How I started programming

In 2007, I was working in the IT sector in a Desktop Support role but hadn’t done any coding professionally.

In my spare time, I was a black belt in Tae Kwon-Do and enjoyed training at a few different schools. Because of my IT experience, I was asked if I could create a website for one of the schools - somewhere that we could post information and class times for new starters, as well as news articles and competition results.

This would be my introduction to programming.

I started learning what I needed to know, starting with HTML and CSS - experimenting with a template that I found online and was able to tweak to match the school’s colours.

I was able to complete the first version of the website with static HTML pages and CSS but had to manually create a new HTML page for every new news article and edit existing pages manually.

I wanted to make it more dynamic, and started to learn about PHP and MySQL from video courses and online forums.

After posting a question about some PHP code that I’d written, someone suggested that I look at content management systems - namely Drupal, which was used for that forum (I have a screenshot of the reply). This was a new concept to me as until that point, I’d written everything so far myself whilst learning it.

I remember evaluating Drupal alongside some others - rebuilding the same website a few different times, but stuck with Drupal and relaunched it on Drupal 6 and a custom theme that I’d created from the original templates.

I signed up for a Drupal.org account, started to do some freelance work for a local web design agency, and built a new website for a local cattery.

I started blogging, attending meetups, and when an opportunity to switch careers to software development came along, I applied for and got the job.

That job was also using Drupal and, in another email, I’ll write more about why I still like and use Drupal years later.