How I became an Engineer at 15?

I’ve been interested in technology since the day I first came to know about them. Technology would entice me in a way my girlfriend never could. I could spend a whole day in my room with my laptop, learning different things, trying different things. Due to my this habit, my mom would be looping the lines, “You don’t even feel hungry when you get a laptop, do you?” every single day. It was during those times that I used to dream day in day out about how it would feel to become a professional coder.

I wrote my first actual piece of code when I was 12. It, as you might expect, was a webpage that echoed the words “Hello World”. And no, it was not HTML that I used. I didn’t even consider HTML to be a programming language back then, for it was so common. My first piece of code was written in php, the language in which I was more fluent than my mother tongue, Nepali. (I used to suck at Nepali.) That sounds funny, but, that was the truth. By 15, I was habituated with, php, HTML, CSS, Python and obviously, QBASIC. Sometimes, I would miss the semicolons “;” in php and frustrate myself, while other times, I would unnecessarily add semicolons while coding in Python. Now you probably think that I am a geek, but, nah, I am obsessed with many other things, like Physics and Football. Due to the time difference, the UEFA Champions League games start at midnight and yet, I’ve never hesitated to pull-off an all-nighter just to watch Manchester City play.

It was 2015, and I was 15 when I developed my first website, which is https://www.abhizer.com/ . Which was hosted on one of the servers of my maternal uncle (“mama” as we call in Nepali). Occasionally, when I wanted to visit my website, it would “greet me politely” with the bold words, “Error Establishing A Database Connection” which annoyed the hell out of me. When I told this to my mama, he granted me a root access to the server and asked me to fix it on my own. I didn’t know a thing about it, and it felt awful to have everything that I need to solve that problem and yet be unable to fix it. When I asked him about it, he asked me to try the Red Hat Certified Engineer, RHCE course. After that, I did quite a research on it, and discovered that there were only a few places where I could learn it. My class 10 board exams had just finished and I had some time on my hand, that is when I decided to take the course. The cost of the course and the exams were a shocker, but I insisted to take the course, despite of people telling me that it’s not worth it, and you will most probably fail. I studied at Computer Point Nepal, for around 3 months, 2 hours a day, from 5 to 7 in the evening, as I knew that any other shift would be a problem once my high school starts. I hadn’t seen the struggle coming, the struggle of waiting for a bus home for around an hour, the struggle of hanging in the door of the packed bus where there was barely any place to place a foot. The struggle was on. It got even more hectic when my A Levels started, reaching home at around 10 and trying to finish the homework, while also practicing the stuff that I had learned in the RHCE course. The exams were a real challenge as they were expensive and I would not get another shot at them. I used virtual machines in order to practice for the exams and with the help of everyone around me, my parents, mama, my teacher at Computer Point Nepal, I was finally ready for the exam.

It was the day of the RHCSA exam, I was nervous and my heart for some reason just wouldn’t stop racing. The exams went well and I knew that I’d pass it. But, the real test was the RHCE exam. I stayed up all night practicing and preparing. I didn’t know what to expect. It was the day of the exam and everyone who had seen me that day would know how red my face was. I had adrenaline rush throughout the day and my heart was back on race. Once, I came out of the exam hall, I felt as if I’d blown away my chance to be called an Engineer. I didn’t know, what I did in there, I had forgotten everything and started to worry. I had no expectations that I would actually pass the exam.

After a few days, one night, I had fallen asleep with my Mac in my lap, when I woke up, it was around 12 at night, when I saw an email of the result of EX200 exam, the RHCSA exam, opened it and realized that I had passed it, and after a few moments, another email, this time, the result of EX300 exam, RHCE, I was super nervous when I opened it, but then when I saw the words “PASS” there was literally no limit of my happiness. I was flying. The first person that I contacted was my mama and I thanked him for pushing me to my limits. That moment, the joy of that moment, is something that I will never forget and, it will probably be something that I’ll tell my grandkids!

It is since that day, that I have enjoyed the pleasure of calling myself a Red Hat “Certified” Engineer. 🙂

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