In 2007, I was in the journalism program at the University of North Texas, and I started exploring Python and the Django project, a web framework developed at a newspaper. I found data-driven journalism to be an exciting intersection of computer science and traditional journalism, and I used Python to process data for articles I was tasked with writing and Django to present the data.
In August of that year, I got my first paid gig for web development. A local business needed a way to process a spreadsheet of inventory into individual pages so people could browse what equipment they had for sale.
The software development aspects of data-driven journalism ended up being more engaging to me than the journalism aspects. I considered switching my major to computer science, but I stuck with it and graduated with a degree in journalism. However, I ultimately ended up with a career in software development.
I was proud of the website and listed it on djangosites.com. The entry is still listed there even though the original website has since been replaced with a GoDaddy template website.
When I was originally building and deploying the website, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I guess my secret is that 15 years later, I still kind of don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m having fun and always learning something new.