Crypterium

@crypterium

How I learned 15 programming languages, and why your kids will too

Crypterium presents you with a life story of our CTO #TechMind. A simple tale of a programmer yet a good intro read to the world of tech for regular readers. The story shows the importance of believing in your dreams and significance of strong family relations. Let’s go!

When I was 12 years old, I got sick and had to go to the hospital for a check-up. No need to worry, turned out I only had angina. But a couple of hours I spent in the hospital back then did, in some way, predetermine my whole life.

While I was waiting for the examination, someone gave me a book — just to cheer me up. It turned out to be about BASIC, an early programming language that was and still is among the simplest and most popular programming languages. I loved the whole idea of creating new things from scratch so badly that I picked my life journey after reading that book.

I started with writing code on pieces of paper, and over time, learned another 14 programming languages to truly understand how the world around us work. It might seem unrealistic, but your kids might follow my lead.

Anticipating Mortal Kombat

The tale takes place in Moscow at the beginning of the 90s. There were not too many people interested in IT and programming back then. More so, there were not many people who had personal computers. When I first read the book, I didn’t have a computer, so I tried to write codes on pieces of paper.

Soon enough my father — a professor in a military academy — managed to get me one of those amazing devices, and I started using my newfound skills of BASIC programming to create simple apps, like calendars, planners, and even music apps. Well, apps that made sounds when I would command them so.

However, my biggest pride was in the first game I’ve created. It resembled the oldest versions of Mortal Kombat. I managed to come up with brand new script language that would help me to code how characters would fight, fall down, stand up and win. I did all that when I was 13 years old, by the way.

My first consulting jobs

Apparently, not everyone could do what I could with PCs. When I learned how to code in PASCAL, a more efficient language that encouraged using structured programming, my father brought me to his office in the academy where I showed his colleagues my skills. The academics were shocked by what a teenager with a computer could do and even asked me to help them out, so I began consulting them on programming.

Want to know how I learned PASCAL? Dad once told me that at his work people are already using it, and I’m very old-fashioned with my skills in BASIC. His words triggered me to go and learn how to code and become a multilingual programmer. Dad also was the reason why I learned C and C++. He used these techniques to persuade me to develop myself further quite a lot.

Soon after, my mom thought that she could find a use case for my skills as well. She worked for an insurance company and asked me to write a program that helped to optimize their work. The program basically generated automated documents and emails — before that, the company did everything manually. I created a pattern language for optimizing parameters. And whoa — I earned my first 50 bucks! Not bad for a 15 years old, right?

Java Changed it all

End of the 90s was marked, and I’m not afraid of this word, with a revolution in the IT and programming world, when the Java was finally born. It was somehow simple and familiar, yet opened new horizons for programmers around the world. With automatic memory management and architecture-neutral and portable nature, Java made all the previous programming languages look like a manual car while being the newest model with the automatic gearbox.

I did not have to worry about memory, Java was covering me up. It also made accessing code from different devices possible with its “write once, run anywhere” principle. Moreover, by the time Java has appeared, the Internet became a little bit more common and I got access to the like-minded enthusiasts that were interested in the same things as I was. Now I was not alone, and learning and developing myself became much easier.

Money Maker: languages vs connections

Once I’ve learned Java, I got my first job in one of the countries biggest banks — a place where people with connections worked. I didn’t have any connections, and I have just entered the university, but I knew the magic language that opened many doors.

I’m not going to reveal any names, but over the last 15 years, I have worked for 10 different banks where my skills were a perfect fit. I specialized in building processing centres, but it was never that simple. IT guys haven’t been just coders for any of those banks, but real problem solvers.

The new languages, like PHP (scripting language used to create interactive HTML Web pages) and Perl (seems to me like this language was actually created to confuse people, but there are coders who actually like it), kept coming, but none of them really won my heart. Meanwhile, I was dealing with the real world problems, like creating the first utility bills payment system for ATMs, or bringing these ATMs to small cities.

I even had to stop a riot once! One of the machines we’ve installed in the suburbs was supposed to give out salaries to the workers of one of our clients (a factory) but went broke instead causing mass protests. Despite the fact that my fault was non-existent, I managed to fix all the issues and even had to talk to the press. That language was really new to me.

Kotlin or why I joined Crypterium

As you can see, working for banks was fun. Yet, the whole system is so deeply rooted in tradition and backward that I just had to move forward to see for myself how far the technology can go and what I can do for the world of the future to appear faster.

Back in 2013, I’ve mastered another language — Kotlin, one of the most fascinating things I’ve learned since Java. It was created by my fellow Russian coders and is supported by Google as the main programming language today. I personally like Kotlin so much that I use it to write everything and regard it as a breath of fresh air after almost a decade of a standstill.

I brought the Kotlin culture to the blockchain startup that I joined last year. What we’re trying to build is a whole new layer on the existing financial infrastructure. We like digital assets, mostly cryptocurrencies, so much that we decided to make them as easy to spend as cash. As a result, Crypterium was born and recognized as one of the most promising fintech projects by KPMG and H2 Ventures.

Unlike banks, we are on the edge of the newest technology, and when at Crypterium, we tell candidates that we use Kotlin for our general ledger, they get inspired and motivated while their willingness to work for us increases with a geometrical progression.

The kids will join the IT crowd

It might seem like I’m writing this story just to brag, but learning new programming languages is not about looking smart, it’s about getting things done with the best possible tools. Of course, you can try to move all your belongings from one house to another using a bike, but it’s not the best solution, especially when you can use a truck instead.

Over time I was just looking for the tools to get things done, and it doesn’t matter if it’s Delfi or Assembler x86, Python or JavaScript, I just couldn’t help but wonder how those languages could help us code new things in new ways.

It might sound odd for you, but it wouldn’t for your kids, believe me. Technology will shape the future, and whether or not to learn how to code would not be a question in a couple of years. The new generation will discover, just like I did, the whole new galaxy that “talks” to us. They will look deeper into the way things work. When I ride a bus I wonder how the automatic tickets system or PayPass work. When I am in an elevator I wonder how it manages to go to all the floors it is commanded so.

Technology is getting its hands on everything and is going everywhere, even to the most remote places of our planet — and that is the beauty of tomorrow. In order to understand how this world of future will function, the kids of today will need to learn technologies from an early age because knowing even 15 languages of programming today will be just the tip of an iceberg tomorrow.

About Crypterium

CCrypterium is one of the most promising fintech companies, according to KPMG and H2Ventures. We are building a mobile app that meets the banking needs of the digital assets era.

Our goal is clear: with Crypterium, whatever you can do with traditional money you will able to do with digital assets. This idea is supported, among others, by the co-founder of TechCrunch Keith Teare and over 400,000 registered users, and the number is growing every day.

The team is led by former General Manager of Visa Central & Eastern Europe Steven Parker, and C-level executives from global financial institutions, like Renaissance Insurance, London Derivatives Exchange, American Express etc.

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