My name is Josh VanderLinden. I am a happily married Web and Applications Developer. I am the youngest of four children born to my two wonderful parents, Martin and Gay VanderLinden.
I grew up as a military brat. My father was in the Air Force for a solid and respectable 22 years before he retired and began working as a contractor. As part of my military experience, I've been privileged to live in England, Idaho, Germany, Georgia, and a couple months in Japan.
Ever since I was a little tike, my dad has had all sorts of computers around the house. I've been playing on them ever since I could reach the keyboard. My dad built my very first personal computer when I was about 10 or 11 using spare parts that he picked up over time. I think he did it so I would stop screwing up the main family computer, but I'm glad he did it, whatever the reason was. It gave me a chance to get inside computers and learn how they work.
Soon after I had my first computer, games started to become more and more intriguing to me. I soon realized, however, that games cost money, something which I didn't have much of. So, at age 11, I set a goal in my mind to learn how to program games so I wouldn't have to fork out $20 for one at the store. Little did I know how much of an impact this decision would have on my life.
With the tremendous help of my older brother, Dillon, and my dad, I started learning how to program. I started with QBasic and built my way up to more complex and capable programming languages. I never actually got any real games done, but I did have some pretty good ideas. By the time I was in 7th grade, I was using Visual Basic quite proficiently. I could build some of the coolest yet absolutely useless programs you can imagine. My friends at school all wanted their own program, and I was happy to oblige. At some point around this time, however, I decided that Visual Basic wasn't powerful enough for me. I needed something more. Enter C++. I picked up some of the C++ books my dad had laying around and feasted.
My first formal introduction to the Internet was when I was in 8th grade. We had just moved to Georgia, where dial-up Internet rates were somewhat reasonable. I took a technology class that helped us explore various areas of technology: robotics, mechanics, and others. At some point in the semester, I was placed in a web module. In this module, we used Netscape Composer to build our very own web pages. I was hooked. My endeavors with QBasic, Visual Basic, and C++ would have to go on hold for a while as I learned more about this "Internet" thing.
I downloaded Netscape at home on our trusty 28.8kbps connection and commenced a new chapter of my nerdiness. Soon I found myself paying close attention to every website I visited. How did they do that? What did they use to make this? All sorts of exploratory questions raced through my mind constantly. Some websites were able to do this cool thing where one side of the page didn't move while the other side did. I could never find how to do that with Netscape Composer. It soon occurred to me that I would have to dig deeper if I wanted to make websites that were as cool as all the ones I frequented.
It turns out that there's this entirely new "programming language" called HTML that Composer used to make all the web pages. It wasn't long after I learned this that I found a whole slew of HTML tutorials and guides to help me do whatever I pleased. I took full advantage of Thanksgiving break that year. Three days straight proved to be enough time to become very comfortable with HTML and start building whatever I wished. I've been building websites ever since then.
Through the following years in high school, I dabbled in various other programming languages, looking for other things that interested me. I played with ASP a bit, ColdFusion for a day or two, and a few others. When I was in tenth grade, I stumbled upon PHP and found a very cozy home there. PHP got me through the next 6 or 7 years very well. I didn't bother too much with learning other languages during that time, with the exception of Java.
My high school didn't really offer any programming classes that I found useful, but I had to take something. They wouldn't let me just jump into whatever class I wanted, so I had to start with QBasic, then Visual Basic, then C++ (strange how that worked out). In each class, the teachers all used my programs as examples for later classes. The last C++ class I took in high school was actually called "AP Computer Science," and it wasn't until I took that class that I started learning things about programming that I hadn't taught myself 4 years earlier. It was fun. I took the AP exam and walked out a few hours later with a 5 (which is the highest possible score). Good times.
When I graduated high school, I somehow ended up with a 4.125 GPA or something like that. Pretty fishy, but I'm not complaining. I was in the top 10 of my graduating class, but that wasn't hard to do since there were only 10 people in my graduating class. Yeah.
I moved on to the college stage of my life, enrolling at Brigham Young University--Idaho (mostly because my super cool big brother went there). I started my college career with my eye set on majoring in computer science. I took three classes in the department and found myself learning a few things here and there, but not much of the subject matter was new to me. The university only gave me 1 credit for my AP exam score (for a class that teaches things like, "this plastic thingy is called a 'mouse' and you can click it. It makes pictures move around on that TV-lookin' thing right in front of you!"....yeah, still pretty frustrated about that).
After a year at college, I decided to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which turned out to be perhaps the most rewarding two years of my life. I went with a group of 5 other chaps to Romania, where we spent two awesome years preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to our brothers and sisters. I guess the mission leaders somehow found out just how much of a nerd I am, because I spent nearly a year of that time in the mission office doing nerdy things. What makes it even more strange is that I was called to serve in the office twice (which I've only heard of on one other occasion). Yup, I'm a nerd.
When I concluded my mission, my parents were living in Japan, which is where I returned home to. I spent a couple months getting used to speaking English again and catching up on Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and various other movies. Then I returned to study at Brigham Young University--Idaho.
During the course of my mission, I had plenty of time to reflect upon my choice of majors. It occurred to me that an incredible amount of the material taught in the computer science department is more theoretical than practical. Theory frustrates me. I need practical things. That's about the time I started considering the information systems department. It seemed like a good balance of nerdy subjects while staying practical. That's what I ended up declaring as my major immediately after resuming classes.
I was very privileged and honored to find a job within a couple days of returning to the city. Most students have a hard time just finding a job here, let alone a job they really want. But I had met with this man previous to my leaving on a mission. He still had my resume on file, and he basically hired me on the spot when I got back. I've been working there ever since as an applications developer working with Java.
As soon as my classes were over for that semester, I realized that I had ridiculous amounts of free time, so I started looking for other things to occupy my time. I found another job that paid quite well. It was as a PHP developer with Stuzo, Inc. That job was super cool because I learned a lot and I could work from my bedroom (it was over the Internet). Then I also started dating a fantastic woman named Mindy Bartoli. I actually tricked her into going on a date with me. We had a wonderful time, and we set up a time to meet the following day for another outing. It seems like we spent at least 8 hours together each day for the rest of the summer, until she had to go home for her off semester.
I couldn't let her go just to be snatched up by some other nerd, so I purchased an engagement ring and proposed to her the day before she flew out. Obviously, she accepted my proposal, and the next day and some hours was very bitter-sweet as we realized that we wouldn't be able to see each other for several months. But we made it through.
Mindy came to visit me for a weekend in the beginning of October that semester, and I spent my Thanksgiving break with her at her family's house in Virginia. We had a blast, but it didn't last nearly long enough. I had to return to school to finish up my semester. As soon as Christmas break was over, we both flew into Salt Lake City's international airport and took a shuttle back up to Rexburg together. We were finally back together, and it was a tremendous relief. We spent some time adjusting to our class and work schedules, but we still managed to spend a few hours together each day. Immediately after the semester concluded, we were married in the Washington, D.C. LDS temple on April 7th, 2007.
Life has been an absolutely beautiful adventure ever since then.
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Technology and a minor in accounting in April 2009. Mindy is slated to graduate from BYU-I in the summer of 2009. Mindy studied political science and Russian (one of the things that first attracted me).
Our first child was born on August 8th, 2009. It was a little boy, who weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces. We call him Logan, after Wolverine. I'm completely serious!
In the middle of September of 2009, I was offered a position with ScienceLogic, LLC as a software architect. I began working for them in the beginning of October 2009. We have a nice apartment in Ashburn, Virginia, and we're loving it!