I learned to program...

At my Computer Club in 1975 as a Freshman in HS to solve SAS and SSS triangle problems using BASIC on a PDP 11/780 Minicomputer via a 300 baud modem!
— 
A. Jorge Garcia

by coding myself a Frogger clone into my TI-82 calculator after I was grounded from games by my parents.
— 
Aaron Grando

because after playing a game on my first computer, I was pretty sure I could make a better one if I tried.
— 
Aaron Kimball

in BASIC as part of a mandatory computer class at my Catholic grade school. Thank you, Mrs. Roy.
— 
Aaron Willette

to get through those writing-"I will not call my brother a bad name"-a-hundred-times punishments; I told my mom typing practice would be important in the future.
— 
Adam M. Smith

throwing together MUD-style games in BASIC.
— 
Adam Stegman

QBasic at a summer computer camp.
— 
Adam Wong

iteratively, throughout my teens: it took my wonderful father to notice those bits and pieces, identify that I liked them, and label them as "programming".
— 
Addie Beseda

when I was seven, and I'm still learning.
— 
Adrian McCarthy

on a hand-me-down VIC-20 that came with some game code on cassette tape that I rewrote to learn what each line of code did.
— 
Alan Wolf

because I wanted computers to run my way.
— 
Aldo Miranda-Aguilar

because I thought it was easier to program the computer to do the school (floating point) sums for me, than to actually do the sums.
— 
Alejandro Cámara

in my senior year of college because I wanted to improve my ability to do astronomy.
— 
Alessondra Springmann

because I wanted to build cool things. Now that's my job.
— 
Alex Gaynor

because it seemed like the thing to do at the time.
— 
Alex Hawke

using Visual Basic, for my Computing A-level in 2007.
— 
Alex Muller

in BASIC on an Amstrad 128 because I couldn't fathom how a computer could possibly do what it did.
— 
Alex Southgate

from some friends in high school who had been programming since they were in middle school.
— 
Alex Sutherland

as a teenager, writing the Terminator 2 melody as tones in BASIC.
— 
Alexander Chen

because I knew I was creative, but my medium wasn't paint or pencils.
— 
Alexander Hart

because of FIRST robotics.
— 
Alexander Marunowski

after putting the kids I babysat to bed; I would make games in BASIC.
— 
Alexandra Holloway

to prove to myself that I could do it.
— 
Alexis Hope

while trying to avoid taking a math class in college.
— 
Alfred Thompson

by copying game code in BASIC that was printed in the back of magazines.
— 
Allen Murray

because I had believed that the television was a portal onto Sesame Street, and BASIC brought me back to that sense of a vast world inside the screen.
— 
Allin Kahrl

when I was freshman in college writing printf("Hello, World\n") in C.
— 
Alun Kan Wu

because I believed (and still do) that it's one of the best skills to have in order to change people's lives for the better.
— 
Alyssa Daw

because I'm a control freak and pre-built themes weren't doing exactly what I envisioned for my website.
— 
Amanda Krauss

by trial and error, on a Mac IIci. I remember being blown away by the possibilities. I still am.
— 
Amber Matthews

because plain old writing got boring, but writing that did something was magic.
— 
Amy Hendrix

because I loved the logic puzzles my dad brought home to share with me while he was completing his masters in computer science.
— 
Ana Chang

with QBasic in middle school.
— 
Anders Hassis

on my TI-89 in order to make an RPG.
— 
Andrés López-Pineda

to tweak the game Gorillas that came with QBasic in the x286 computer I got in middle school.
— 
Andrés Monroy-Hernández

when I was 8, and my mom taught me BASIC on an Atari 800.
— 
Andrea Forte

because I wanted to rule the world.
— 
Andreas Schipplock

in grade 11, when my maths teacher introduced us to APL on optical mark cards.
— 
Andrew Bettison

through the love and early support of my parents who bought me any programming book I wanted when I was young.
— 
Andrew Bonventre

by writing a text adventure that used a .BAT file to navigate between discrete text files.
— 
Andrew Carle

on an Italian calculator, the Olivetti Programma 101, in my high school calculus class in 1970.
— 
Andrew Davidson

trying to write games and generative graphics on a TI-83 calculator.
— 
Andrew Lovett-Barron

when I was 7 years old, from BASIC books my father gave me which had entire games printed out line by line.
— 
Andrew Traviss

in BASIC written down on grid paper, because at first none of the computers I had access to came with a programming environment.
— 
Andrew Witte

by reading code others had written.
— 
Andrew Wooster

to write games on the schools BBC Micro.
— 
Andy Broomfield

making a game on a TI-85 graphing calculator to distract myself from a boring biology class, without realizing I was programming until years later.
— 
Andy Skalet

on a toy from 1986 called the Basic Tutor, with a BASIC interpreter and 2KB RAM.
— 
Andy West

because I like learning languages — computer ones included!
— 
Angelica Lim

with AOLpress in high school — this was in 1998.
— 
Angie Chang

in LOGO; I loved to see the turtle draw shapes as it moved.
— 
Animesh Agarwal

after reading an editorial by Gloria Steinem in Ms. Magazine about the lack of women in technology.
— 
Ann Hoang

because I wanted to figure out how a computer worked.
— 
Ann Root

so that I can be a part of making quality software that makes peoples lives easier.
— 
Anne Simmons

without realizing I was coding when I designed an animated card in BASIC for my mom for her birthday.
— 
Anne Sullivan

BASIC with a pen and paper and later typed in when I could find a computer.
— 
Anoop Sankar

at 16, in my bedroom, as soon as I had access to a computer (a 77-68 with a 6800 CPU and 256 bytes of RAM and a little row of switches for input).
— 
Anthony C. Hay

because it is a form of art.
— 
Antonio Carlón

because my heart was broken... then truly I fell into love with programming.
— 
Antonio Lopez

in 1984, using BASIC on an Atari 800XL. Funny.
— 
Antonio Pintus

because electronic games fascinated me.
— 
Apoorv Saxena

because many of my friends believed I couldn't become a programmer, since I'm a girl. I was keen to prove them wrong, and so I did.
— 
Arpiné Grigoryan

by taking a course in BASIC at my high school.
— 
Art Simon

on my TI-86 calculator while bored in high school classes.
— 
Arthaey Angosii

because my first computer would only sit with a blinking cursor if I didn't program it.
— 
Ashley Feniello

when an ex-boyfriend showed me Linux; I still use Linux, but not the boyfriend.
— 
Ashley Hennefer

first on a TI-83 graphing calculator while bored in geometry class in junior high.
— 
Ashley Revlett

because digital experience is the best medium for any message.
— 
Ashley Williams

because I thought the Demoscene was awesome and wanted to write my own demos.
— 
Austin Appleby

because, like so many, I wanted to make games as a child.
— 
Austin Seipp

so that I could get paid for playing with math!
— 
BJ Wishinsky

by writing programs to solve common problems in our math competitions on my TI-83 in high school.
— 
Bailey Steinfadt

in high school, back when we had just a dial-up connection.
— 
Barbara Jane Ericson

when I accidentally slipped on the right click button and discovered 'view source' for the first time.
— 
Barbara Shaurette

while working as a billing clerk who started improving the company's order processing software.
— 
Barbara Z. Johnson

