A Brief History of 'Programmer' Justin

I started programming when I was in the 6th grade when my older brother received a children's web design book as a gift but never touched it. I picked it up one day and little did I know that would set me off on an educational and career path for the next 20 years.

I tinkered with a website on homestead.com in the early 2000's and then started book-worming at Barnes & Nobles, eventually getting hooked on the big ole' C/C++ books. I was a hardcore gamer (who wasn't as a teen?) so I wanted to program video games. I picked up a few books on OpenGL, C++ for video games, and Visual Studio and then had a blast making little interactive games (albeit a somewhat struggle since I was still using Windows and Visual Studio).

When it came to applying for college my junior year of high school, the only thing I knew that sounded like a college major was programming-related. I also loved biology (only because it was one of the few classes I enjoyed and did well at in high school; isn't that insightful) so I tried to find a major that was a blend of programming and biology and came up with bioinformatics. Back then (2006-07) there weren't many options and the "tech" industry was still pretty nascent. I ended up attending the University of California at Davis and quickly switched to something strange-sounding called "Computer Science."

I had no idea what it was but upon graduating in 2 years time with my Bachelor's Degree, I counted my blessings that I was one of the few people that (1) knew what they wanted to study (somewhat) and (2) ended up actually enjoying it and then (3) started a programming career that I can honestly say I loved showing up to everyday (even on the weekends!).

Oddly enough, I worked at the UC Davis Genome Center for a year and then began a 9 year career at the prestigious Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL)... and you guessed it: working with C/C++ on an open-source compiler infrastructure project called ROSE. It was a tremendously enjoyable journey and therefore extremely bittersweet when I departed in June of 2019 to finally focus on all of my other ventures.

I still love to stay sharp and up-to-date with all things technology, and benefit in all of my endeavors from the breadth of knowledge and experience I've acquired through the years (automation, engineering, IT systems, project management, scripting, coding, and so much more). One day, I'll probably have another go at a technical position, perhaps my own tech startup company (stay tuned!!!).

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