Thursday, July 2, 2009

What I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up

I always wanted to do something with computers; I've loved them ever since we got our first one (TRS-80) when I was in my early teens. I have no idea what prompted my father to drop over $800 at Radio Shack that day (for a computer with a whopping 16 k of memory!) , but I was thrilled. I dove in immediately, teaching myself how to program in BASIC and spending hours poring over Rainbow programming magazines. Later on when Macs were introduced to my school I volunteered as a tutor in the computer lab, just so I could spend more time with those magical machines.

I got sidetracked with photography right after high school, not because it was a passion but because I got the job and it paid the bills. However, a friend at the camera store I worked at kept my interest in computers strong by supplying me with hardware that he didn't need anymore and teaching me how to build computers from the motherboard up. I had a 286, then a 386, and continually upgraded and learned as he upgraded and taught. I will always be grateful to him as he taught me to be fearless with computers; to roll up my sleeves and dive on in.

Then I joined the army, because they told me they'd pay me to become a computer tech. Sho'nuff, I spent 13 months training to be an IT hardware tech... and then got shunted away from it with each and every posting. True, I did some very interesting things in the fields of electronic warfare and long-range sat comm, but it wasn't what I really wanted to do, you know?

When I knew I had to leave the army due to a knee injury I had a long period of soul-searching and aptitude tests with the Personnel Development section, until one day I had the revelation that I could now do exactly what I wanted to do: programming. (Every aptitude test I took pointed me strongly in that direction... hello? Clue phone on aisle 8?)

A semester and a half into the program and I know with every fiber of my being that this is where I belong. It's such a good fit for my OCD-leaning, detail- and puzzle-loving logical mind. I am grateful for this chance to pursue my dream and look forward to the journey ahead.


Reeky said...

Good luck and have fun.

It's great to get paid for something that comes naturally and you like to do.

I've been an artist all my life and could imagine doing something other than art.

Reeky said...

"couldn't" not could.

never claimed to be literal.

xup said...

Yes, yes you are a geek. Progamming is so far from anything I have even the remotest interest in, it's like we live on 2 different planets. But, thank goodness someone loves to do this stuff, right? Or we probably wouldn't be here blogging about it. Very nice that you've been able to pursue a lifelong passion.

Susan said...

Reeky: Thanks for dropping by! We are very lucky indeed to be doing something we love for a living... I think we're certainly a minority.

XUP: I was a geek even as a child. It was a burden then but now it's a badge of honour. I'm glad there are people different from me out there... someone's gotta have social skills. :)