Tomorrow I start at Microsoft. Somewhere around 23 years ago I was first introduced to them with one of their first operating systems, Windows 3.11. I was first introduced to programming when my dad bought me a C++ book when I was 10, back in 2004. I downloaded Dev-C++ and attempted learn how to make programs. I made incredibly simple things but I never really picked up C++. In 2007, when I was 12, an article came up in Boys' Life about XNA Game Studio. Below is the actual article from the magazine. And here's a link as well.
The first game I made was Pong, it's a really simple game, involves really simple math, a perfect first game. From there I made other small games, Present Collect, a game where you try to collect presents that randomly pop up on your screen with the least amount of clicks/taps. I actually released this on the Windows Phone 7 store. My archives say I originally made this in 2009 and released this for phone in 2010 once Windows Phone was actually out.
During the summer of 2011 I applied for and was one of four people to receive the Class of '48 award from my high school. The award grants you $1,000 to do something during the summer. I went to an iD Tech Camp hosted at Harvard and made It Came From Back Pond, a simple top down zombie shooter running on the Xbox 360. All of these games were made in XNA and C#, both Microsoft products. Looking back it's weird I made this considering my high school was a Quaker school and believed in non-violence.
The tech camp was in Boston and I ended up liking the city so much that I wanted to go to college in Boston. Northeastern University was offering Computer Science and Game Design majors so I applied, got in, and started learning how to program in a more formal setting. I also started making things that weren't games, like Twixel, an app to watch Twitch.tv streams natively on Windows 8. I started working on it in 2014 and released it to the Windows 8 store the same year. Someone apparently wrote a small article about it. This was written in C# and XAML, both Microsoft technologies. I took classes in Racket and Java but C# always was my favorite language, most of my personal projects were written in it.
At least once someone has told me that I would work at Microsoft one day, and it makes sense, I liked their products and their tech. I used a Windows Phone up until a year ago. I've had a Hotmail email address probably since 2005, I still use the same account to this day. When I was getting ready to graduate college I did apply to Microsoft, I didn't hear back but Amazon did. When I was a kid I used Microsoft products all the time but I probably didn't realize that I could work there one day. When I entered college I thought I was going to make games for a career but along the way I learned that the industry isn't all that great. I learned a lot while at Amazon, working on things I hadn't imagined I'd be doing all those years ago but deep down I still wanted to work at Microsoft.
I got promoted at Amazon earlier this year and I decided it was time to make the move, 6 months of interviewing later I got an offer from not one but two teams. It's been a long journey leading up to tomorrow, a lot of pieces fell into place to make it happen, so many people helped me along the path, and I'm glad I'm here. I wouldn't say working at Microsoft was my childhood dream, like becoming an astronaut or a rock star, but it's pretty damn close. So I'm glad to say, tomorrow I start at Microsoft.