My name is Juan Cruz Martinez, and I’m the founder of Live Code Stream.
My Learning to Code Journey
I learned to code with 14, and I was in high school; nothing too fancy, but I learned the basics of algorithms and the Pascal programming language. After I wrote my first Pascal program, I was totally hooked on programming, and I would spend my after-school time learning more and more about it.
Back then, the internet was a different place; there were not many online resources to learn from; I did not even have an internet connection at home, so there were many trials and errors and going through the programming language docs.
It was not long until I switched to the C programming language, creating pixelated games that ran on DOS. I learned a few things about control flow and coding storylines.
My skills improved over time, and a lot changed when I started building things with purpose. For example, I built a chat, networking, and protocol for gamers to use while playing their favorite games, like Counter-Strike. The chat followed a client-server architecture, and the client had built-in network tools to identify apps and ports in use to determine which game you were playing and if you were playing online.
Building that app took me a ton of time, the UI was built with Visual Basic, but most of the networking stuff was built with C++. I learned more concepts building that project than anything else so far.
Before I was 18, I also thought it was a great idea to build a game engine, so I embarked on a six-month project to build one. Because who would not do it, right? That project was fascinating to me. I built a few modules, like a model loader, terrain generator, and some of the physics models for an Age of Empires kind of game.
But I had to drop the project as I clearly underestimated the effort quickly, and other priorities suddenly appeared in my life as I turned 18.
My Brief Time as a Computer Science Student
It was not surprising to my parents or me when I decided to study Computer Science. I signed up for a computer science career at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), a free and respected university.
The computer science career was a five-year curriculum, out of which I completed the first two and a half years. What’s different between this university and others is that you don’t have an entrance exam. However, you need to go through a year-long cycle called “CBC” (Common Basic Cycle), which is more of a vocational outlook so that students can commit themselves to a specific program. During that year, you would be getting ready for the high expectations required by the university, so no matter where you are coming from and your background, you can catch up during that cycle.
Because of that year, and since I kinda quit after the second year, I never got the chance to get any computer science classes at the university, but rather I managed to take all the physics and math classes, which were the hardest, like statistics I and II, algebra, discrete mathematics, and of course, calculus I, II, and III. I have to say I was pretty good at math.
Because the computer science curriculum has a ton of math, it does not mean you must be good at math to be a software or web developer.
The decision to quit my studies did not happen from one day to the other. Instead, I started getting lazy, skipping classes, and finding excuses not to study. And one day, I noticed I had not gone to school for almost a month. Then, I never went back.
Not having graduated has never been a hard block for me to achieve my goals, nor has it impacted my career as a freelancer, but it made it hard sometimes when navigating the corporate world at Siemens.
Do I regret not having completed my degree? Sometimes, but it is more of an achievement than anything else.
Did it not have a degree impact on my life? Today, I own this company and work as a dev advocate for a giant tech company (Okta). I live a happy life with professional fulfillment, helping others, and a wonderful family. So No, not having a degree did not impact my life.
Will I ever attend university again? Yes and no, I do not think I would step foot at a university again. However, I’m attending an online university at a very slow pace, but with the objective of one day having a degree, just because I want to have that checked at some point in my life.
My First Job as a Software Developer
I always tell people I had two first jobs as a software developer, and even if that’s not really possible, it kind of is.
For my very first job, I was hired as a PHP developer. Until the time I joined that company, I had never coded PHP before, but there I was, eager to learn and start making money with programming. Thinking in retrospect, that job was a joke, and even if I have good memories of it, the products we worked on and the source code that was there were terrible. I only lasted a few months there and did not even count it as experience.
I got that opportunity thanks to a person I’m most thankful to, Diego, who, two months after I joined, left for another position at EMMSA, a consulting company that worked with big-name players using C#. Right after joining EMMSA, he got me an interview once more, and following his path, I joined EMMSA right after him.
EMMSA was a completely different place; it was very professional, with a great team of developers, systems, and processes in place and a great leadership team. They built great products. They had their own standards, helpers, and everything a software factory needs to be successful.
