Computer Science?

I grew up with the personal computer—figuratively and literally. My father has a PhD in electrical engineering, and he was one of the early adopters of PCs. Consequently, as a young child I had the remarkable opportunity to spend a lot of time with machines such as the IBM PC.

My father taught me BASIC when I was in elementary school. By middle school, I was a daily internet user… and this was before the World Wide Web existed. There, I taught myself a very obscure programming language called MuseCODE, on a mainframe system hosted at MIT. In high school I began to learn object-oriented programming with Pascal. I designed my first webpage in 1996, before all the cool kids were doing it.

I started my college education with three semesters of computer science at the University of Massachusetts before I decided to follow different passions. However, computer programming has turned out to be a phenomenally useful ancillary skill, which I still use with surprising frequency. In 2019, I taught myself JavaScript so that I could program a community calendar and newsletter for the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts; it allowed the Federation to move its website in-house while greatly increasing functionality, and saved the organization thousands of dollars per year.