How I started programming

6 Mar, 2020

As a kid I had one big passion: playing games. I had no computer at home back then, so I often had to rent a SEGA console for a couple of days to get my fix. Coming home with a console and a couple games was probably the best feeling I had growing up. I remember I was allowed only 2 games, plus the default one that always comes within SEGA: Alex Kidd. Those were days :)

At about the same time, in late '80s, my cousin bought a computer, a Commodore64. You’re probably thinking that all I wanted was to go there as often as possible to play games. Well it’s true! It went on like that for a couple of years until he went to University and gave his computer to me. It was around 1993/1994 and I was 10-years-old. Since I was playing it very often, I got the idea to build my own games shortly thereafter. Commodore64 had the programming language BASIC in it, so it was the only option for me to start programming. He gave me a book as well, but it was completely written in English, which was not very helpful for me since I couldn't speak English back then. However, I was so excited to learn how to build games that my lack of English was but a small bump in the road to accomplishing my goal. I started copying and pasting examples from the book into the computer, executing the code and monitoring what happened. Then I'd change something in the code, execute and monitor it again. I was repeating these steps over and over, over and over. There was nobody to show me anything about programming, I had to do it all on my own. Ah yes, that was very very slow process of learning and figuring out how programming works, but my wish to build games was the motivation I needed to push forward. All the free time I had I spent on learning how to programm. By doing it day by day, writing small algorithms, trying to build something meaningful, I fell in love with programming. It became my passion much faster then I realized it.

And finally my first full-feature game built in BASIC was there. It was a football (soccer) manager game It took me couple of years to be able to build something like that, but it was quite complex. I built an Italian Serie A with 16 or 18 teams (I don't remember anymore); you could take one team (it was only possible to take FC Perugia, don't ask me why) and manage it. It was set in an Italian national championship, widely known as a Calcio, and you had an option to manage a team and play games against other teams in the league. As a football team manager you could pick different tactics (4-4-2, 3-5-2, 4-5-1 etc.), set players at different positions, make substitutions, put players on a transfer list, buy and sell players and many other options. For me it was a hugely rewarding to finally finish all my hard work, and I was super happy I made it. I was so excited about it, that I planned to extend my game to include Serie B, play-offs and play-outs, Champions league and UEFA Cup. I never got there though, because shortly after I got a PC and left my Commodore64 in the past. Once I bought a Pentium, I was ready to take my programming skills to the next level. I became even more excited about programming since I could explore many more things with a better machine.

These were the first steps I made to get into the programming world. It was not easy, but a deep passion helped me to get there. If you like something, if you believe in something and are super passionate about it, just keep doing it and never give up. There will probably be many days you wish to stop, to give up, but don't! Sooner or later you will get there. All you need is a patience and persistence; nothing is truly impossible.

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Marko Krstic | Senior Software Engineer
About the author

My name is Marko Krstic. I am a software engineer and support companies by automating their processes and creating online platforms from which they can reach a wider customer base.