It started with an extreme interest in video games. They were a lot of fun, but I wasn’t the type of gamer that would enjoy beating games. I enjoyed the cheat codes and the game shark. It was fascinating to see how you could modify a game or what the limits are.
I was glued to RPG maker and anything that would allow me to make games. I eventually started working with BYOND – Build your own net dream. Which started me down the path of programming. After that I was extremely stingy about using engines. I wanted to make my own.
Curiosity and time in the saddle.
This led me down a path of frustration and learning. I read the age old article from Eric S Raymond – How to become a hacker
After reading that article I started programming. I learned the syntax for BYOND and tried to make games on there. While in college I would spend my free time tinkering with Linux and writing programs. My free time was spent learning. During the summer I would make an effort to work on my own project and review the Math that I learned during that school year.
I’ve been messing around with the computer since I was 4 years old as well. This dabbling gave me an edge on figuring problems out using a computer which also afforded me additional advantages.
The usage of Linux in college exposed me to different philosophies in technology. It also made me have to learn how to use the command line. Add to my set of skills, Linux, KSH, etc.
I participated in 3 game development competitions using Java as the primary language. These game development competitions gave you a theme and there was a time limit of 48 hours. These competitions helped me get over limitations that I had at the time.
By the time I got out of college and started looking for my first job I had over 7 years of practice programming. My first interview was the easiest thing on the planet.
I already knew more than some of my coworkers and tasks were very easy to fulfill.
The article I linked earlier from Eric S Raymond was the main external influence that drove me to put in the hard work. The rest was internal.