Thank you, code mentors

A retrospective of all the help I got becoming a data scientist


Jared Lukes

12/9/20235 min read

I started coding again, just some side projects for fun like a Flutter app and a game in Unity. It has me all nostalgic about my journey through computer science. Unconventional path, no formal school just lots of help from my friends. Oh, and about $1,800 worth of Oreilly's & Freinds of Ed books from Barns.

Not many people will stop to help you along the way. And although with CS it’s mostly on you, to stay the course, try and fail until you are blue, or succeed. There are a few special mentors I met in my life of coding I want to say thanks to, and specifically for what stuck, and stayed with me.

In reverse order…

Kjrsten Holt

You were right, it was overbuilt. I'm sorry.

Carlos Ulloa

Without you on Gchat that one summer, I would have been so f*cked. Also, papervision3d was SO sexy. IMHO.

Justin Petersen

When I met you I felt like I had only dabbled in OOP, especially inheritance and event handling.. You not only helped me dig my ass out of the weeds on that one [pretentious SUV brand], but took the time to show me a better build and explain it to me mid-project. You met me on my last stop as a professional developer, I left that role to start a new digital offering at Catalyst.

Mike Muggli

Thank you for reminding me that an 'image map' is a perfectly valid solution.

Adam Smith

Thank you for asking me that one very odd question.

Rick Graner

My happy friend. You would sit and buy URL’s like it was the stock market, all day at work. One time I asked you how you were pulling that off (as I was always behind schedule coding next door) You showed me this tool that was coding all your CRUD forms and managing your database changes for you. I can’t recall the flavor of the tool or even the language, but I’ll never forget the lesson in working smarter, not harder. Yeah buddy :)

Capt’n Jester

I can’t use your real name here, but I credit you with my first introductions to “other internets” as well as concepts like flat-file as a database for security reasons. The purity of your work and commitment to code security through closed, handwritten systems was truly an inspiration and an education.

Dan Wade

You were the first person willing (or able) to explain how hashing and ciphers work, I believe you included salt, pepper, and eggs. Brunch is now my favorite. I ended up going all the way back to caesar-wheel to fuel my passion for cipher, but you had sparked it. You knocked me down a peg for scoffing at Delphi, and I always appreciated that. Thanks, brother.

Jim Park

You sir, really inspired me. My first taste of interacting with the real world from a browser. Your application of tweening just “anything” changed everything for me. (now I realize I just hadn't learned calculus yet ;) Your love of open source took me down the rabbit hole, and eventually, I developed a philosophical level of appreciation for the human imperative of open source thanks to you. Both of us, constantly working for the man, with a bigger world in our heads, thank you for the time, the code review, the encouragement, and the new tools.

Quasimondo (Mario)

You were a god to us mere morals. I straight-up hacked your candle flame for something I built for Prince and the new power generation. Flaming swords held by female tiger women. Oh, I think I used your particle smoke, also. I later got to see you speak at a local conference an old friend used to put on called Eyeo.

Nate Chrysler

You bailed my ass out on that video game project. I was SO lost in scope. Just as I was transposing the A* algorithm to actionscript, you swooped in and took a huge task off my plate by rendering the scene efficiently. I recall your solution was a bit beyond me, but worked as well or better than any object state garbage collector I have seen since. I recall once the pathfinding and scene were complete we tackled the AI of the enemy together. I don’t know about you, but that broke my brain, turning the concept of survival into logical steps (that I don’t always follow for myself) became a philosophical quandary for years after.

Robert Penner

Thanks to you, I can SEE my code. Your drawing API teaching was amazing. Easing… your contribution with that lib into actionscript in the early days was HUGE. Everyone used yours. And your book lost me around…. 3D vectors. :)

Andrew Norell

I know the setup is that I was mentoring you, but as things go it's always a 2 way street. Your comradery during the mortgage project was so valuable to me. Later, your ability to create things never done before, for Catalyst was impressive to watch, people like you make being in tech fun man.

Colin Moock

Your writing just really connected with me. Your metaphors were like fresh air. I credit you with learning quite a lot of OOP in general, even though the book was really just supposed to teach me actionscript. From your work, I developed a golden rule I would pass on to fellow actionscriptors “what is it, I am trying to talk to right now that does not exist.” Obviously referencing something that's not instantiated was more of a problem in this particular language.

Keith Peters (bit 101)

I don't even know how I stumbled on your site man, but I know it was your VERY beginnings. Just a small grid of experiments that grew. I was there through so many iterations of the site, forums, all of it. Your work inspired me more than almost any. Your audacity to write tinyAi, and your prevalent use of Mandelbrot's work. Holy hell, I think you started my love of his work, which is now such a staple in my thinking.

Jesse Gavin

What can I say, this one is paramount. You and I played hooky together, admit it. You found code mid graphic-design degree in college and I found it (through you) mid tile-setting career. Either way, neither of us was doing what we primarily should have. Having learned from and taught many, I can see the genius in our setup, you would learn something, turn right around, and teach me. Further solidifying it in your mind. If you can teach it, you get it, (mostly).

The list is as long as the rest of them combined. You taught me WYSIWYG, you showed me databases and tables. You showed me VB Script and HTML. You taught me SQL and 2-dimensional then 3D arrays. You taught me data types, you taught me functions. You taught me error handling, form validation, and payment processing. You taught me Javascript, CSS, C#, RegEx, SQL Server, Recursion and so much more. You showed me where to find answers, like a list apart (then StackOverflow) , dogpile (then google). You knew to go with jQuery not Scriptaculous. You may have even shown me firsthand how to do SQL injection. And boy was that a lot of fun after learning port scanning :)

You changed my life. Not because you are the best or the smartest programmer out there, but because you’re the greatest. The teaching kind. You’re the future.

Nicole Delfino Jansen

You taught me Access database tables, views, forms, and some macros. I was trying to build a sales system for a roofing company. I had ZERO exposure to the creation side of technology. You sparked in me what would take over my career for over a decade after. Thank you for the time you put into teaching me what you knew and introducing me to technology through purpose. I would find it sad that I would run into so few other women in my tech career along the way, and always used your memory as inspiration and fuel to volunteer in teaching young women creative technology.