About Me

Hi! I'm Benoit Bernard, a professional programmer from Quebec, Canada.

When I was around 10, my mother bought an awesome 386DX computer. At the time, the only experience I'd had with computers was at school and it was pretty limited (I'm thinking about Mimi la fourmi and Logo Writer here). Yeah, things were archaic, but yet very exciting at the same time. Computers had that nebulous, mysterious, powerful aura in my mind. "What else could I do with it?", I wondered.

Called by computers

It didn't take much time before I was hooked. Just like Neil deGrasse Tyson, who was literally called by the universe at a very young age, I was called by computers. My older brother had more knowledge than me, so he taught me the basics of Windows 3.1, the Basic programming language and Visual Basic 3.0. I remember spending whole days trying to understand Visual Basic programs, while eating entire boxes of Mini Wheats. I don't recommended you to do so.

But anyways, after I had experienced a succession of amazing technologies over the years (14.4 Kbps modems to play Doom2 Deathmatch, BBses, CD-ROM drives, Windows 95 and XP, Duke Nukem 3D and Carmageddon, as well as Visual Basic 6.0 and 3dfx cards), I finally decided to study Computer Engineering at Laval University. After enrolling in the program, I immediately knew that I was at the right place and that programming was my thing.

Years of learning

What's so great about having a first job in a software company with many talented people is that you learn a lot. At Domosys, I learned the C programming language and the Win32 API. And at Coveo, I played with so many technologies in the first few years that I can't enumerate them all. But I would say that the single best thing that I've done in my professional career is investing in myself. I obviously sucked at public speaking, so I joined Toastmasters. I sucked at web development, so I read several HTML, CSS and JavaScript books, including the whole 1098 pages of JavaScript The Definitive Guide: 6th edition. This doesn't make good bedside reading by the way. And finally, I sucked even more at modern dynamic languages, so I read several books and blogs about Python and Flask. Most of my personal projects were made possible thanks to those learnings.

Data attraction

I can't tell you exactly why and how, but all of my personal projects in the last few years involved working with data and analyzing it:

  • A program that analyzes the data of countless public websites, just for the fun of it.
  • A program that allows me to predict flight and rental car prices.
  • A program that monitors my budget and transactions in real-time. I'm still using it daily.
  • A program that analyzes the Stack Exchange Data Dump.

So I could say that I unconsciously took an interest in data science. I find that it's a really fascinating topic.

Business and startups

I thorougly enjoy reading books about business and startups. I like learning about the founders' personalities, finding out how they overcame major problems and roadblocks and how they started up. Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire is an excellent example of that.

I also like learning about startup marketing and related topics. I find it extremely inspiring, motivating and exciting.

Blogging

Do I suck at writing? Well, not so much at technical writing, since I did it professionally for a few years. But I mean professional writing, like writing a novel or a newspaper article. Clearly, it requires an entirely different set of skills. You need structure, you need a message and you need to be interesting. Otherwise, people will not read your work and they will forget about you.

So essentially, this blog is my attempt at becoming a better writer. Will I succeed?

Stay tuned!