Technologies

My History with Programming

Programming started early

My first computer was a Commodore 64. I probably wrote my first program in BASIC when I was about six. (I think I made an ASCII rocket launch). My mother taught computer literacy and programming to high schoolers, and she had me go through the same curriculum. I learned the basics of logic, algorithms, and computing.

My first useful program I wrote on my T-83 calculator in high school. I'd enrolled in Physics, but I only had two years of math (Algebra and Geometry). I didn't know how to do any of the formulas we needed for the physics class. So I had someone break down how to solve for the different variables in the equations, and I wrote a program that would solve all of the formulas for any of the given variables.

I didn't plan on being a developer

I went to college and graduated with the hopes of becoming a translator. I liked learning languages (and I still do). My first real job after college was taking French and Spanish calls in a call center. I was hoping to get transferred into the international relations department.

Web Development started as a solution to a problem

I was promoted a few times and ended up being a Product Inquiries Coordinator. This was a job where I had to answer highly detailed product questions. My training for this went like this:

Here's an email file with about 10,000 emails. When you get a question, search through those files. If you don't find an answer, ask R&D.

That lasted for about 30 minutes.

I ran some analytics on the most frequent kinds of questions. I put together the most common answers in a Word document. And I copied and pasted into emails.

That lasted for about a day

I quickly discovered that if you copy and paste from Word into a rich text email application, you get some really ugly formatting. A quick Google search revealed that I should copy from an HTML document, not a Word document. So I saved that Word document as an HTML, and my first "site", was built.

I learned that Word, even if you save as an HTML file, still leaves extraneous markup. So I learned to create and edit files using just Notepad. I also learned how to make icons — complete with shadows, rounded corners, and gradients — entirely in MSPaint.

So the problem of not having a knowledge base of our products was solved with a robust internal website

And this evolved into a (web) career

For a brief time at Mannatech, I was the call center trainer. I learned to turn Visio documents into interactive training materials. Between the internal knowledge-base and the training tools, that got the attention of the web department, where I moved there as a content producer

And then I fell in love with the browser

I learned about requirements gathering while I was a content producer, which lead to me to do double-duty as a BA and content producer.

In the mean time, I'd started learning about HTML5 and CSS3. I started playing with CSS3 on a daily basis, learning all the cool things I could do with it. With that, I decided to get a website (frankmtaylor.com), and build a resume. A few jobs later, I find myself playing with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript every day. It's kinda fun.