I discovered web development in my junior year of high school in a class that taught HTML, Photoshop, FileMaker and a few other areas I don't remember. I took what I learned and applied it by making several sites at geocites.com (remember them?!) that I worked on a regular basis. I fell in love with how easy it was to make a website. I had no interest in pursuing anything else.
The end of 2003 didn't fare well for me. That Fall semester I had a rough time and a class or two I did poorly in. At the time I was working at Gamestop as Assistant Manager. It was difficult attending school and working retail both full time and as much as I loved each I had to focus on school so I quit my job the first week of January. My father was really upset and rightfully so since I was supporting my mother and sister. My parents are divorced. It was a rough moment but I knew it had to be done.
I had scheduled a required class called CA278 Web Database Applications for the Spring 2004 semester (I still remember the class code after all these years). I didn't know what I was getting into or what was coming. That class taught me a language called ColdFusion. I took to it instantly. Finally, an easy to understand programming language for someone starting off since it was tag based. You couldn't stop me. I loved it.
Best part is within 4 months (read that again, 4 months people!) of taking the course I was hired as an intern at the World Resources Institute in April 2004. This was a breakthrough for me. With that job I was making more money an hour than I was in retail. My father was very proud. I was more relieved than anything. I had to pay the bills. The decision to focus on school and have that free time to learn the language really paid off.
From there ColdFusion took me to a few different jobs. In 2007 I moved to New York City to find better work. Since then I've left ColdFusion sadly but I continue to work with it on my spare time to see what's new. Its a great language with a great community behind it that I'm very proud to be a part of. I can't wait for its 10th release!
This post was inspired by Steve Bryant's suggestion to make August 1, 2011 the "How I Got Started In ColdFusion," day.