As an interesting way to get to know the JDL Technologies team better, we thought that sharing about everyone's first piece of technology and how it spurred a career in technology.
My introduction to computers was the same as so many others, games!
I wanted better games than what I had on my Atari, so my father purchased me a pretty expensive Packard Bell, I think it was a 386 of some kind. I ended up with dozens and dozens of games on 5 1/4" disks, and dialed into bulletin board systems, and got very little sleep! The PC went into my bedroom, and ever since I have been the "computer nerd" of the family!
With no formal education in computers at the time, just some experience on my home PC, at each job I had I ended up the "computer guy" even though I wasn't hired for something else. I eventually landed my first "computer job" as a Field Technician, got my first certification (the A+!), and a few jobs later here I am, almost 10 years with JDL Technologies!
My first run in with technology was back in the 6th Grade, my teacher turned me on to computers with the game Jeopardy. During the open house event he mentioned to my mom that he saw a lot of interest in me with computers and that they should consider getting me a PC. With his help, my parents ran to Radio Shack and purchased me a Tandy 2000 8mhz with 256k RAM expandable to 768k (oooooooooooohhhh…….. aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh). I spenty a lot of time dabbling with the new PC, quickly picking up on copy commands, etc… but my PC became obsolete pretty quick, no one wrote software for the 80186 which carried Microsoft’s True MS-DOS. So, I put the PC down and picked up a bat and glove and pursued baseball as a hobby and career. After some college and Minor League ball, corporate America gobbled me up and after a short stint in sales I found myself back in technology. I initially started volunteering my time to the IT department after hours for an Ocean Freight carrier I worked for and decided to join one of the techs in a MCSE NT4 cert class, which taught me nothing but how to pass the exam. However, with the cert, some OJT and a little luck I landed a nice job with EDS for the Norwegian Cruise Line account and quickly worked my way through the ranks soaking up all the knowledge and experience that got in my way, acquiring certs from Microsoft to Cisco to SonicWall. Later, I began designing Active Directory environments, project managing and the deeper I got into to technology the more I enjoyed it. Moving into the Management side of things I still always found a way to stay up to date on my technical skills and made sure I was not missing a beat. Today I can proudly say “Thank You Technology.” It’s been a fun, educational and rewarding ride, one I plan to stay on for many, many years.
During my 26 year technology career, I have seen and touched just about every major technology and technology advancement. My first technology was selling the old mobile/radio telephone technology when only really, really rich people had car phones and we were all held hostage by the Bell Operating Companies.
Today, we are virtual and living and working in the cloud! WOW!!
My first technology…
I used to hate this question because at one time, I was a young man in IT. I somehow felt inadequate when someone would start a discussion like this and invariably there would be someone in the group that would bring up how they remembered working with punch cards. They would have story upon story about how they would spend hours loading them into the systems or cleaning up all the “chads”. Then someone else would chime in to one up them because you can’t have that conversation without someone remembering how they tripped while walking over to the loader and spilled their cards everywhere and had to spend hours putting them back in the proper order. It made me feel somehow less of a man that I missed that era and that my beginnings were more modern while at the same time more humble.
Now, I am a bit older though still in IT. While I am certainly not the oldest out there and those punch card guys still exist, I find myself more and more in the position of being able to one up those around me because I got my start in the 80’s when Commodore made the first real entries into home computing with their Commodore Vic 20. I was one of those lucky few with a progressive parent that understood that computers were going to be something some day and who wanted in on the ground floor. I fondly remember my first forays into programing in basic and saving my rudimentary programs to a 5 ¼ inch floppy disk. I also remember those first games which were like crack to a young teen! I followed the progression from the Vic 20 to the 64 to the (at the time) pen ultimate Commodore 128. I was one of the only students in my class who could write his papers at home without a typewriter. I also learned that the early spellcheckers were very bad and should NEVER have allowed me to use the “add to dictionary” function!
After high school, my computer days remained somewhat stagnant. I used that 64 throughout college and then took a hiatus from the computer revolution until I went back to college again in the mid 90’s when I was introduced to the x386 architecture and THE INTERNET! My then fiancé and I spent hours on multiple BBS’ living alternate cyber lives in a world of text and mental imagery. Even then, I didn’t realize that computers would be where my future lay.
I graduated from college with a degree in Theatre Management (insert snickering here) and took a job as the Box Office Manager for an opera company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There my first job was to convert them from a hard copy paper based system to a computerized Unix based professional ticketing system. That was when my life came to a professional fork. I found that Unix just made sense to me. I would write scripts for everything in attempts to make my life easier. Everything from number crunching to torturing co-workers, the computer became my tool of choice. With that self-realization I went back to school and earned a Masters in Information Systems and took a job as a Unix Systems Administrator. That was 15 years ago. Since then I have gone from systems administration to programming to consulting. I have worked with Windows, AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, Linux, MVS and OS 400. I have been a lackey and a leader, but the consistent theme has been the computer. Now, I find myself the VP & GM for an engineering based IT consulting company and I couldn’t be happier.
So, next time you find yourself in a crowd of geeks and think that your first experience is not as significant as theirs, hang in there. In the not too distant future a group just like the ones I find myself in will be talking about how when they first got started they had to do all their work on a “Smart Phone” (snickers from those around them).
My technology interest started late in life. I was 19 years old at the time when I saw an ad in the local paper for A+ certification classes. A friend and I decided to take the week long (boot camp) class. The class really did not teach me much, but for some reason the questions it created led me on my journey to learn whatever I could about different types of technology. The first thing I did after the week long class was to purchase my first computer. It was slow AMD Duron 533mhz Compaq computer running Windows Millennium. I did not know it at the time but this was the perfect operating system to practice on because it always crashed. My journey has given me many insights into various organizations' technology. I have had the pleasure on working with technology in banking, health care, hospitality, nonprofit, insurance, legal, and real estate sectors.
My 1st technology was the Apple IIc computer.
I used it primarily for games. My favorite was Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? Later, I progressed to word processing through high school and various college degrees. Now, I’m working at a technology services company in communications where I dabble in html, manage the website, and blog on the side as a hobby.