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Tech insights: Taylor Otwell on How He Got Into Programming
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Taylor Otwell on How He Got Into Programming

16 February 2023, by Josh Nel

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Here, Laravel creator Taylor Otwell talks about his journey into programming.

The Transcript

So when I was growing up in hot springs, my next door neighbor actually, a man named Kevin Kelly was a programmer.

I’m pretty sure he had his own sort of programming business that program for businesses around hot springs. And when I was first interested in computers, I think my parents reached out to him and said, “Hey, Taylor, wants a computer.

OfferZen_how-taylor-got-inot-programming_inner-article

You know, what should we get?” And so he actually set us up with our first computer that was like 66 megahertz, you know, just like one of those big, huge towers and stuff. And that was my first computer, and I started building websites for like my favorite video games on Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo or whatever else.

Other than that, you know, I was a pretty normal kid, liked to play basketball after school every day. I did a lot of typical sports stuff like that, but I was always had a little bit of a nerdy side.

So when I got that first computer and started, you know, put my first website out there on the internet for everyone to access, I think it was a website actually about the game civilization Two.

I put it out there and that was just like, really cool to me that I put like this document out there that anyone in the world can see. Even though I’m just like this kid in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It’s just a really unique thing and really fun thing to do.

So my first programming experience was really like HTML, CSS, and things like that. And then in high school, I started programming a little more seriously on my TI-83 graphing calculator, where I programmed in all the answers for my math tests, my English tests, things like that. Sorry to all the teachers out there.

And then in college, I majored in information technology at Arkansas Tech University, which is here in Russellville, Arkansas. I learned some C++ there, some more traditional programming stuff. And once I graduated with my four year degree there, I was hired by Arkansas Best Freight, which is a large trucking company that’s based here in Arkansas. And that’s where I really developed a lot of my programming skills because they put me through a six-month training program that taught me how to program and all of the languages they used, all of their various workflows and sort of best development practices.

And they put all of their new hires through this program. So that’s where I really learned like real world programming. And it’s also where I first kind of got exposed to open source and people that like to program in their free time, which was not something I was really exposed to before that.

So that’s kind of when I first started playing around with my old side projects in my free time as well.

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