I've been wanting to do this entry for quite a while: a detailed mini-biography of how I ended up in the field of work I am currently in. You are forewarned that this will be a long post; lifeblogging follows at the end.
Contrary to the usual practice, I did not always know that I wanted to work with computers. Quite the contrary: I had actively discounted it on many occasions.
Anywho, I get a bit ahead of myself. Back in the high school days, most students are eventually confronted with the quite daunting task of choosing the subjects that they are to complete in their senior years, with the consequences determining their university entrance. For me this was quite daunting, although there was the 'Information and Processing Technology" course, i didn't choose it mainly because I didn't really want that as a career.
I had no clue as to what I wanted to do after school, but I knew several things of what I didn't want to do. I knew I wanted to go to uni, but the only thing that I did really enjoy studying at school was history, but i knew well enough that studying history was in all likeliness not going to translate into a solid career choice. I chose as my "Board" (i.e. subjects that are heavily weighted towards your end of senior results): the compulsory subjects of English, Maths B (semi-advanced maths), and Study of Religion, and the electives of Geography (i semi-enjoyed this) and Chemistry, with side minor subjects in maths, computers, and others.
Out of the "board" subjects, I didn't really 'enjoy' any, and chemistry was terrible: I had enjoyed it in the earlier years of high school, but the advanced stuff was just way over my head. Nevertheless I got through school with very good grades, and graduated at the end of 2000 with an OP of 4 (in Queensland you get an OP (Overall position, ranked 25 to 1) score at the end of school, which is based on how well you do compared relatively to the rest of your grade across the state. The score is mainly used for University entrance). A 4 is very good, and basically guaranteed me a place in any but the most popular courses at uni.
Because I didn't really know what I wanted to do at uni, I had originally just decided to do a generic Arts degree in a few fields that I liked (such as History), and then hoped that I'd find my way. However the OP cut-off for arts at the time was an OP of around 12-14, so I considered doing that a total waste of my hard-earned position. I re-looked through the courses, and one thing caught my eye: Journalism, which the OP cut-off the previous year was a 6.
I was good at writing and journalism sounded good, so I applied and got in at the University of Queensland. After starting uni I was originally happy with my choice: it seemed good, and not to mention there was a female to male ratio of about 3:1, which is always good for a guy jumping into uni after leaving an all-boys high school.
However my enthusiasm didn't last long. I had a really hard time adjusting to university life both academically and socially, and together with personal problems on the side, it made my first semester of uni one of the worst times of my life (which was also a key factor in me finding my faith, but i'll leave that for another blog entry). One thing I was sure of though: that journalism was not for me. To sum it up briefly, it did not fit my personality at all: i am more of a quiet, shy, and reserved person, and that totally clashed with a profession that required you to be out there, with no inhibitions. I dropped a subject to lessen the pressure, and rode through the last weeks of the semester. Ironically I did quite well in the subjects I did finish; better than most of the journalism-nuts.
I was faced with the decision of what to do next. I did not want to drop out of uni, but my first semester experience did not leave me enthusiastic. I decided to revert to my previous plan of going into an Arts degree. I changed degrees and enrolled in a few subjects that I had some interest in. I chose a few history subjects, and starved for choice elsewhere, I went for a few IT subjects. I had enjoyed my minor computing subjects at school, but that was about it.
At this point I must say that I definitely was not into computers at all. I used them about as much as any other adolescent at the time, and through a little experience I managed my way around Windows 98 and 2000 a little more successfully than the average user, but i honestly hardly knew what I was doing.
I started the second semester of uni, and everything just seemed to click into place. I enjoyed nearly all my subjects that I was doing, and with some added and renewed faith my personal situations were starting to resolve themselves.
I was doing really well in all my subjects, and actually enjoyed it. I got good results, and by the end of the semester I knew that I at least wanted to do IT as part of my studies, but I wasn't sure of it as a profession just yet.
At the end of the year I changed to a dual degree of IT and Arts (in Arts majoring in History, and after some thought, Political Science).
Another factor that i see in hindsight as crucial to my change to IT, is the spread of broadband internet. Before 2001, we only had dial-up internet. Because it was slow, took up the phone line, and was also unreliable, I didn't really spend that much time on it for anything more than I needed to. After I started uni, we got cable internet at home, and I would have to say that with the always-on connection with amazingly faster speeds, it allowed me to 'experience' computers and all they could offer with a much greater breadth and immersion than I ever could before. Added to that, contrasting with Journalism previously, IT totally suited my personality.
Over the first year or two of the IT degree, I came to the realisation that I was becoming a geek. I was far more advanced in understanding and using technology than most of my non-IT peers, and the 'geek' tag was firmly affixed with the creating of this very website. My personal life also settled down very nicely after meeting the girl who now is my wife, and I have never looked back since.
From then I knew I wanted to do IT as a profession, but the only question remains is what part of the massive field that is 'IT' do I want to settle in. I have always wanted to something with databases and information systems, so I guess my current role in network administration and support is a fair bit away from there. But i am enjoying what i'm doing now, but I don't really see myself doing it forever.
Phew, that really was long. To lifeblogging: Friday night went to a cousin's birthday, Saturday did the usual computer maintenance, and left early for Church to help out with res-stocking the Church bookstore. I bought some books for ourselves. To be honest, I really haven't read that many books regarding the Church and my religion in general, but I really want to get started.
After Church we all went out to dinner at the Hog's Breath Cafe at Carindale. Something i'm getting really sick of is slack service at restaurants, especially at places where the food isn't exactly cheap. Most waiters and waitresses just seem like they can't be bothered. It makes me wonder if they should their wages halved and introduce a voluntary tipping system (not like in the USA where it's obligatory) to make them actually earn their money. Anywho, I wasn't feeling all that well at the time, so we went home a bit early.
Today I played football just after midday. We were playing a team that beat us 6-2 ealier in the season, and we were missing three of our usual players. We had enough players to play the game, but I wasn't expecting us to do too well.
In the end we actually did really well, playing a very defensive game and hitting them on the counter. Were 3-0 up just after half-time, but fell asleep towards the end of the game and rode out a 3-2 win. We took turns at goal-keeping in order to have a break from running, and for the second time in a row i didn't concede a goal in my goal-keeping stint, and actually made a few fine saves.
3 thoughts on “How I got into IT”
Aw, I remember when we were all fresh journalismites way back in the day and we all questioned why the hell we were doing that degree... And Cinda and I end up in PR and you in IT, so we're all where we wanna be!
Ah.. Red Room nachos and chicken wraps ... memories flooding back now!
ahhhh the memories. To be fair, the Red Room wasn't finished until our second year in. But i miss those Nachos and steak burgers... 🙁
so now you all know whats it's like for me then.
btw i dont think it's obligatory in the U.S., it's just that everyone seems to do it and it's reached the point where all the waiters are expecting people to do it.