The “Unconventional” Way That I Became a Programmer

Walter Guevara
5 min readSep 29, 2021

You often hear stories of tech billionaires sitting down to code their first video games at the age of 3 only to launch their first big business venture sometime in middle school. They eventually go to the upper echelon of universities only to drop out from boredom and shortly after to find their fortunes.

Admirable, to say the least. My story is a bit different. It’s not as flashy or glamorous. For one, my parents were much too poor to get me a computer at a young age. I didn’t actually get my own PC until way later in life. I was in my mid-to-late teens by the time I had my own CRT screen to call my own. And it wasn’t the best quality. Though it did the job for the time and I still appreciate it for what it tried to do.

But my interest in computers, and Computer Science, did start much earlier in life when I was roughly in Kindergarten. I still recall the day that our school got its very own computer lab to call its own. And my young classmates were some of the first in the school to try them out. This was around 1990, so you can imagine that computers were essentially giant text editors with various degrees of tint and hue.

Truth be told I was pretty terrible at using this so called computer. Aside from typing out the alphabet in the best order that I could muster at the time (random), I had no clue what the giant grey box that teachers swooned over did. But they seemed to think that it was a big deal and it caught my attention.

In the years that followed, as more and more schools began to get their very own labs, and in some cases, PC’s in the classroom themselves (the future), my fascination only grew more and more. And I was beginning to get pretty good at navigating my way around this digital landscape.

If the black and white games on massive floppy disks didn’t fully impress me (they did), games such as Oregon Trail and Math Blaster definitely blew me away. Seeing the Apple Macintosh commercials in the early 90’s put a gleam in my young eye as the possibility of having my very own computer was no longer just a fantasy. I could genuinely play Oregon Trail in my home if I had wanted to.

I still find appreciation in being born during a time when computers and digital screens weren’t the norm. Even as I…

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Walter Guevara

Startup CTO. Sr. Programmer. Blogger. Los Angeles native. Future sci-fi author.