I took my first programming class (in BASIC) when I was in eighth grade, and became fascinated with being able to tell computers what to do. I soon had my first home computer, a Radio Shack TRS-80, and spent hours typing in and running BASIC programs. I considered going for a computer science degree in college, but other youthful distractions beckoned, and before I knew it my early love of programming had fallen by the wayside as adult responsibilities, such getting a job and supporting myself, got in the way. Later, at a subsequent employer, I stumbled across some database software, and began using it to track various bits of information required for my job. A couple of jobs later, and I had moved up to Microsoft Access, then some dabbling in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). I found myself loving the process of using and learning software and coding to serve real-world needs on the job, and eventually, at home. In 2013 I started seeing articles about the demand for programmers in languages like C++, Ruby, Perl, Python, Java and so on, and the explosion of free online learning opportunities such as Code Academy. I became excited at the idea that I could refine my coding skills without having to go back to college and get that computer science degree after all.