Me

How to pick a personal website platform? That's a good question. One that has had this developer on a journey for quite some time. You might say the journey began well before I knew anything about coding or servers. I've told my story to those who have asked but now it's time to take my words and put them onto paper(digitally).

My journey into computers and technology started when my family got our second home computer. What happened to the first computer? It mostly got used for ICQ, emails, typing up documents for printing and playing some pre-loaded kids games. Our second computer was hooked up to dial-up internet and could play games with high-quality graphics and sound. This is pre-2000's, so gaming at the time was still mostly 2D and not necessarily widely available. Arcades were still going strong in certain parts of the world and mobile gaming was limited to Sega Game Gear or Nintendo Game Boy.

Around this time, a friend of mine introduces me to a game called Warcraft. A Real-Time Strategy(RTS) game where the player had to multitask collecting resources, building up communities, training soldiers, and conquering your enemies(as well as defending your empire). For me, the game was extremely difficult. Especially given the player could only select 1 unit at a time. Trying to organize armies to attack or defend against programmed units in the game was extremely challenging. I did not end up finishing the game.

Shortly afterwards, the same friend introduces me to Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness. Significantly improved graphics, better sound, additional units, and the ability to select up to 9 units at once. The next birthday or Christmas I knew I had to have this game. Once that holiday passed I had the Warcraft 2 Battle Chest in my possession and I played the original game and its expansion to completion multiple times. This was the first time I had ever finished a game from start to finish without cheat codes. It's something I will never forget and anytime I get a chance to talk to another gamer it's one of the first questions I end up asking. What was the first game you ever beat?

Fast forward many years, many computers, many game consoles, and many games completed. I've started a bachelor's degree program in Mathematics and Statistics at McMaster University. Unfortunately for me, as well as many others, Calculus is extremely difficult. I decided to work part-time while taking post-secondary courses. Mostly to pay for my transportation to and from McMaster but also to continue to pay for tuition, books or any other costs of going to school. This balance of work and school did not work well for me. Over time, I have come to understand that I am not the greatest student. Studying is not something that is first nature and I also have found that I do not test well. The stress and anxiety of the testing environment usually leave me with a passing grade, but not by much. For those who have taken Calculus, I'm sure they will tell you that it requires practice and a solid understanding of the core concepts and their applications. During my time at McMaster, I was able to understand the core concepts but I did not practice enough to be ready for the final exams. I passed the exam but did not achieve the 60% average requirement between the midterm exam and final exam to pass the course. Since Calculus is a pre-requisite for Calculus 2, as well as other courses in my next semester, I was unable to continue.

Fast forward again a few more years. I've now withdrawn from McMaster and begun a career in Retail Management at the local Walmart. Over time this became quite taxing, as customer service issues became more and more tiring. The same grind over and over again left me getting up, at 6:30 am daily, not wanting to go to work. The hours were long and as a salaried staff member, I was no longer eligible for overtime pay. So now the extra time and effort that was being put into my work wasn't necessarily being directly reflected in my earnings.

My girlfriend, at the time, asked me, "If you could do something as a career for the rest of your life. What would it be?" I will never forget that conversation because it was a turning point in my life. As a young man with disposable income in his early 20's, I had purchased multiple computers, laptops, and installed Windows 7/8 more times than I could count. I had also bought all of the components for a high-end gaming PC and assembled it myself with little to no instruction. I told my girlfriend that I could see myself working with computers and be happy.

I quit my job and applied to Sheridan College for their Computer Engineering program. A year and a half later I switched programs to Computer Software Development and Network Engineering. 2 reasons for the switch: First is that electrical for computer boards are super tricky and the second was that I enjoyed writing code a heck of a lot more than sifting through resistors trying to find the brown one instead of the red one. I swear they are the same colour.

Upon graduation, I was fortunate enough to get a job working as a web developer for Webility Solutions. During my time there I had the opportunity to build and maintain production websites for some pretty large clients and some of the largest applications I've ever seen(s0 far). My skills in C#, .NET, JavaScript, MySQL, MS SQL Server, PHP, Angular, Web APIs, RETS feeds, Cloud Computing, IoT and more all got plenty of growth over the 3 years. On top of this, we worked with a sister company that focused heavily on Search Engine Optimization(SEO) and Analytics. Every website we built was optimized for search on the web, from the ground up.

It was at this time that I bought my first domain, Konken.ca, and a Cloud Server with the hopes of making my website. The server ended up being a "too good to be true" scenario and resulted in a waste of money. The result was a domain with nowhere to host the website.

Andrew Konken