My journey to become a programmer

It was when I was 9, after seeing my brother got some very interesting Windows applications with his name on, I asked him how can he did such fantastic things like that. At first, he demonstrated to me how to use Visual Basic 6 IDE, and how I can create a button on the screen. Then he gave me a book — Visual Basic 6.0 self-study tutorial — this is where the journey began.

A look at Visual Basic 6.0 IDE

At that time, it’s a pity that I was only allowed to use the computer for exactly 30 minutes a day. Anyways it’s seemed to be enough for me. I kept following the book’s tutorial over & over again. Soon I started feeling bored. So I decided to make my own app. It’s a prank app, showing red screen error when opened. I tried to scare my sister with that but unluckily failed. I was not giving up and started to improve it. I picked up the book, turned some pages and started writing another prank app. This one has a hidden countdown timer. After it went out, the screen will start shaking rapidly and do not stop. After I had done a few testing, I set it up to scare my brother. Unfortunately, he killed my app using Task Manager as soon as it started shaking.

That was a great time of my life learning coding, until my sister forced me to stop learning that, as she wanted me to concentrate on studying at school. However, I still sneakily learned it when she was away. Until I was 10, my computer’s broken. But it wouldn’t stop me from coding. When I was in classes, I turned the middle pages of my notebook, drew some app user interface, and started writing code as I did on the computer.

When I was 13, I got my first Android phone — LG P698. At that time, I was so jealous that there are so many phones running Android Jellybean 4.1–4.3 but mine only got Gingerbread 2.3.4. So I tried to find a tutorial on the Internet about how to upgrade an Android device. I successfully rooted & installed a custom recovery for it. Then I installed the wrong firmware of another phone model, that freaked me out. Anyway, I soon found a way to fix that. Later then, I learned how to modify the Android firmware — we, at the XDA forum, prefer to call it “cooking ROM”. I made one for my phone, and it does look great!. Three years later, I got a new phone, it’s an LG E400. I also joined LG E400 community groups on Facebook to find if there’s any interesting firmware for the phone, but there’s none. So I cooked my custom ROM for it, named Simonogen. Everyone loves it. I still did the same thing when I got a new phone — Nokia X2 — a year later. I made Simonoid for Nokia X2. This one is the best firmware for Android phone I’d ever made. It’s really much better than the original firmware from Nokia.

The best thing is, I’ve made a lot of new friends from the XDA forum as well as on Facebook groups by cooking ROM. One of them is Nguyen Triet Khang. He sent me a pm after he saw my post on XDA forum about Simonoid ROM. Khang joined HasBrain’s first batch of traineeship when he was a freshman at HCMUT in 2015. He did gain a lot of experience and skills there. He also learned to make an Android app, and it’s successfully launched with more than 10,000 active users after a few weeks. That really impressed me. So I decided to become a mobile developer then. He taught me a lot about coding — especially in Android, that help me improved a lot. I would never be that fast without him.

In May 2018, Khang suggested me to join hasBrain Training Program. I was a little nervous, so I asked some of my friends to go with me. We’re invited into some Slack channel and given an entrance test by HasBrain. I’d spent my whole Saturday at home doing it. The day after, we brought our result to present it with some candidates and Mr. Kaiwei — founder of HasBrain. I was so happy that I’d been accepted to become a trainee at HasBrain. My first sprint to become a true programmer started then.