Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Can you remember what originally sparked your interest in IT? Was it the technology, or the pay? I look back on what created my passion for technology and IT.
There are two types of IT people: Those folks who are in IT for the career and gainful employment as part of life’s journey, and those who are in IT because it’s their natural calling and have chosen to build their career on their passion. I fall into the latter category.
An Early Career Choice
I didn’t stumble into IT as a career then – I chose it from an early age. It makes me laugh now as what I thought an IT career was all about is far different from the reality! I remember the first moment I saw a computer, and I fell in love! I was 10 years old and it was back in 1983. I was at school, probably in shorts. The machine that I gasped at (and bear in mind I am British) was something called a BBC Micro Model A, badged by the BBC organization, but made by Acorn. It must have cost my school a king’s ransom at the time (actually, not really – its list price was £235/$352!)
This machine isn’t beautiful – it won’t win any awards for aesthetics! But this was the first time I had seen a real computer; not just the ones on the movies. I was awe-struck.
The specs for this machine can be found here on wikipedia . By todays standards, it’s lame. You’ll find more computing power in a wristwatch. But hey, I can remember touching the keyboard and thinking I could do what those kids in the movies did (this was at the time where movies like ‘WarGames ‘ were out.)
It wasn’t long before a friend and I were typing in programs from books and enjoying the results. My first taste of programming had happened, and it was in BBC BASIC – the most advanced of its type at the time. I could create! I wasn’t great at art or music, so with the computer I could be really creative. I soon began writing my own programs and adapting them further. I remember spending hours and hours debugging code I’d written. I can also remember, with some embarrassment, some of the coding techniques I used. That’s bordering on geekiness . But as far as this goes, I am a geek.
This was the start of something important for me, and stemmed my career later in life. If it wasn’t for the pure passion and untethered creativity I enjoyed, I doubt I would have the same deep-seated interest in IT I have today.
Were you bitten by the technology bug at an early age? Maybe it wasn’t the BBC Micro for you – perhaps it was one of these handsome looking machines ?
Was I Lucky, or a Kid of My Time?
I wonder if kids today have those same opportunities? Do games consoles created an insurmountable barrier for most of them to assail? All they need to do is switch it on and insert a disk. Back then we had to know how a computer works to get it to play a game. You couldn’t even load a game without knowing a couple of instructions in BASIC. Sure, there were consoles too like the Atari and the Intellevision (I had one!) yet home computers were much more prolific as games systems than they are today.
I wonder how new kids get into IT from the same basis of passion and interest as me. Do they experience the spark early, as I did, and maybe you did? Perhaps I didn’t see it at the time but I consider myself lucky that I was around during the home computer revolution. It’s created a passion in me that will last a lifetime. The passion isn’t for the BBC Micro though, the passion is the belief that with computers, we can create the things of our dreams and imagination – anything is possible with technology and determination.
I’d got the bug . So through my school years I excelled at Computer Studies and Math – other subjects weren’t so great! At University, I took Computer Science and finished with a Bachelors Degree. And my career has been in IT ever since. All because of that BBC Micro!