Josh Schertz

2 Years as a Programmer

January is the anniversary for when I first started my journey as a true programmer. To commemorate that, I want to write a few words to document this momentous occasion for perpetuity. I can say with complete honesty that I have never been happier with the decision to become a programmer, and I am very excited for what lays ahead of me as I continue my life's work as a programmer.

I want to take a moment to thank Ricardo Rosales for joining me on this adventure. It is through this partnership that enabled both of us to excel very rapidly in our programming knowledge. I still remember asking Ricardo after the first Investment Society meeting of January 2014 if he'd be interested in meeting up once a week to go over basic coding concepts. At that point in time, Ricardo had only taken an intro programming course during his first semester at NYU the year before. For the first few weeks, we followed along with Udacity's Intro to Computer Science course that was taught by Dave Evans (now at University of Virginia). In line with this, with started working on fun projects so we could utilize these concepts in fruitful applications. First it was the Seeking Alpha web scraper and then the securities master and trading system.

So two years later and tens of thousands of lines of code later, we are still working on making these applications as good and advanced as they can be. Some of the largest advances we had involved making our process and code more professional. For me personally, I radically changing my coding style when I was preparing to open source the securities master I built from scratch (which I subsequently called the pySecMaster). When one open sources their code, they open it up to the world of programmers to scrutinize. With this in mind, I wanted to make it as good as I could. This involved making it fully PEP8 compliant, adding tons of documentation, error handling and resistant to different operational environments. This period changed my outlook of programming from a hobby to making it my profession.

I believe that programming is one of the most empowering skills one can have in today's world. With this knowledge, a single person can single handily impact humanity on a global scale (both for good and evil). It is with this outlook that I feel nothing is impossible; it might just take a bit of time and effort, but it's not impossible. A lot of this attitude stems from having the courage to build my own path to solving a problem others are afraid to. Wealth inequality, inefficient education, dubious security, manual emergency health procedures. These are just a few areas that I believe can be altered and improved through the use disruptive software systems. And this is what drives me to push myself harder every day.

I know that this will be a great year for myself, and look forward to the surprises that lay ahead. Ricardo and I should be getting our trading system up and running within a few weeks. The success of that will be instrumental in determining what I will be doing in the later half of the year. Regardless of it's outcome, however, I know that I will be working on fun, worthwhile projects that add value to society. Well, there are exciting times ahead!