Join LinkedIn Learning Developer Instructor for an in-depth discussion in this video Sasha Vodnik, part of Career Clinic: Developer Insights.
- So my inspiration for getting into programming and sort of tinkering, in general, I think starts with my great-grandfather. He was one of the first auto mechanics when cars first came out. And I remember, as a kid, going to visit him and he lived on this piece of land in rural Indiana and he had several sheds that were just full of mechanical equipment. There was an old golf cart and this little car that had six wheels and that would go in the water as well as on land.
And he had this steam engine, it was actually a steam tractor, that was 100 years old and every year he would take it to this gathering and fire it up for this crowd of antique farm equipment enthusiasts. The fact that he tinkered with things, I found I was excited by that and I wanted to do that myself. Also growing up, my dad did a lot of his own repairs and work on things, so I helped him wire some things in our house. I remember methodically changing the brakes on the car one day, and we actually worked on that project together.
I was probably about eight. Where he asked me to get paper and a pen and then we're taking the wheel apart and there's four different springs and four different colors that connect four different things. So he's like, okay, let's draw a diagram. He had me draw the diagram and mark where all the springs go so once we take them off, put them aside, we know where they go back when we're putting it back together. And so I feel like that was this real education in yes, you can actually do this, there's a methodical way to do it and you can figure it out. So, in the mid-90s, I was doing some freelance editing for a publishing company.
And so the other piece for me, in terms of my career, has been about, I feel like I started off as a hardware guy. I always really liked tinkering and some of my first interactions with my computers, in addition to running software that I bought and installed, was to actually take it apart. Replacing the power supply, putting in a new processor. And so, all of that hands on stuff got me familiar and used to computers and then the programming piece kind of went in on top of that and I feel like was an extension for me of, okay, what else can I do with this? How else can I make this do what I want it to do, rather than just taking what I've been given and working with it? I feel like it's really important to learn how to solve problems, and that starts with learning how to step-by-step really narrow down what the problem is.
Because if you can't define the problem, you can go off in all these different directions where you think you're solving it and you're hitting these dead ends because you haven't actually identified what's wrong. Being able to figure out what's wrong is an important skill and then knowing where to go to help you either figure it out or learn new things that aren't part of your skill set and add those in so that you can bring those to bear on this problem and solve it for yourself.