to make web presentations of our public radio stories — now I do far more web and far less radio.
— 
Barrett Golding

because I wanted an entertaining job.
— 
Basia Horwath

using QBasic in high school and knew from day one that it's what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
— 
Ben Nadel

in the car with BASIC on my mom's laptop because I forgot a book to read.
— 
Ben Norskov

after stumbling across The Guide to Mostly Harmless Hacking while searching for something else entirely.
— 
Ben Serrette

in an intro to CS course taught by Joseph Weizenbaum.
— 
Beryl Nelson

with numbers but soon built a program that created 'poems' that had random nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
— 
Beth Katz

in 10th grade, making colored dots on the screen that blinked and changed colors based on the letters you chose to input.
— 
Betsy Speare

on the Apple II to write a D&D character generator.
— 
Bill Dugan

because I wanted to know how my computer worked.
— 
Bill Fraser

in BASIC on the KC85/3 when I was 8.
— 
Bjoern Doebel

drawing silly geometric patterns in Logo in the third grade.
— 
Bob Lewis

at age 7 when my dad brought an Apple II home from the office to stop me nagging him about working nights so I could come along and play with the computers.
— 
Bodil Stokke

because I wanted to learn to make things instead of just selling them.
— 
Brandon Hays

from the Commodore 64 User's Guide.
— 
Brett Levine

in BASIC on an Apple II+ that my dad won in a raffle he forgot he had entered.
— 
Brian Cavalier

from reading through, studying, and dissecting the GPL Doom source code.
— 
Brian Goodsell

because I love creating something, releasing it, and seeing what people do with it.
— 
Brian Kiel

because I was going to get a Computer Engineering degree on my way to becoming a patent lawyer.
— 
Briana Morrison

because solving puzzles was fun!
— 
Briana Morrison

writing QBert clone on Sega 3000, saving BASIC lines on tape recorder.
— 
Bruce Lane

6809 assembly on MO5 because I wanted to understand the custom tape loader of the first game my parents bought me.
— 
Bruno Kerouanton

and never stopped.
— 
Bryan Baraoidan

to calculate as many prime numbers as possible with my dad.
— 
Bryan Marten

when I realized in that machine existed a world where I could control everything.
— 
Cagan Senturk

by accidently signing up for computer science instead of keyboarding in high school.
— 
Caleb Peterson

from my big sister who taught me BASIC on my Atari 800XL.
— 
Carl Tracy

because it's the nerd form of painting.
— 
Carly Hessler

after spending 5 straight hours on the web for the first time in 1997, using Mosiac and Netscape 2.0 on a dialup modem.
— 
Carol Grosvenor

because I was hooked on the gateway drug of computer games.
— 
Carolyn Grabill

when I realized that it was more entertaining to create than it was to consume.
— 
Casey Deen

because the computer always listens to you.
— 
Casey Drummer

in C at age 16, in A-level Computing class... but really, I'm still learning to program!
— 
Cate Huston

in sixth grade using Lego Logo — except I didn't know it was programming, I just thought it was fun.
— 
Catherine Dodge

by being a designer who needed a programmer and couldn't find one!
— 
Catherine Hicks

on a computer with 8 bytes of memory that we built in the high school physics club from a pile of donated relays.
— 
Cay Horstmann

because LISP written in LISP seemed impossibly cool to my 8 year old self.
— 
Caz vonKow

by teaching myself PHP and other languages because I was frustrated with the limitations I was experiencing building websites.
— 
Celeste Paradise

Java to make e-cards for friends and family using applets.
— 
Chaitali Narla

as an intern, because copying, pasting, and formatting financial reports in Excel manually was boring.
— 
Charles Smith

because I was fascinated by how this beige box in front of me did its magic and had to know more.
— 
Chris Cornutt

by lying and saying that I could.
— 
Chris Couchoud

in BASIC as a way to learn my times tables and it just got more complex from there.
— 
Chris Klosowski

by copying simple games in BASIC from a book into my dad's Timex/Sinclair 1000.
— 
Christiaan Adams

to prove I was smarter than my dad, a math professor (I was 9).
— 
Christine McGavran

because when my grandpa showed me simple BASIC code I saw a game where you could write all the rules.
— 
Christine Task

because the ability to craft your own tools is more valuable than any of the tools you create.
— 
Christopher Busby

by following the ZX81 user guide, chapter by chapter, at age 10.
— 
Christopher Marsh

because my big brother was too lazy to type in the game code from C64 magazines so he made me do it.
— 
Claire Blackshaw

in an honors college course full of guys who'd all programmed in high school (but I ended up with the best grade in the class!)
— 
Clara Raubertas

because I enjoyed solving puzzles.
— 
Clare Bates Congdon

because my dad gave me three choices for summer camp: math camp, science camp, or computer camp — I chose computer camp!
— 
Clare Liguori

after I failed to start an AP Computer Science class at my high school and began to teach myself.
— 
Cole Gleason

because I wanted to know what this QBasic thing was that came bundled with Windows 3.11.
— 
Colin Waddell

in an introductory C++ class in junior college taught by a wonderful female teacher.
— 
Corrie Scalisi

first in college, but not really, and then as a teacher.
— 
Crystal Furman

in 10th grade when my world changed with my first Computer Science course.
— 
Crystal Hess

so I could become a wizard on a MUD.
— 
Daniel C. Silverstein

giving instructions to a turtle somewhere in South America, circa 1989.
— 
Daniel Cardoso Llach

when I was twelve, making networked text adventures on the school computer network.
— 
Daniel James

by hand-decoding a paper tape left behind in my high school computer room by a kid chortling over a simple game he'd written.
— 
Daniel Steinberg

because I wanted to be cool in the 90s and have my own GeoCities and Angelfire templates.
— 
Danielle Yu

because I wanted to make the turtle draw cool things in Logo.
— 
Dave Chiu

in 1960 at a summer job for the Navy at Hunter's Point in Fortran 2.
— 
Dave Gomberg

entering code from Atari BASIC magazines, and making changes to see how things worked (on an Atari 400 computer).
— 
Dave Yang

because I was deaf when I was 5, and my Dad taught me how to talk to computers with BASIC.
— 
David Byard

copying games onto my dad's TRS-80.
— 
David Fierbaugh

by reading books on writing games in BASIC at the library.
— 
David Glasser

because my father (an EE) talked me into it; then I had the epiphany and just couldn't go back.
— 
David Guaraglia

in a batch file using MS-DOS.
— 
David Harris

calendar apps in 1K of Sinclair BASIC on a ZX81 plugged into a black-and-white telly.
— 
David Jones

when I discovered that screens were made of pixels and I could be able to draw with the computer.
— 
David Pardo

on a Commodore PET with 4K of RAM.
— 
David Plass

my freshman year of university, and man those conceited geeks pissed me off... enough to become one of them.
— 
David Shefchik

in BASIC on a TRS-80 model 1, pouring over code from TAB books on AI and articles in Byte magazine.
— 
David Skinner

in a Lego Logo workshop when I was 8 years old.
— 
David Stolarsky

because it was the first form of expression I could really do and enjoy.
— 
David Vogeleer

