When I was younger, I wanted to be a "robot scientist". I found them fascinating and wanted to learn about how they work and how to build them, but I lived in the middle of nowhere, in a time when the web was still finding it's feet, which meant that the resources weren't really there for me and eventually I realised that it wasn't really a viable option.
In my early teens, I found web development and I've been hooked ever since. Open source was, and still is, massively helpful for me to learn from. Whether that's taking apart open source projects to learn how they work, or contributing to them.
Recently, I found out that these two worlds collided.
I left school in 2008, right into the Great Recession. I wanted to get into web development as a career, but with no industry experience and no qualifications, it was difficult. After being unemployed for 9 months, I got a job as an IT Administrator. Attempt 0 at making web development a career was unsuccessful.
After a couple of years working as an IT Administrator and learning more about web development in my own time, I decided it was time to make another attempt at making a career as a web developer. I interviewed at a few companies and got 2 job offers, I accepted a junior developer role at a design agency and started my career as a web developer. Unfortunately I didn't really get any support, was given clients to handle on my own and ultimately was let go after 15 months due to not meeting their (unrealistic) expectations. Career attempt 1 was unsuccessful.
Among other things, I spent some time learning and writing some open source projects. After about 7 months, I started another development job and that was the start of career attempt 2. It was a much more supportive enviornment. I learned about community groups such as LeedsJS, I started writing and maintaining more open source projects, and started building things in public. That was back in 2013, and I'm still going.
In the years since, I've been building things and releasing them as open source projects, whether that's for people to use themselves, or for them to learn from, like I did. I've also contributed back to projects that I've used and found helpful.
And recently, one of those projects was used as part of a major scientific mission: The Mars 2020 Helicopter, Ingenuity.
Bootstrap 4 was used, and 5 lines of code that I contributed were part of that. It's only a small contribution, but it shows how wide reaching open source code can be. My code is on Mars!
This post is titled "Per aspera ad astra", a phrase which is part of one of my tattoos. It translates from latin as "through adversity to the stars", and it's pretty cool that this can now relate to my web development career. I had the adversity of getting into development as a career and the rocky start of getting fired from my first development job, and now my code is part of a mission to another planet.
It's mind blowing 🤯