How I Replaced Gaming with Coding and Became a Web Developer

27 May 2024

Today, I would like to share my personal story. I hope it helps you get to know me better and maybe benefits your own journey.

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A Bit of History

My love for gaming has a long history. I was lucky because my parents could buy a computer when I was very young. It was an IBM 486 🙂 and it belonged to my brother.

IBM 486. Source:

My First Games

The first games I remember playing were Wolf and Doom. Wolf is a first-person shooter action game that still sticks in my memory.

Wolf. Source:

Doom is a similar type of game to Wolf, but it was very scary, so I didn’t play it at night. 🙂 It was such an exciting game that I still remember the cheat codes: IDDQD (God Mode) and IDKFA (full set of weapons).

DOOM. Source:

DOOM. Source:

Then came Duke Nukem, Sin City, Blood, and more.

Actually, Blood was the first PVP game for me. I remember trying to connect through a Dial-Up modem with my uncle. 🙂 It was a terrible experience, but we managed to see each other in the game. However, there was no chance to have real PVP actions.

Blood. Source:

I think some of you don’t know what Dial-Up is. Dial-Up or Usenet was a UNIX-based system that used a dial-up connection to transfer data through telephone modems.

Sounds of Dial-Up

PVP Games

As time went on, more PVP games appeared on the market, and I started playing more seriously, even participating in local competitions in my hometown.

We played:

  • Quake 3
  • Counter Strike
  • StarCraft
  • Etc.

PVP games took a lot of my time. I loved playing and could play for many hours. Sometimes, after school, my friends and I would go to a computer club and spend 6 or more hours there. In the computer club, I saw Ultima Online for the first time.

First Learning

I believe that games helped me learn various things about computers. At that time, I felt like I knew almost everything about computers, both software and hardware.

I started with DOS, then Norton Commander, then Windows 3.1, and so on. I could replace certain parts of the computer, like HDDs and RAM, and connect multiple computers together, etc. Many of my friends called me to fix their devices or reinstall Windows. I felt that I had some skills that others didn’t.

Norton Commander

This probably influenced my direction. After school, I joined Mathematics College and started my software engineering journey. My major was “Organization and Technology of Information Security.” We learned many things, some of which I liked and some I didn’t, but I never had a problem spending time in front of a computer. 🙂 In college, I first learned HTML.

I liked studying, but I loved playing games even more.

Ultima Online

Ultima Online is a fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game released on September 24, 1997, by Origin Systems. Set in the Ultima universe, it is known for its extensive player-versus-player (PVP) combat system.

To this day, I think it is the best game ever. 🙂 You played with real people like yourself. In this game, you had to develop not only your character’s skills (which could take more than a year) but also personal skills like trading, negotiation, business, saving, and more.

You had to spend many days, and sometimes months, to grow your character’s skill from 0 to grandmaster level. You had to travel around the universe to find different things for crafting, hunting, and so on. The most exciting part was when you left the guarded zone. This was when you could lose everything if someone killed you. That’s why you had to think carefully about where you went and what you took with you. 🙂 It was a really good game, and I still have good memories of it.

I played pretty well and often stayed on the ranking tables for PVP battles.

Ultima Online. Source:

Time to Change

Since I spent so much time playing this game, I sometimes felt like I was wasting my time. However, I didn’t want to stop. 🙂

One day, during a very important PVP battle, I lost. I was so sad that I decided to stop playing. I’m not sure why, but that loss helped me change my habits. I don’t think it was easy, but I don’t remember suffering during that time, so maybe it wasn’t that bad :).

Even though I still spent a lot of time on the computer, I tried to find new ways to fill that time. Since I was very young and still studying, I didn’t think about getting a job. But one day, I heard about freelancing and online work. It was interesting because I saw the opportunity to earn money.

First Freelance Job

I don’t remember if was the first website I registered on, but I think it was where I found my first web task. 🙂; My profile

That was more than 18 years ago! 🙂 Wow! The task was to convert a .psd file into an HTML page.

I had never done such a job before, but I wasn’t afraid to try (haha, I think I was very afraid). I wasn’t very skilled with Photoshop, so I cut some parts of the layout using MS Paint (I took screenshots and then pasted them into MS Paint). It was the first time I found out that the .bmp format is not suitable for the web. It was too heavy, and the page loaded very slowly. 🙂

After many hours of work, I finished my HTML code and sent it to my customer. He was happy with the result and transferred my first payment. I was so happy! An extra level of happiness came when I learned that he wanted to work with me on another project because the speed of my page and the quality of my work were good.

Making money was an enjoyable process, just like playing a game, so I started to spend more time learning HTML coding and doing different freelance work.

After about 3–6 months, I found a job that allowed me to study and work at the same time. My first position was as a webmaster. 🙂

From that time until today, I have almost never given up on computers and web development. I’ve learned a lot of different things over these 18 years and continue my journey to this day. 🙂

From time to time, I go back to playing games, but it’s not the same anymore. 🙂