using the BASIC interpreter on a TI99/4A.
— 
Dean Christakos

because I wanted to develop new games.
— 
Deni Spasovski

on a VIC-20 that I saved up to purchase after many birthdays; by 8 years old I finally had enough to buy it.
— 
Derek Gavey

hacking BASIC on a Commodore VIC-20, to create interactive narrative — bouncing balls were way too mathy.
— 
Derek Reilly

because that's what the boys were doing, and I wanted to prove that I could too.
— 
Diana Clarke

by debugging and fixing the single-byte errors that gradually accumulated on the cassette tapes of my father's Ohio Scientific computer.
— 
Don Schwarz

while trying to dig into the internals of the old text-based Colossal Cave Adventure.
— 
Don Smith

at age 12 back when that was still unusual.
— 
Don Woods

watching my brothers make turtle graphics on the Apple II in my crib room.
— 
Donovan Drane

in college, because Computer Science courses were not offered at my high school.
— 
Doris Jackson-Bonaby

because not understanding how computer programs worked really, really bothered me.
— 
Doug Brown

to make a letter writing web app in Perl/CGI for my Amnesty International group.
— 
Doug Holton

because if I wrote good enough code, my math teacher would let me use the keyboard, rather than punch cards.
— 
Doug Schmidt

by reading the ITT BASIC manual with my Mom after school during 3rd grade.
— 
Dr. Bo Brinkman

in 7th grade on an Apple II clone that I transformed into a playable monophonic synthesizer.
— 
Dr. Toast

so I could write a sequel to The Legend of Zelda in QBasic, at age 9.
— 
Drew Sears

with Ada in my CS 101 class.
— 
Dustin King

because just looking at art isn't nearly as rewarding as interacting with it.
— 
Dustin Sparks

my TI 99/4A, fascinated that the pixels and speakers would obey me if I gave them commands in their own language.
— 
Dylan Kuhn

because I wanted to make a mind.
— 
Dylan Morris

at age 8 on two TRS-80s, some of the first classroom computers in Oklahoma.
— 
Dylan Wilbanks

so that I could write a bot to control dozens of players in a text-based MMORPG.
— 
Ehsanul Hoque

by breaking things and then fixing them.
— 
Eli Horne

because I wanted to invent.
— 
Elia Freedman

because I wanted to make an interactive chicken.
— 
Eliya Selhub

at 10 years old, modifying "nibbles" (in QBasic) to display my name in the tail of the snake.
— 
Emiliano Romero

Lewis Carroll's poem Jabberwocky into a TI-80 graphic calculator while bored in my high school English class.
— 
Emily Daniels

by writing QBasic and TI-85 programs to do my boring math homework for me.
— 
Emory Myers

because my 7th grade science teacher had just got a computer with dial-up and he asked me to make a webpage for the class.
— 
Eric Caron

by copy-pasting code out of a BASIC user manual into an old 386 machine until it did what I wanted it to do.
— 
Eric Mann

because I wanted to see the buildings I was imagining in my head out in the world, instead.
— 
Eric Nguyen

by dissecting friends' source code to understand what the pieces did.
— 
Erick Hitter

writing BASIC games on the Apple IIe; you could buy games, but it was more fun entering line by line yourself.
— 
Erik Natzke

because I love to tell others what they can do, but speaking to them directly wasn't persuasive enough.
— 
Esteban J. Felipe M.

in 1980 on my elementary school's Apple II, because I loved games and I wanted to make my own.
— 
Eugene Eric Kim

because I wanted my own version of Bomberman.
— 
Eugene Wu

because I needed to solve a problem to get my work done.
— 
Eva Schweber

using a Perl for Dummies book in 8th grade.
— 
Evan Walsh

by recording, then tweaking, Excel macros.
— 
Ezra Kenigsberg

because I see the world in black background and green letters.
— 
Fabio Seixas

when I poked my nose into my father's book for learning how to write programs using BASIC.
— 
Fadoua Ghourabi

by reading the documentation and playing with compilers as a kid.
— 
Farzad Eshaghi

when I took my first "Intro to Programming" course during my first year at University.
— 
Fatima Amin

investigating how to create a website the way I wanted.
— 
Federico Ramírez

because, from a very early age, I always wanted to make computers do what I tell them.
— 
Fiona Burrows

because there was a BASIC program in the back of my 8th grade biology book and I wanted to understand it.
— 
Florencia Mincucci

when I was bored playing the games that came with my Commodore 64.
— 
Frank Spychalski

by copying BASIC code for a simple guessing game from a teen magazine and adapting it later.
— 
Franziska Sauerwein

on a Commodore PET, as 3 lives in Space Invaders was too short.
— 
Fred Crowson

because the games that came with my Spectrum +2 were boring!
— 
Gareth Lees

because the superintendent offering me a job pointed to a TRS-80, asked if I knew anything about them, and I said yes.
— 
Garth Flint

after watching War Games.
— 
Geoff Groberg

when I got tired of not knowing how to do anything more than drawing and animations with Flash.
— 
George Profenza

when I was 9, in Logo, making the turtle draw shapes on the screen.
— 
Gert Meulyzer

after I finished my military service, inspired by the power and freedom it gives to make whatever experience I desire.
— 
Gilad Lotan

because I wanted a new way to express my creativity.
— 
Gillian Smith

because my parents didn't want me to be an actor — now I want to be a programmer AND an actor.
— 
Giovani Vicente

to allow me to build the things in my head.
— 
Glen Murphy

making a choose-your-own-adventure RPG with LogoWriter in 5th grade.
— 
Glenn Barnett

because I burnt one too many holes in my jumper with a soldering iron and decided I should try something I didn't need manual dexterity for.
— 
Glenn Pegden

when I got fed up being patronized by engineers who said, 'oh you poor artist, how could you be expected to write code?'
— 
Golan Levin

on an Apple IIe so I could draw a picture of my house.
— 
Greg Kilpatrick

by myself in 8th grade, on a graphing calculator.
— 
Guillaume Ardaud

because creating something useful where before there was nothing has to be the coolest thing in the world.
— 
Hélène Martin

because I wanted to give something back to the people who had written so much software for others.
— 
Hammy Havoc

and realized it was the enlightened intersection of puzzles and crafts.
— 
Hannah Mittelstaedt

when I was sent to soccer camp and rainy days were spent in a college lab of Apple IIs.
— 
Hans Gerwitz

because it gives you a chance to play god of small things.
— 
Harshad Joshi

because this is the easiest medium for creating something out of nothing.
— 
Harshad Sharma

because I am a sound artist and I wanted to get as low level control over my work as possible.
— 
Heather Dewey-Hagborg

when my dad told me I could make the computer play me a melody using BASIC.
— 
Helen Hou-Sandi

in college, and promptly changed my career goal from journalist to computer scientist.
— 
Henny Admoni

reading the QBasic built-in help.
— 
Henrique Vilela

because I think video games are a great and valuable artistic medium.
— 
Hugh Isaacs II

when I discovered that I could make the computer sit up and dance for my own amusement.
— 
Hugh Sullivan

by playing with Microsoft QuickBASIC on a Macintosh Classic when I was 8.
— 
Huw Rowlands

in BASIC, an hour before bedtime each night on my father's machine.
— 
Ian Fitzpatrick

when I was introduced to Scratch in the sixth grade.
— 
Ian Reynolds

because creating custom maps for Starcraft and Warcraft required a lot of conditionals and event-based thinking.
— 
Ian Storm Taylor