With EMMSA, I got first assigned to multiple projects, working for insurance and manufacturing companies, and lastly, working for Siemens, a company I would become a 100% dedicated resource, even to the point of working directly at the customer’s office. My bond with Siemens became so evident that after a few years, I joined Siemens payroll and became an effective employee.
My Life at Siemens
I have enjoyed my life at Siemens for over a decade, working in multiple positions and building multiple internal projects, not only coding but designing processes, helping with accounting, and a ton of different stuff.
At Siemens, I met amazing people, including Fernando, who probably shaped my life more than anyone else, my mentor, and to whom I own it all. Even though he had a technical background, he worked as a high-level manager, but together we worked on multiple projects, he was the visionary, and I helped him build the tools and systems he envisioned.
Being with the right people can make a huge difference, and so it did with me. Fernando exposed me to the entire company, helping me learn and make connections worldwide.
We built great stuff, from accounting workflow tools to financial dashboards, automatization, and everything about increasing the productivity and efficiency of internal processes.
I worked under his guidance for most of my career with him, switching departments as he was moving until I moved to the USA and worked there under a new digital organization, building products for Siemens’ customers.
During my time in the USA, I got to work on exciting projects, building an IoT platform that would collect information in real-time from hundreds of sensors in a power plant and send them over a secure channel to an API. We would then use that information to train models and build data-powered products.
I was not only helping design such an architecture, but I also coded critical components of that software and also got to work as a tech lead for a fantastic team of offshore developers that helped put everything together.
Moving to Germany
My time in the US was great for many reasons, but two moments are among the most important in my life. The birth of my first kid, and getting married to my now beautiful german wife.
Living thousands of km away from home has its obvious difficulties, and we felt that when our son was born. So in 2019, we decided it was time to move, and we decided to move to Germany, my wife’s natal country and where she lived most of her life.
When we moved to Germany, I joined a new company, Zeiss. So after 13 years with Siemens, I was switching my full-time job for the first time. It was pretty scary and even more so when the pandemic hit at the end of that year.
Founding Live Code Stream
I have an entrepreneurial spirit; I was always working on something on the side or freelancing. I only paused when I moved to the US, as I was not legally allowed to do any other work outside my work at Siemens due to Visa restrictions.
After moving to Germany, I no longer had that restriction, but I also had little free time. With the move, learning a new language, and starting a new job, I had little left to freelance or work on personal projects.
Mid-2020, at the worst of the pandemic, with daycare facilities closed and being impossible to really get work done, my company made use of a program from the government and gave certain employees reduced-hour contracts for a given period. Since I had kids at home, I was selected, and I went from working 40+ hours to working less than 20 hours a week. Of course, that time was to take care of my little boy.
But because of my reduced time and all other activities, as my German training was canceled, I had a bit more time and decided to start streaming and blogging. So I purchased a domain “livecodestream.dev” and built the site.
I still remember performing my first live stream; I was online for over an hour and had zero viewers the whole time.
But I didn’t give up and tried again to have the same result.
While my live streams were empty, I started writing articles. Surprisingly, I enjoyed writing more than I enjoyed streaming, and so did my audience.
Live stream after live stream with zero to almost no viewers. However, on the blog, things started to go differently. Traffic started to go up as I wrote more, and readers started visiting the site more and more, which made me move more time into writing than streaming.
Today the website has 250+ articles, and over 40k developers visit its content monthly.
Where I Am Today
In 2022 I switched my life from coding to a full-time content creator, focusing on written content but exploring new options, like returning the site to its roots in live streams and video creation.
One thing I learned from all these years is that we are really good at getting used to things.
Changing is hard.
I worked for the same company for over a decade, and quitting was among the hardest decisions in my professional life, but looking back, it was also one of the best.
I started Live Code Stream to combine my passion for coding and entrepreneurship with helping people realize their dreams.
We all have different paths, but No Matter Where You Are, I Know You Can Do It Too!
I Want to Take a Moment and Thank You for Being Here
If you made it this far, I appreciate the time you took to read through my story. I really value every relationship that I make from this blog.
I’m here for you as a fellow coder, career guide, and friend. I try to respond to every email and want to hear your story – both the good and the bad.
I want to provide a safe place where new developers and entrepreneurs can collaborate, provide encouragement, and work smarter.
Thanks for reading!