Two decades since first project delivery
It was 10th of October 2001 when I delivered my first paid order. I was a teenager on high school and it wasn't very special for me that day. I was happy for the pocket money, but much more important was, that on the same day, I started dating my first girl ever and I was completely fallen in love :). Surprisingly, that relationship lasted 5 years, and it almost looked like it would be my only one, but years passed, rivers has flown and at the end of 2021, I am equally happy for both of these happenings. First made me a developer and second made me a stronger person. But this article is in the first place tribute to the most important people of those 2 decades.
Computers for me was love at first sight. We couldn't afford one, but I got a book called "ABC about PC" and I read it maybe 3-4 times. It explained basic architecture, Von Neumann model, PC history, PC components and their histories. Fun fact is, that the author of the book was a university professor at the school where I later went and I even had him on some classes. But back to the story... So I was around 12 years old and my regular dialogs with parents were like... ME: I really want a PC mom. MOM: You know we can't afford it now. ME: But mom, it doesn't have to be new one. I am ok with some older model, it doesn't need to be even Pentium. 486 would cut it. I got even promised some nice price on DX2 at the shop downtown. It has shitty unstable VLB bus, but I am ok with it. MOM: No son... So what I did was spending my pocket money in the internet cafe bars, where instead of internet browsing, I brought a floppy disk, loaded my work and continue where I finished last time. Finally, after some months, I build my first own static website. And next year, when first good local provider of free web hosting emerged, I uploaded it and started my online presence, which was later enhanced by functionalities backed by PHP. Altogether, I got huge number of 3 programming jobs during the high school. Web pages for 2 local companies and one NGO. Few months after I started my Uni studies, I got permanent programming job and it never stopped since.
Apart from the book, I mostly got inspired by people. So let's tell the same story from another perspective. Through the relationships with friends-programmers.
Name of the first one is Vincent. A classmate with an old computer and older brothers. Their home was the first place where I saw raw HTML and what it comes of it when rendered in a browser. I must have been very annoying visitor, always asking, always begging for more and I also wanted to play some games of course. So noone could blame them, that I wasn't invited that much :) But those couple of experiences were enough to spark my interest. I borrow a book about HTML from a library. I read it in 2 days and then I read it couple more times next weeks and after some months I even understood it completely. The result of this first encounter was my website I wrote about in previous chapter. When I started to be more proficient in programming, it was also easier to speak with Winnie and exchange ideas and knowledge. It was not one-sided anymore. Later on, we both were very enthusiastic about creating animations and games in Adobe Flash and its ActionScript, but then our paths split and I went deeper to programming and he went deeper to graphics and design. He is now a senior UX guy, and I am a code guy.
Next important person in my IT life was my University classmate Vlado. We later also became room mates and then flat mates and we were almost 30 when our paths finally split to different cities and places. 10 years with one person almost every day, that creates some special kind of family-like bonding. We coded a lot, and we made a lot together. We also crippled some of the services, machines and jobs on the way. Well, you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. And god it was fun. Learning by trying, together with someone else, mostly with no deadlines and responsibility. We boldly went where we had never been before. Again and again. That was also the reason, why we haven't finished some jobs we took. But lesson learned and later I knew when to say yes to a new opportunity. We still work together from time to time, but exclusively on Linux administration stuff, though.
Martin was first person I met, who actually understood programming on the fundamental level. It was natural for him to write nice, structured, best practice code. He was my tech-lead for 4 years in the one company and briefly also colleague in another. Most of the senior/advanced programming knowledge I know today has come directly or indirectly from him. Either from face2face lesson, or from code reviews he used to do for me, or from me studying his code and later into our relationship also from some suboptimal technical/human decisions he made during his struggle to keep the code base in best possible shape. Until this day, he would be my number one person to choose if I would be building coding dream team :).
A bright mind of another generation. He came fast, stayed briefly and left soon for both of us :) We have spent 2 years working together, then he left for a bigger world, but we stayed in regular contact. I tried to share all of my knowledge with him and many times it wasn't even IT related. He was able to grasp the concepts like noone else I ever knew. During those 4 years we know each other, he was able to maybe quadruple his skills. Although I don't think that "big world" helped him to get happier as a person, it is always pleasure to have some drink with him when he is around. It may look that our relationship was strongly one-sided but it's not true. The energy he brought pushed me hard to refresh my tech stack, habits, tools and reconsider new ideas. He came to my life at right time. And his leave made me struggle for quite some to regain some significant work drive. Definitely in top 3 dream team choice.
Last, but certainly not least, is my current colleague Martin. When he came to the job interview with me, he was still on high school. Completely different personality-wise than me, but still, he strongly reminded me myself in his age. It has always been pleasure to work with him. He already has his master degree done for a few years, so long time passed. We worked together on many big projects as lead developers and I enjoyed them, even in hard times, mostly thanks to his attitude, knowledge and great ideas. Over the years he became strong competitor for the No. 1 spot for my dream team. Who knows if the previous Martin Z. is not the number one only because of melancholic reasons...
So here we are. At the end of nostalgic journey. Thank a lot to all of you guys. It was and still is a pleasure. Who knows what will next 20 years bring. I personally hope for some good stuff :)