in QBasic because drawing in Microsoft Paint was so boring.
— 
Irving Morales

making the most basic of games on my TI-83 calculator that we used in high-school.
— 
Jaaq Jorissen

on a TI-83 graphing calculator, reading the manual and writing solvers and games.
— 
Jadrian Miles

by using QBasic to play tones on the computer, which I then turned into music.
— 
Jaelle Scheuerman

to write a text based adventure game for my friends with C64.
— 
Jakub Nabrdalik

to create permanent things made out of temporary thoughts.
— 
James George

because I wanted to be a producer, not just a consumer.
— 
James M. Allen

to make a bulletin board system for sharing homework in my high school.
— 
James Magahern

using QBasic to make interesting visuals to show to friends.
— 
James Pine

on an Apple IIe using Logo during a summer holiday activity program in Violet Town.
— 
James Turnbull

by hacking QBasic games on my IBM 286.
— 
James Yu

because it was the simplest way to draw patterns consisting of 100 circles on ZX Spectrum.
— 
Jan Matusiewicz

to make games that make people happy.
— 
Jan Stec

on a Commodore VIC-20, writing a BASIC program to make the TV screen cycle through a bunch of different colors.
— 
Jane Wells

in QBasic, trying to modify the Nibbles and Gorillas games.
— 
Jano González

because the computer looked like a magic box that did what you told it to, and I wanted to find out how it worked.
— 
Jas Strong

because I wanted to create my very own MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) about 14 years ago.
— 
Jason Babo

in Flash and I don't have a computer science degree.
— 
Jason Fincanon

because as soon as I plugged a phone line into my PC, I wanted to leave my mark on the net.
— 
Jason LeVan

in a high school elective course. Thanks Mrs. Elia!
— 
Jean Hsu

nominally in BASIC, but actually for my Tamagotchi website '97-'98.
— 
Jean Yang

in high school because I needed to make a Sailor Moon website.
— 
Jeannie Hart

because I wanted more toys, but didn't have the money and decided that I could create my own.
— 
Jeff Anderson

to write my own video games in BASIC on a TI-99.
— 
Jeff Burdges

BASIC. On the Atari 800. Good times!
— 
Jeff Chasin

on a Commodore 64 so I could make text-based games for my Dad.
— 
Jeff Chastine

because I kept cross wiring power and frying very expensive CPUs.
— 
Jeff Hackert

so I could make algorithmic art; 28 years later I've come full circle.
— 
Jeff Johnston

to steal the BIOS password my parents used to keep me off the computer all the time.
— 
Jeff Zellner

teaching myself BASIC from a book on my Dad's TRS-80 Model III, then later hacking on dial-up BBS systems.
— 
Jeffrey Wescott

when I was six and programmed my computer to greet me so I would have a digital friend.
— 
Jen Arguello

because I love to build things and it was a natural progression from Lincoln Logs, Legos, Tinkertoys, and Erector Sets.
— 
Jenna Pederson

by figuring out how to cheat at ZX Spectrum games.
— 
Jennie Lees

when I managed to get a job as a developer without actually knowing how to program.
— 
Jennifer Jacobs

in my fist semester of university, using C to create patterns using asterisks; I failed miserably as I learned about pointers.
— 
Jennifer Lee

in HyperCard, on a Mac SE, in one feverish summer of opened doors.
— 
Jer Thorp

in the second grade with the Logo turtle (I named him "Tiberius") on an Apple IIe.
— 
Jessica Hinel

on a Digital PDP-11 with a printer as the output device instead of a screen.
— 
Jesus Contreras

by making websites for my favorite punk rock bands in 8th grade.
— 
Jill Dimond

with TI programmable calculators in the late 70's.
— 
Jim Armstrong

because I didn't want to pay the price for a shareware app, so I decided to make one myself.
— 
Jim Mitchell

because my mom forced me; little did I know just how much I would love it!
— 
Jocelyn Casto

at age 7 when my dad gave me a book on HTML.
— 
Johan Jensen

when I got a job that required me to sit for 8+ hours a day and write Java.
— 
John Fries

on an Apple ][+ when I was 14 years old, a year later to realize I knew more than some of my teachers.
— 
John H. Doe

when I was 14 (1993) using MS Visual Basic 3.0 and MS Access.
— 
John James Jacoby

because it's not an assembly line; it's creating something new every time you do it.
— 
John Kurkowski

reading "The Slipped Disk Show" in 3-2-1 Contact magazine and practicing on an Apple IIE.
— 
John McMellen

because our teachers taught us Logo in 4th grade and I fell in love with making the computer do what I wanted it to do.
— 
Jon A Preston

and am still learning every day.
— 
Jon Cotter

when I was 6 to help me learn to read.
— 
Jon Schwartz

because I wanted to be apart of the demoscene.
— 
Jonas Ladenfors

because my parents wouldn't let us play video games; I learned BASIC and wrote one.
— 
Jonathan Dugan

by trying to make games in HyperCard while my mom, a teacher, worked on lesson plans.
— 
Jonathan Johnson

on a spring break visit to my father's house, in 1997, when he sat me down with a book on learning Perl in 365 days.
— 
Jonathon Byrd

reading books of games in BASIC, and later to control a robot with ANN.
— 
Jorge E. Cardona

because when robots take over the world, I want to be able to reprogram them.
— 
Joris de Ruiter

in order to help people to live better as humans.
— 
Jose C. Nina

at 14, back in 1982, when my father bought (after much insistence on my part) a Commodore VIC-20.
— 
Jose Gavila

in QBasic on an IBM AT using a tattered old book full of example programs in GW-BASIC.
— 
Joseph Near

to make enough money to live a great lifestyle doing something I find enjoyable.
— 
Joseph Randall Hunt

by interrupting math games written in BASIC and messing up all the angles to mess with the teachers mental state.
— 
Joseph Wilk

so my TI-86 could do the stoichiometry for me.
— 
Josh Bickford

by turning pixels on and off using Peek and Poke on a Commodore Plus/4 when I was 12.
— 
Josh Ulm

so I could make applications on my graphing calculator that would help me cheat in my Geometry class.
— 
Joshua Ferguson

because I found a book about programming and I didn't have anything else to do.
— 
Juan C. Olivares

by reading the HTML code that MS Publisher generated and improving it — not as hard as it seems.
— 
Juan García

as a junior in college, with FORTRAN IV using punch cards, because I thought it might be useful someday.
— 
Julia Benson-Slaughter

in the fifth grade, drawing colorful stars and patterns in Logo.
— 
Juliana Peña

to get a job building things that make people's lives a little bit easier, and happily discovered it was great fun too!
— 
Julie Pichon

so I didn't have to fill out truth tables by hand.
— 
Justice Conder

by writing programs on my TI-83+ to cheat on math tests.
— 
Justin Nelson

on a spur of the moment decision, and signed up for college two weeks before classes started.
— 
Kaela Roy

in tenth grade, by creating a piano lesson in HyperCard, then moving to BASIC when I realized I could build tools and games instead of just using them.
— 
Kaleigh Smith

in grade school because it felt profoundly satisfying to write programs on my TI-83 and see them work.
— 
Kamil Slowikowski

