DANIEL LOCKYER

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How I Started Programming

2018/03/14

I learned to program in June 2011, at the age of 15, during my summer holidays. I had just finished my penultimate year of high school and wanted to learn something to do with my interest of computers. I think that was also when I decided I wanted to study Computer Science at university. I played Minecraft a lot, and ran a small server with a couple of friends. Somehow I discovered Bukkit and all the plugins it supported which could customise the gameplay. I saw these incredibly complex tools that people were creating and wanted to make my own.

I signed up to the Bukkit forums on July 8th 2011. I posted often, and asked for help with issues I was facing. I had no knowledge of Java and found online tutorials hard to follow, so my method was simply trial-and-error. I used the Eclipse IDE because I saw a plugin tutorial on YouTube where someone was using it. I would find example code, modify it, attempt to execute it and see what errors I encountered. I remember entire nights spent debugging trivial issues. I remember adding numerous console prints and stepping through programs to find why I was encountering a NullPointerException. It probably wasn’t the most efficient way of learning but I’m proud that I picked it up on my own and I think it helped develop a deep understanding and love of program design.

This all seems such a long time so I searched back on some of my history. I made a few plugins:

I also made a couple of YouTube videos, demonstrating my plugins.

As I got a little more experienced, people would post on the forums asking for a plugin to be created for money. I managed to get a few of these jobs. My first plugin netted me $20. I think the most I ever earned was $50. This was big money back then.