I first started working with computers in the mid 1990’s as a young child. I was enamored by the capabilities of the internet, which gave me the ability to instantly research a subject, communicate with people, and play games.
I later used the internet to teach myself rudimentary computer assembly, after growing tired of sharing the family computer. I was then further enamored by the puzzle that this provided. There were thousands of components that could be selected from, but not all of them were interchangeable. There was money that had to be saved to purchase them. There was the adrenaline rush of purchasing them and hoping that I hadn’t made a mistake. It was exuberating, if not a bit terrifying!
My curiosity then began spiralling out of control. There was too much to learn. I wanted to know how it all worked. I started teaching myself computer programming, with the assistance of the internet. Then cable internet became widespread and I was no longer tied down to my slow dial-up modem. Pretty soon, I had servers running out of the corner of my room… for storing files, hosting and testing web pages, and playing games with friends.
I became curious about what all the parts on my computer’s motherboard were. They seemed like some kind of black magic to me. I started to wonder if it was something I could learn about. I soon sold an online video gaming account on eBay and purchased my first microcontroller kit. Little did I know it at the time, this would be the beginning of my career.
I was soon flashing lights and making speakers beep at timed intervals, programmatically. This opened up a whole new world. I could now control the physical world with the computer programming I had already been teaching myself! At the time, my parents were having trouble parking their car in their cramped garage. I built a proximity measuring device (using an ultrasonic distance sensor) to let them know how close they were to the garage wall. This was my first attempt at a practical project. It looked like a rat’s nest and it didn’t last very long, but it worked!
I then knew I wanted to be an engineer. I went to college at Ohio State for Electrical and Computer Engineering. When I was tired of my courses, I spent my spare time building an electronic door opener for my dorm room door. My roommate’s must’ve thought I was crazy. I then graduated and began working in the engineering industry, mostly as a software engineer.