My name is Rafa Rafael from the Philippines. This blog is all about my experience as a Programmer and I.T Technician. I hope it will help you.
I started my journey as an I.T Technician in 2006 and 2012 in Programming. I developed my skills from watching tutorials and reading electronic books. I consider myself as a lifelong learner and keeping up to improve more on the fields that I have considered as my passion. Right now I am a freelance web developer and started developing sites and web application, although I am still active as a technician.
I started as a freelance computer technician. At the time my country still stuck on the era of 56kbps modem bandwidth and it was a very expensive niche so I don't have an internet connection. So I buy magazines to update my knowledge and books to gain proper understanding on troubleshooting, specially the hardware components. Then I meet my limitation when the iCafe's became a trend, because I need to setup a network for it. I lose a handful of opportunities because I don't have the knowledge in networking as I can't do an actual study on the setup as I only have 1 PC. So I decided to take a 2 year vocational course in Computer Hardware Servicing. From there I developed and understand the networking world, although it just basics it helps me a lot and able to cater customers not just the iCafe owners as well as the small offices that needs a network installation, maintenance and troubleshooting weather wired or wireless. Through my experience and continuing my study, I was able to improve my knowledge and skills, especially now we already have a fair bandwidth to study online. Even though I became a Programmer, I am still active as a technician. I cannot leave this field as it is my first love. =)
SOLUTION FORGE WITH PASSION
NEVER STOP LEARNING, NEVER STOP IMPROVING, AND NEVER STOP MASTERY
Never in my life I imagine to be in love with this field, I hated it at first. And thought this was for the geniuses only. It started when my Technician job income is not sustainable anymore so I need to add another job. I worked as a Real Estate Data Analyst, it was a boring job for me because I had to work on a repetitive tasks. It came to a point that I need to choose, to resign and look for another job or challenge myself to solve it. So to make the story short, I tried to solve it by creating a small program that would help me to automate those repetitive tasks and studied VB.NET by watching video tutorials and because of it I was promoted and became a Programmer. But another problem arise, they are using C# and I know basic VB.NET, bang! What I did? Oh well, I burn my eyebrows and study C#, it was very frustrating, specially they have different syntax, I felt my brain pumping in my head and I almost give up at that time but because of the support of the people around me and my wife I was able to overcome those dark days and push through it. I downloaded a lot of e-books and watched hundreds of hours of video tutorials. To make the story short I was able to develop a website scraper that scrapes ads in craiglist, jobs in linkedin, and users in facebook and tweets in twitter and export the results to CSV and/or Excel file. I can still feel the happiness I felt when I finish it, it was like I had a newborn child. But unfortunately because of constant changes on features that overwhelms me and a lot of misunderstandings and management problem, it didn't ship on the market. It was also my first heartache that almost made me cry. But I need to move on, so I continued to enhance my skills. I pick up the pieces that I did right and shift my focus on learning more on writing a maintainable and readable code. I also start studying concepts like OOP and dig deeper on C#. After a month, I was given another project, a PDF parser and website scraper that gets property data in Zillow.com using PHP. Yes I write it right, PHP! Another Bang! I need to study again and to test the result, I need to know basic HTML and because I get excited I included CSS on the list. So I read and watch video tutorials again for a week to familiarize PHP and some basic understanding in HTML and CSS. To make the story short again, I resigned my work and tried to teach programming but I realize I was not yet ready, I need to be on what I want first before I could start sharing my knowledge, so now I am improving my knowledge and skills by creating small side projects and accepting web development job as a freelancer. And of course continually improving on writing a readable and maintainable codes. I learned also to not be afraid on letting people know my mistakes because it is part of my learning process and hopefully they can learn from it as well.
Why I study?
To give you my perspective on why I study, it's because I want to learn. I want to learn because I don't have a degree, I don't have a high IQ, I am not gifted, I failed Math, sometimes my logic is inconsistent and of course I am a human being like you that is always prone to forget things and made mistakes. So for me if I stop learning, I am nothing. To become something, I need to have something and that is Knowledge.
My recent jobs and side projects. It helps me to learn more and enhance my skills. I call them puppies.
Some of the application I created are web site scraper in C# and PHP, importing and exporting CSV and Excel records to a data grid in C#, a pdf parser in C# and PHP and contact & registration forms with validaton in Bootstrap, jQuery and PHP. But unfortunately because of this 3 letters, N D A, I am not allowed to post it on any way.