because there were ideas I wanted to explore that I couldn't explore in any other way.
— 
Karen Brennan

because it was the only way to have fun with a Commodore 64.
— 
Karen Petrie

when we bought a Commodore 64 when I was 8 or 9.
— 
Karen Zeller

in my first year in college, in the CS department's introductory class.
— 
Karolina Netolicka

by typing in the BASIC games from the back of 3-2-1 Contact Magazine with my nerdy friends.
— 
Kasima Tharnpipitchai

by typing in BASIC programs from a magazine with my mum.
— 
Kate Farrell

so I could make an app to teach my web-design students how to mix colours with hex codes.
— 
Kate Glover

when I was 16 and I wanted to create communities for young people and fan sites for Fil-Am artists.
— 
Katherine Pe

because I was embarrassed to have a powerful computer that I didn't really know how to use.
— 
Kathleen Fisher

in high school math class, on a terminal provided by Jackson State University.
— 
Kathleen Weaver

after college, while recovering from a ski accident.
— 
Kathryn Rotondo

in a one-semester BASIC class (with a teletype!) during my sophomore year of high school.
— 
Kathy Walrath

when I wanted a piano and got an Atari — programmed the keys to make sounds.
— 
Katie A. Siek

because I wanted to express my love of art and design in a different medium.
— 
Katie Andrews

because the guy I shared an office with only talked about Phil Collins and Lingo — and I really didn't want to learn about Phil Collins.
— 
Katie Stockton

in high school by writing a chess game that I never finished.
— 
Kaue Soares da Silveira

when I was 5 or 6; my dad taught me so we could make a number guessing game together.
— 
Keiran McDonald

with a lot of Googling and a strong desire to make something cool.
— 
Kelly Dunn

by taking apart old text-adventure games written in BASIC.
— 
Kelly Heffner Wilkerson

in 1981 while stationed as a private at Ft. Stewart, Georgia; weekends spent studying BASIC on an old TRS-80 in a small room in the base library.
— 
Kelvin Meeks

by rewriting autoexec.bat a hundred times trying to get MechWarrior 2 to run.
— 
Kevin Baribeau

because it was a prerequisite for electrical engineering, a major I would soon transfer out of in favor of computer science and engineering.
— 
Kevin Chiu

because I wanted to share my creations with the world. It was my new set of LEGOs.
— 
Kevin Joel Yanes

so long ago I can hardly remember, but it was in Fortran, with punchcards.
— 
Kevin Karplus

using QBasic to write a subroutine to take integers like 2345 and convert them to strings like "two thousand three hundred forty-five".
— 
Kevin Morrill

because I wanted to recreate the Miniclip dancing bush video using my cousin's head.
— 
Khalid Bajwa

because I saw someone type what looked like greek into a TRS-80, hit enter, and magic happened, and I knew then that I wanted to make that happen too.
— 
Kim Pallister

when my dad brought home a TRS-80 because really there wasn't much else you could do with 4K of memory and a cassette tape drive.
— 
Kim Wilkens

on a TRS-80 Color Computer; I liked to write programs to play song melodies and harmonies.
— 
Kimberly Blessing

so I could make machines see.
— 
Kimberly Moravec

because my mom wanted to keep me busy while she held office hours, so together we coded 20 questions and tic tac toe in BASIC.
— 
Kristi Potter

by reluctantly taking a class required for my Cognitive Science major; I was completely surprised to discover how much I love coding!
— 
Kristin Maczko

starting at age 35 when I decided to make a career change and went back to school.
— 
Kronda Adair

to simulate model rocket launches with my dad in ninth grade.
— 
Kurt Thorn

to make my own Windows 3.1 settings on my dad's computer (via KYLEWIN.BAT).
— 
Kyle Wild

at camp, from a seven-year old camper who showed me how to use Scratch so that I would take him to the lab whenever he wanted.
— 
Larisa Berger

to empower students to be creators rather than users.
— 
Laura Blankenship

when I subscribed to courses I thought would be about designing websites, but turned out to about programming them; best mistake of my life!
— 
Laura Verstraeten

in pre-calculus class because I wanted to out-geek my valedictorian boyfriend.
— 
Lauren Bricker

on an Apple IIe when I was 10 in my dad's study, because there weren't many, if any, games. That's how I amused myself.
— 
Lauren Harwood

when I was 12 and my mom made a deal with me that I could go to soccer camp if I also went to computer camp that summer.
— 
Lauren McCarthy

in college for the satisfaction of proving to myself that computer programmers could be regular folks like me.
— 
Laurie Bartels

on an old programmable calculator using BASIC.
— 
Lea Kissner

in 1963 to impress my girlfriend's father.
— 
Lee Doolan

to satisfy my liberal arts college's distribution requirement, and found it led to a career.
— 
Lee Schlesinger

because I lived in Berlin, couldn't speak German, and Java seemed to easier to pick up!
— 
Leif Isaksen

as an undergrad, to get a job to pay my tuition.
— 
Leigh Ann Sudol-DeLyser

on the back side of punched cards on a UNIVAC 1100 as an intern at the Swedish Defence Central in the late 70s.
— 
Lennart Lövstrand

making games in The Game Maker in middle school.
— 
Leo Levitt

because I love design, but my medium wasn't physical.
— 
Levi Breederland

by finding artistic problems which made absorbing the knowledge easy.
— 
Lilli Thompson

because I loved working with details and solving problems, and I was bored with my job in sales.
— 
Linda Vincent

during an internship my senior year of high school when I discovered that solving problems with code is fun.
— 
Lindsay Rolig

in my second year of college, in a course I tried on an idle whim. I was in love by the third week.
— 
Lindsey Kuper

because it's not enough to just have an idea — you need to be able to act on it too.
— 
Linus Bohman

because a lot of things made me angry.
— 
Lisa Williams

in 1981, on a VIC-20, saving my primitive text adventures on cassette tape.
— 
Liza Daly

in BASIC on the C64 to give my mother a question-response program for mother's day; it talked back to her and explained the many ways in which she is awesome.
— 
Lodewijk Gonggrijp

in BASIC on an old Texas Instruments computer, when I was 9 years old. I've never been afraid of code.
— 
Lori Compas

because I wanted to make webpages and HTML was for me not enough.
— 
Lubomir Panak

when I booted a Commodore VIC-20 without a cartridge.
— 
Lukas Bergstrom

by treating Sinclar BASIC as a word processor, until I figured out what to type to make it stop beeping.
— 
Luke Hutton

as a technical outlet for expressing my creative ideas.
— 
Luke Segars

when I realized there was a huge gap between the "flow-factor" of games kids play outside school and educational applications.
— 
Lynn Marentette

in 6th grade, when I coded up an ugly animated fish in BASIC; it was awesome.
— 
Maayan Roth

by reading a BASIC book, writing code on paper at night, and driving to my friend (who had a C64) the next morning.
— 
Manuel Kiessling

as an extra-curricular activity when I was bored at school.
— 
Margaret Agbowo

in high school because I wanted to create a personality matchmaking game.
— 
Maria Ly

in a hundred little ways in half a dozen languages; I can't call myself a programmer in a job interview, but I can surely program on any job!
— 
Maria Webster

because I wanted to make the snake game found on old Nokia cellphones.
— 
Mariano Guerra

