About a month ago Scott Hanselman (former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee) blogged about how he got started in computers and programming. At the end of his interesting blog post he asks his readers “What’s your story?“, basically encouraging readers to share their stories on how they got into computers and programming. I thought I would share my story and hopefully encourage others to blog about their stories too.
I went to primary school in Harare (Zimbabwe), at a government school called Hallingbury Primary school. I enrolled for my Grade 1 to Grade 4 at this school from 1996 to 1999 before I transferred. My memories of the place are minimal except for the distinct colour of the school uniform which was a dark coffee like colour, something I would never wear in public now.
In 1997, when I just started Grade 2, Hallingbury Primary school got its first set of computers installed and created a small computer lab with 4 machines. The school then offered afternoon private computer lessons to students since the lab was so small they could not offer classes to the whole school. My parents signed me up for the afternoon lessons and twice a week I would attend computer classes. If I remember correctly we mainly did typing lessons and played educational games in the first few months, however this gave me a head start over all the students in my Grade that were not doing computer lessons.
A further catalyst was when my dad who was working at Scotfin (former investment management firm) at the time, decided to get us our own home computer. It must have been one of the i486 models, but I could be wrong. This just increased my interest in computers and I was also fortunate to have one accessible to me all the time. As a result I always did well in computer classes and always seemed a notch ahead of my classmates.
I may have been exposed to computers early on, however I only started taking actual programming classes later in high school in 2006. Programming is very different from just knowing the basic skills required to use a computer, so it was difficult to pick it up in the beginning but over time I grew to understand it more.
Computers have become such a huge part of modern day life that most current primary school students have been exposed to computers way earlier than I was. More schools and homes have computers nowadays as it has become commonplace. 15 years on, what I am certain of is I enjoy programming and I’m fascinated by technology.
Thank you to Hallingbury Primary school for introducing computing to students so early on.
Thanks, Dad for bringing a computer into our house.
What’s your story?