I've never really written about how I came into web dev and software engineering so thought it might be cool to tell my story.
Growing Up Years
I grew up on a farm in the country near Rosenort/Morris, MB. Being so, I wasn't really the first one to get my hands on the computer/internet. My dad had an old windows 3.1 computer that he used for business purposes. I remember primarily using it for games such as Jezzball and Rodent's Revenge. I don't think I was really into computers all that much as this age. At this point we had dial up internet. I remember the classic sound it would make when connecting. This is also when netscape navigator was the browser of choice.
In my later years I remember coming home from summer camp and we had a new emachines computer. This also came with "always on" internet. This was so great as you could just hop on the computer and have internet without needing a password all the time.
I remember in those days being quite active on MSN messenger, and browsing forums/websites. I'm not sure exactly how it happened but at some point I randomly met this guy named aeiz. He proceeded to kind of mentor me and provided me a playground to host my websites. You have to remember this is many years ago and setting up a website wasn't as easy as it is now. I'm not sure if I ever would have gotten into software engineering if it wasn't for him giving me that opportunity.
From here I tended to make websites for the sports teams I was on. Whether this was baseball or hockey. I would regularly update the stats, schedule and other stuff. Also the live chat became a huge hit. I also founded my own website brenelz.com where I just played around with random things. I remember i had a gameboy emulator on it for playing games. This was a huge hit at my school since it allowed people to get around the blocking of games. It's crazy how stuff like that takes off.
Red Tiger Group (July 2006)
Right out of high school I figured I would try to make this web dev thing a career. I enjoyed it in my spare time, so doing it full time seemed like an obvious choice. I spent 9 months at a company called Red Tiger Group in Morris. It was a great time of learning from smart people. I look back and appreciate the time they invested in me. I remember being very out of my element at times having to answer phones, and greet people as they went to the office. I was a pretty shy individual.
University of Winnipeg (April 2007)
It was at this time that the company was going through a transition. This happened to work out perfectly as I decided to go to school at U of W. I feel like this 9 months of time was perfect for getting my feet wet, and determining if this is what I wanted to do.
The U of W course (Internet Systems Specialist Diploma) was a one year full-time course. I had the mindset to get my schooling and get out as fast as I could. I also wanted practical knowledge that I felt could be obtained through this course. I sometimes look back and wonder what a computer science degree would have done for me, but thats in the past.
Brenelz Web Solutions (April 2008)
Right after school I started contracting with some guys I knew from before university. I got to work from home right out of school which I thought was the greatest thing at the time. I now look back and wonder if it hindered my growth as an engineer at all. I wasn't really able to pair program with people and learn from being beside someone. On the flip side due to this I honed one of my skills which is being self-sufficient and learning on the fly.
During this time I also learned about the business sides of things. Such as registering a business name, doing taxes, and invoicing.
Graphic Intuitions (February 2013)
This leads to my first real office job at a company called Graphic Intuitions. It was again with the same guys I previously knew but this time we were starting an office in Morris. This started out as a small office next to a truck wash. I met some people I still call friends here, and we had numerous funny trucker stories to tell.
Leaving this job was a super hard thing to do. I felt like I wasn't being loyal, and leaving the people who helped me get to where I was. I eventually left for a company called Bold Commerce.
Bold Commerce (June 2015)
I joined Bold in June 2015 while they were in a little office in Île-des-Chênes, MB. This again was a new experience for me as I would have to drive some 40 mins to work each day. Building products was a whole new experience for me as I had come from a client agency. I immediately enjoyed it, even if I felt very over my head at the start.
We eventually transitioned to a large office in Winnipeg and the company has grown to 300+ employees. These people have become close friends, and not just coworkers.
Come join me if you like!
Overall I feel very blessed with how my career has turned out so far. I hope I can inspire the next generation of software engineers like aeiz did for me back in the day. The web and programming in general has changed so much in the last 12 years and I'm excited to see where its headed.