because I had a TRS-80 Model II and it did nothing out of the box, which is disappointing for an 11 year old kid.
— 
Marie-Lynn Richard

because my mother and my grandmother were programmers; I never had an idea I could do anything else.
— 
Mariia Mykhailova

by typing in BASIC example code on a Casio PB-100 programmable calculator.
— 
Mario Klingemann

after a CS course required me to study Python, and I enjoyed it much much more than I ever thought I would.
— 
Marius Van Deventer

because my TI-89 came with a user manual.
— 
Mark Brewster

when I was 8 years old on a Tandy TRS-80; I fell in love.
— 
Mark Dochtermann

because when I was 14, I wanted to write a plugin for my online chat program.
— 
Mark Nelson

because I wanted to solve complex physics problems with the least amount of work.
— 
Markandey Singh

by building games in Visual Basic by moving Windows forms elements.
— 
Martin Evans

from magnanimous friends in order to make beautiful things intelligent and responsive to human bodies.
— 
Mary Franck

by writing HTML with a pencil on paper.
— 
Mason Brown

because shop class was full.
— 
Matt Donahoe

because I was 6 and had no money or software, so I learned to create my own.
— 
Matt Evans

by writing a BASIC game on a manual typewriter, and being driven by my mom to the local Radio Shack where I typed it in to the TRS-80 I coveted.
— 
Matt Hillman

on a TI-81 calculator, because solving quadratic equations over and over in my high school math class was mind-numbingly boring.
— 
Matt Munz

using QBasic to write a prime number generator out of curiosity.
— 
Matt Walters

many moons ago in modula2 so I could get robot mice to get to their robot charging station.
— 
Matt Webb

by making math apps and games on a TI-83 calculator during study hall way back in the day.
— 
Matthew Keefe

to drive Lego Mindstorms robots beyond the built-in programs.
— 
Matthew McPherrin

when my father and I built my first website after our first trip to Disney World.
— 
Matthew Mihok

after stumbling across Chapter 16 of the TI-83 calculator manual, which walked you through making a program that calculated the volume of a cylinder.
— 
Mattt Thompson

an old 8088 trying to create an animation in Turbo Pascal.
— 
Mauro Parra

by accident when I received a Coleco Adam "Programming in BASIC" manual instead of a video game system manual.
— 
Maxwell Spangler

when I was a secretary, and needed something to do when the phone wasn't ringing.
— 
Melanie Archer

using a borrowed book when I was 18, because I loved that feeling of empowerment.
— 
Melanie Haas

in QBasic because I wanted to be a hacker.
— 
Melita Mihaljević

on a BBC Model B, at the age of 11, with the most amazing book, starting with making a spider and bee game.
— 
Memo Akten

by making something that -I- wanted, not what someone told me to make.
— 
Michael Casha

for the same reason many great writers write: because I simply couldn't not program.
— 
Michael Chermside

by typing BASIC program listings from a children's magazine into my Atari 800XL.
— 
Michael Ferraro

by watching my dad program games on a black and white computer console in 1987.
— 
Michael Nagle

because I wanted to be able to create things of use to others.
— 
Michael Springer

because creating things is more interesting than consuming them.
— 
Michael Watson

because the web is such an awesome medium and I wanted the freedom to do anything and everything with it.
— 
Michael van Ouwerkerk

with hackerdojo.org and Bay Area DIY groups.
— 
Michelle Cadieux

HTML in middle school because I wasn't about to let the boys be the only ones with a website, then learned C in college.
— 
Michelle Lee

BASIC on a Commodore 16, using my parents' huge console TV as a monitor.
— 
Michelle Vietor

by poking around GORILLAS.BAS and NIBBLES.BAS which came with QBasic.
— 
Miikka Koskinen

because I knew there had to be a better way.
— 
Mike Richter

as a childhood hobby, 10 years before I ever thought of pursuing it "for real".
— 
Mike S. Craig

by breaking things, and then fixing them.
— 
Mike Schroder

by not being afraid to break things; it's more important to be a good problem solver than a mathematician.
— 
Mike Van Winkle

because I was so bored with everything, and then I fell in love.
— 
Mike Xu

when I was 11 years old, and made a David Duchovny fansite from scratch; within a year I was teaching myself C.
— 
Mitu Khandaker

in library school, and realized that I never wanted to do anything else.
— 
Molly Duggan

as a freshman, after deciding to become a computer scientist.
— 
Moushumi Sharmin

when I was 10, and dad bought the Oric Atmos which ran BASIC; it was insanely awesome.
— 
Muhammad Nasrullah

because my TRS-80 didn't come with any video games, so I had to write my own.
— 
Mykle Hansen

on an HP-85 with my dad when I was 6.
— 
Nadia Madden

because I wanted to make animations out of crazy stories I thought up as a kid.
— 
Nap Ramirez

because I wanted to make Wordpress do things it didn't know how to do.
— 
Nat Welch

on a computer borrowed from my dad's office, plotting fractals using polar functions.
— 
Natalie Glance

because I was forced to take a programming class in high school and I loved it!
— 
Natalie O'Connell

in the 5th grade by making games for my TI-83 instead of paying attention in math class.
— 
Nate Good

on an Apple II, because my best friend and I wanted to create new video games together in middle school.
— 
Nathan Janos

on an Apple II Plus and experimented with graphing all kinds of things.
— 
Nathaniel Pearlman

by taking "Intro to Programming" in college; I didn't event know how to turn on a computer before that!
— 
Nelly Yusupova

because there wasn't much else you could do on a ZX81, thank goodness.
— 
Nick Hamilton

in English class on a Commodore PET.
— 
Nick Montfort

in grad school with Visual Basic after my first mid-life crisis — I earned the only A in that class.
— 
Nicole Coyne

on an Atari ST by reading the Omikron Basic manual during my summer holidays.
— 
Nikolaus Gradwohl

by reverse engineering the TI-82 calculator game "Drug Wars" and turning it into a number of other super-inappropriate-for-teenager games.
— 
Noah Cawein

on a computer with 32kb of RAM which was a present from my grandfather.
— 
Norayr Chilingarian

when my grandfather showed me the QBasic source to Gorillas.
— 
Oliver Wilkerson

after I saw a computer and fell in love with it.
— 
Oscar Funes

on a Commodore 64 by reading a book with a BASIC game in it and typing in that game (about 5000 lines of code).
— 
Otto

in BBC Basic as a teenager, just for fun.
— 
Owen Stephens

because it was so difficult to use IBM cards and an IBM 7090; nothing worked.
— 
Oz DiGennaro

in 8th Grade on a Sharp PC 1403 (a calculator with a BASIC interpretor); coded so much that year I had to repeat the grade.
— 
Ozh Richard

when my buddy started a company; he gave me a Perl book and told me to make a web gallery of their products.
— 
Pablo Solis

because I forgot to get my mum a birthday present, and a webpage was the easiest thing I could make her.
— 
Pamela Fox

on a Sharp PC-E500 about two decades ago; my little 7-year-old heart shattered when my BASIC program caused permanent damage, killing the device.
— 
Paolo Rodriguez

because it let me express creativity, logic, structure, and artistry without having to clean up afterwards.
— 
Pat Yongpradit

because I was deeply fascinated by the concept of creating something out of nothing.
— 
Patrick Mylund Nielsen

by translating code from "Writing Adventure Games on the Amstrad CPC 464 / CPC 664" (a computer we never owned) to 386 QBasic.
— 
Paul Bohm

because my HS teacher challenged me to do a calculator in Visual Basic.
— 
Paula

to explore Mandelbrot and Julia sets generated by my own code.
— 
Paweł Zuzelski

to cheat in games by pressing Caps + Space on an Spectrum 48K.
— 
Pedro F. Pardo

by writing BASIC games on my TI-73 calculator.
— 
Peter Coolen

by pulling apart someone else's code.
— 
Peter Herrmann

by designing websites about my favourite cartoons at elementary school.
— 
Peteris Erins

by trying again 25 years later after doing miserably at it in college; I'm now a computer science graduate student.
— 
Petra Moessner

because I couldn't afford to buy the software I wanted to use.
— 
Phil Shapiro

using QBasic to make a funny spinoff of tic-tac-toe, called Tic-Tac-Yo-Momma.
— 
Philip Kelly

