Becoming a software engineer

Recently I realized that a professional career started for me twenty years ago. However the journey of becoming a software engineer begins much earlier, and the first sparkle of interest wasn’t created by a computer itself.

The story starts for me with a book.

Book: And I was in a computer city

When I was about 9 years old, my parents bought me a book1 about a boy who got inside of a computer. The boy helped people living there to catch a computer virus and found many friends there. It was an amazing adventure for the little boy and me. The book wasn’t an ordinary one. It had two parts: one is the story itself, and another one is a glossary with all “computer terms” mentioned in the story. The glossary wasn’t that boring list of terms with explanations either. It was a comic! Every term there was a short story in a comic style.

Book: Prof. Fortran's encyclopedia

The book became something special for me. I was going through the glossary part over and over again, enjoying every detail. Seeing that, my parents got me an extension to the book. It was a computer encyclopedia for kids. Basically, it was the glossary part extended with other terms (comics!), math puzzles, and little games.

The encyclopedia contained also instructions on how to build a computer model using paper and clues 2. After a couple days of deliberate work, my first computer was ready! I was playing video games on it using one of the best tools ever - imagination 😄

Like every kid, I was thinking to become an astronaut who explores space, or a doctor who helps people, or an adventurer who travels around the world, or lots of other things, but that was before the book. The book showed me an amazing world, and I decided to become a part of it. That was 30 years ago and I never regretted that choice. Every single day I truly enjoy being a software engineer who creates things, helps people, uses his imagination to solve problems, and explores the world he discovered many years ago.

Hello Ruby

Of course, these books that inspired me aren’t published anymore. However if you know a kid who is looking for ways to explore the world of computers, I can highly recommend “Hello Ruby” created by amazing Linda Liukas. Together with my son Tim we read two of them already, and that reminded me a lot of my childhood experience with the books that changed my life years ago.

Have a wonderful day! 😉


  1. The book is written in Russian, and unfortunately I cannot find a link on its description in English. ↩︎

  2. The first time when I got a chance to touch and work with a real the computer was six years after my parents gave me the book. But that’s another story already. Stay tuned to listen to it soon. ↩︎

Read next

A week ago my friend Pablo and me released the very first episode of Code && Beyond. None of us had any experience in podcasting or ever worked with voice and audio. But we did that!

Listen

Code && Beyond

Code && Beyond

A weekly podcast with my friend Pablo and me, two software engineers with more than 35 years of professional experience combined. We talk about creativity, productivity, problem solving, tools, culture, and anything beyond, but still related to the daily life of a software developer.

Give it a listen at anchor.fm/codeandbeyond.