences with me regarding game development. The talk was a high enlightening and humbling experience. As a developer and a member of technology in general, sometimes you feel like you know every little aspect about something and then a person shows you how deep the rabbit hole actually goes. I decided to open a Microsoft XNA Creators Club account and began developing XNA games for XBOX 360. I believe that game development is the most challenging type of programming because it’s not just programming. If you want to release a game, you have to think about many aspects such as graphics, a storyline, and best of all, fun. I love game development and continue to develop games in my free time.
In 2009, I went to Minneapolis for a MiT Graduate School recruiting event where I met an interesting MiT alumni. I asked him about the classes at MiT and what type of programming he had learned there. He told me, “Java, but it’s not that MiT will teach you to be a better programmer than someone that goes to a different school. MiT teaches you to be a life long learner of programming.” I asked him about his hobbies and he told me that he was playing around with Android development. This was the first time I had met anyone doing any sort of mobile phone development and it got me interested. In May of 2010, I had my first taste of the Python language and worked on porting the open source game Doom to the Android mobile platform.
During the summer of 2010, while I was in Austria and Germany on a study abroad program, I spent countless hours developing for the Android mobile platform and released a handful of apps to the Android market. It was during this time that I came up with the idea for one of my award winning independent projects, PictureMe Universe (still in active development).
Due to the goals of PictureMe Universe, I transitioned into Apple’s iOS platform to port the Android Java code and released another app in the process to the iTunes market.
More recently, I’ve moved to the Windows Phone 7 platform and have released apps to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. One of them has already been downloaded over 50,000 times, which is by far the most I’ve seen across any of the mobile phone markets. I’ve been hooked ever since.