FORTRAN in order to model transistor behavior for electronics class.
— 
Pierre Bierre

because as a kid I could not sleep without thinking about my code of tomorrow.
— 
Piotr Modrzyk

in BASIC when my mother taught me an IF, a FOR, and a GOTO.
— 
Rachel Chermside

when I realized it would allow me to do much more deep complex work than I could do alone with pen and paper.
— 
Rafael Calsaverini

because, through all my interests, computers are the only thing that have always interested me.
— 
Rafe Kettler

because the "Learn BASIC" program was on a diskette with games and I accidentally started it, not knowing it was real stuff.
— 
Ran Biron

using a Commodore PET, but really got into it while writing web-based systems for schools.
— 
Randy Orwin

to make my own art tools.
— 
Raphaël Bastide

because it was easier than writing (and re-writing) specifications.
— 
Reagan Murray

because in 1977 I got an AMES 65 kit computer.
— 
Rebecca Ann Heineman

because my sister recommended that I try the intro Computer Science class when I started college.
— 
Rebecca Collins

when I found a cool looking book on a friend's bookshelf I was pursuing.
— 
Rebecca Meritz

when I realized that with programming you can make something out of nothing.
— 
Remco Veldkamp

in a middle school gifted math program called MEGSSS, circa 1982.
— 
Ria Galanos

because MSX only had a BASIC interpreter when turned on without a cartridge and the only cartridge I had was River Raid.
— 
Ricardo Herrmann

when I was 16 and discovered programming was as expressive as my pencil; I fell in love.
— 
Ricarose Roque

in 1976, at King's College London, using Fortran, on punched cards, waiting a day for the printout — I programmed Conway's 'Life' and wow!
— 
Richard Millwood

because I hate doing something more than once.
— 
Rick Shaub

by reading all the public library books about BASIC during 1986-7, before I had ever seen a real computer.
— 
Ricky Buchanan

making games on a TI-83 in middle school.
— 
Riley Adams

because I ran out of levels to play in a shareware game.
— 
Rob Bell

on a TRS-80 Model III in my dad's office from the book "TRS-80 Programs" by Radio Shack.
— 
Rob Cameron

because a wise Radio Shack employee talked mom into buying me BASIC books instead of a game cartridge for my TRS-80.
— 
Rob Vincent

because I realized that I hated physics and had no idea what else to do.
— 
Robert Diana

by playing with the "Big Trak" toy tank when I was 10 years old.
— 
Robert Juranitch

by taking "Intro to Programming" in college; I had never heard of a computer before that.
— 
Robin Jeffries

when I was bullied at school and the computer became my salvation.
— 
Roja Buck

at the age of 13 because my best friend did and it looked amazing what he could do with it.
— 
Ronny Brendel

because my older brothers couldn't be bothered typing in code listings from a magazine to their ZX81.
— 
Rory Sinclair

because I love making the computer do things, especially when I start out with no idea how.
— 
Ross Smith

when I realized that if I didn't, I'd be illiterate.
— 
Roy Bahat

because of the mystical beauty in the act of teaching sand to think.
— 
Russell Neches

without noticing some time between an introductory Uni course on Algol 60 I couldn't hack and an industrial Cobol course five years later.
— 
Ruth Aylett

because it was an easy and boring way to earn a living, but it lead to a career so fascinating that I'd do it for free.
— 
Ruth Poole

because I wanted to mod my WWIV BBS.
— 
Ry4an Brase

on a TI-99 4/A with a subscription to Byte magazine.
— 
Ryan Bergman

because I wanted to invent something that others would find useful.
— 
Ryan Emerle

when my future brother-in-law couldn't believe I didn't have a website yet and showed me GeoCities.
— 
Ryan Imel

to get infinite lives in ZX81 and VIC20 games.
— 
Sam Overton

using Logo on a Acorn BBC Micro in my dad's shed in our garden at age 5.
— 
Sam de Freyssinet

so I could cheat at the maths program my dad wrote to improve my maths.
— 
Sami Greenbury

as a child because I was in love with transforming code into visuals.
— 
Samuel Clay

when I was 11 so that I could beat my dad at Robot Battle.
— 
Samuel Fout

from a school class in BASIC, but didn't really learn how to write computer programs until I studied LISP almost twenty years later.
— 
Samuel Wan

because it felt like I was playing games instead of doing homework.
— 
Sara "Scout" Sinclair

copying pages of a BYTE magazine and then figuring out where there were typos/bugs to make it actually work.
— 
Sara Chieco

in Java in college because I wanted to start using the other half of my brain.
— 
Sarah Barbour

the summer after 9th grade, when my older brother handed me his intro to programming textbook and told me he thought I'd enjoy it.
— 
Sarah Solter

because it was a prerequisite for the Engineering major in college; I liked the professor and thus liked the course.
— 
Sarita Yardi

because I had a TRS-80 but no storage devices so I had to type in all of my games from scratch.
— 
Sciri

because I knew I could make the computer do what I wanted, if I could figure out how to tell it what I wanted.
— 
Scott Gowell

Lingo and Action Script in college; learning to make interactive experiences was fascinating to me.
— 
Scott Oppenheim

because I was a late bloomer whose only teenage love was the 486.
— 
Sebastian Brannstrom

trying to catch Bigfoot by editing the QBasic code in the back of a 3-2-1 Contact magazine.
— 
Seth Raphael

on my own, because the computer club at my junior high in the late 70s didn't think girls could do it.
— 
Shannon Hale

and it changed my life forever.
— 
Shannon Rush

at an NCR week long training for the NEAT II programming language.
— 
Sharon Eilts

because I found out it was a great way to meet boys, especially boys who thought smart girls were cool.
— 
Sharon Fisher

in my first semester in college, when I took a required programming course in the engineering school.
— 
Sharon Perl

as an administrative assistant, by playing around with my non-profit's database app after hours.
— 
Sharon Stern

making a website for my band that I wanted to be more dynamic.
— 
Shawn Cornally

from my mother, who built computers and write BASIC; and a Commodore 64 she bought for me at the age of 7.
— 
Shelly Cole

because I couldn't get a job as a chemist.
— 
Shelly Heller

by reading programs on my TI calculator and modifying the code to solve homework problems.
— 
Sheng Ho

