Steve Bryant had the great idea of making August 1st "How I Got Started In ColdFusion" Day. He proposed that every blogger write a post about their beginnings in ColdFusion. This is my story.
Back in 2007 (yes, I'm actually quite a noob. Kind of speaks to how easy ColdFusion is to learn) I was holding down a job cutting glass in a restort beach area in Ocean City, MD. I had a strong background with computers, networking and programming in several languages, but since I didn't have a degree in this field, getting a job was a bit difficult. I wasn't really making enough money to support my family. I was driving 90 miles a day to work and back, the price of gas was killing me, my home was in forclosure, my car was days away from getting reposessed and I just generally wanted to go play in traffic. I was having a conversation with my good friend, and now co-worker, Yancy Wharton about the state of my affairs. I was miserable in my current job and my home life certainly wasn't a ray of sunshine. He queried "Do you think you could learn ColdFusion?". I thought about it for a few seconds. Before I could get a word out, Yancy was explaining what ColdFusion was, the benefits of learning the language and that my background in other languages should make it very easy for me to pick up. I agreed to give it a shot, and Yancy went to talk to his employer about picking me up part time.
A few weeks later, I found myself sitting in front of a laptop setting up a work environment. I was still working my full time days at the glass company, but was working another four hours in the evening as a programmer. Initially, I was hired to write a prototype for an offline/online version of the company's application. Thus I began my journey with Apollo, which most of you know now as Adobe AIR. This was my first experience with MXML and Actionscript. I ended up with an application that did what needed to be done, but my lack of programming experience with the language made for some very hard to read code and lengthy files. The application was later rewritten by some other members of our company, who made it into a very impressive product. My first ColdFusion was writing the components to handle the back end of the AIR application.
Four months later, I was hired full time and moved to strictly ColdFusion code. I was amazed at how simple it was to work in CFML. I spent a lot of the time away from work browsiing through tutorials and training videos, but the real CF addiction started when I attended my first CFUnited. When I got to see the industry professionals creating wonderful things and doing these presentations showing how easily they can be done, I was hooked. I became bound and determined that I was going to immerse myself in this and become the best I could be at it.
So, in a sense, ColdFusion saved me. I very quickly got a job making enough money to save my house, catch up on my car payments and start dragging myself out of debt. My mood improved greatly. I was doing something I truly enjoyed and felt secure in my position. I was watching my creations come to life on the screen.
Today, I'm still happily plugging away at ColdFusion. I'm working full time for a government contractor and I have my own small development and consulting company at home. I still play around with the occasional AIR app, but for the most part, ColdFusion is my language of choice. It has brought me into new technologies like JQuery (which I know works with several languages, but it works DAMN well with CFML), which I'm truly enjoying as well. I'm also the Co-Manager for the Eastern Shore of Maryland User Group.
So I'd like to thank everyone who has helped to mold me into the CFDude I am today. Thank you Ray Camden, Ben Nadel, Simon Free, Yancy Wharton, Sean Corfield, Dan Wilson, Mark Drew, Aaron West, Jason Dean, Dee Sadler, Adam Lehman.....the list goes on and on. Sorry if I forgot anyone, the post was going to become an endless list of names eventually. Thank you to all, and thank you ColdFusion.