on an Apple IIe clone so I could "draw" stars, Christmas trees and other shapes.
— 
Sheng-Fen Chien

because I wanted to make video games ever since I got my first Nintendo when I was 5 years old.
— 
Sherol Chen

because I thought it might help with my biology major — now I'm pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science.
— 
Shilpa Nadimpalli

because the VIC-20 did not come with games.
— 
Simen Svale Skogsrud

Christmas morning on an Amiga 500; one batch script later I was hooked.
— 
Simon Johnson

at MIT's Women's Technology Program, after spending most of my adolescence not knowing where to start or who to ask for help.
— 
Simone Wu

because my father gave me his old IBM PC when the other kids my age got a Nintendo console.
— 
Sindri Traustason

because my Dad wouldn't buy me any games.
— 
Sir Dystic

when my Dad gave me an HTML book so I could code little websites alongside him while he was making big, important websites.
— 
Stephanie Gokhman

all in college; the first day I would've said Windows was a programming language.
— 
Stephanie Long

at age 10, writing a batch file menu to help my parents use our new computer.
— 
Steve Bullock

so I could mix colors of light with a microcontroller.
— 
Steve Dickie

in 1973 during a four-day COBOL class for new trainees; the following Monday I was a programmer for the State of Illinois.
— 
Steve Jones

because my uncle showed me Adventure when I was seven. I'm still gaming to this day.
— 
Steve Klabnik

because of bad organization in a dot-com boom company's web team.
— 
Steve Taylor

to build a new simplified language for image processing, called PiXCL.
— 
Stewart Dibbs

using ZX-80 BASIC and the Sinclair 1K ZX-81, quickly moving on to the 16K version; they cramped my programming style but it was fun.
— 
Sue Gee

when I discovered the internet and wanted to make websites.
— 
Sue Yi Chew

because I thought it would look good on my resume; Then I switched my major to Comp Sci.
— 
Sumo Kindersley

because I wanted to solve problems.
— 
Susan Evans

when I was 32 years old, on a Vax VMS, so I could support my children.
— 
Susan R. Dickey

while already hooked on math and solving puzzles, and curious about how one could use computers to solve problems.
— 
Susan Rodger

at the University of Delaware as a freshman with no programming experience; I was so lost!
— 
Suzanne Smith

starting when I was 12 by trial and error because of my passion to create awesome websites.
— 
Syed Balkhi

through the Middle East Education through Technology program.
— 
Tamer Saadeh

because I loved solving puzzles.
— 
Tanya Reilly

because I knew it would improve my future and enable me to be a better person.
— 
Tass Skoudros

on my own in high school, as it was both fascinating and it helped my Dad with his business.
— 
Tess Winlock

as an extra-curricular in high school with the help of a few friends.
— 
Thais Melo

because I felt the need to prove myself as a technologist.
— 
Theresa Summa

because I wanted to know what it was like to create interactive stories like the ones that so engaged me.
— 
Thomas Gideon

after graduating with a Philosophy degree.
— 
Thomas Saunders

because I thought it would be funny to make the Commodore 64s at the Montgomery Ward say my name repeatedly, and then just walk away.
— 
Thomas Winningham

from a one-page HTML primer in a 1999 issue of "Earthlink" magazine, which my parents got with their dial-up subscription.
— 
Tiff Fehr

to make a fansite website for Runescape when I was 12.
— 
Tim Coysh

when I was an art major and a friend dared me to take "Intro to C programming".
— 
Tim Hockin

with an book on introductory programming in QBasic on a DOS machine.
— 
Titus Winters

by entering program listings from COMPUTE! magazine into my Atari 800, and working out what it would do before I typed "RUN".
— 
Todd Radel

on an Atari 400 using BASIC in the early 80's because I wanted to output my own graphics to the TV.
— 
Tom Jenkins

when I was an Explorer Scout 42 years ago by loading Fortran punch cards in an IBM 360/44.
— 
Tom Ransom

at the age of 14, on an old ugly computer in the basement, using one of the "For Dummies" books.
— 
Tom Tasche

because I couldn't figure out how to download games onto my TI-86.
— 
Tom Zajdel

with QBasic writing an Eliza clone, for fun, around 6th or 7th grade.
— 
Tommy

using a BASIC book I got from Radio Shack and translating the TRS-80 commands into the AppleSoft version of BASIC.
— 
Toni Thompson

because I was tired of playing Zork.
— 
Tony Lukasavage

on an Apple IIe writing games and puzzles in Pascal and quickly graduated to Tiny C and 6502 Assembler.
— 
Tony Williams

so I could customize my blog.
— 
Tracy Crawford

by breaking into my high school's menu system; after being scolded, I was tasked with securing all the machines.
— 
Trevor Engstrom

by playing with my TI-83's BASIC instead of listening to lectures in high school.
— 
Trevor Standley

using BASIC on a Windows 3.0, because it was easier to let the program solve my math questions.
— 
Trisha Biswas

so that I could display pretty graphics on my Atari.
— 
Umesh Unnikrishnan

with HTML when I was 9 so I could build a part of the internet; then I found PHP.
— 
Valentín Muro

in college, when I realized I could have a big impact on the world by building software with a focus on humanity.
— 
Vanessa Hurst

because I love to build things from scratch.
— 
Vardhaman Deshpande

by studying my co-workers' code and asking questions if I didn't understand something.
— 
Vera Fleischer

with Flash MX 2004, Friends of Ed books, and night shift as a university hall's RA.
— 
Vicky Teinaki

at age 9 because it was something I could do at the time without receiving judgement from an adult.
— 
Victor Ho

to create software to help people.
— 
Vince Tran

because I wanted to unlock the magic of 1980 Census data on magnetic tape.
— 
Virginia Carlson

when my dad got me a 386SX on my 10th birthday; I mostly just played the games on it until I realized that I could make my own if I learned how to program.
— 
Vivin Paliath

because I was curious about what the little box could actually do.
— 
Vrishali Wagle

when I realized I could write programs to do things I didn't want to do myself.
— 
Will Wallace

making games and apps on my mom's TI-82 in 3rd grade.
— 
Will Wharton

from Google's Python Class online.
— 
William Moten

because those games I want to play won't write themselves.
— 
Wyatt Epp

batch files at 10 to help my mom stop repeatedly typing javac, edit, javac, java, edit, javac.
— 
Xiao Yu

as a youth, for fun; as an adult, to eat; as a yearning master, to create.
— 
Yong Joseph Bakos

accidentally, when fulfilling my "Technology or Applied Science" in college with a class I thought might come in useful as a chemist; then I switched majors.
— 
Yvette Nameth

because I was told that I could not become a wizard, and that computers were the next best thing.
— 
Zachary Spencer

by copying/pasting scripts and hacking them when I was in school; I actually did it because others couldn't and I felt empowered.
— 
Zaid Pirwani

when I was 10, by using BASIC on the TK-85 (Brazilian ZX81 clone) my dad had bought for no apparent reason.
— 
Zeh Fernando

because I wanted to make interactive electronic literature.
— 
Zuzana Husarova

using Lego Logo to make a robot draw a baseball with sunglasses and a mohawk from the "Major League" movie poster.
— 
danah boyd