Friday, December 05, 2008

How My Career Revisited Its Roots

I turned 29 this year, meaning I have been out of school and into my career for ten years now. I'm pretty happy with what I've accomplished so far, especially in the last two years. It is these last two years that have had some special meaning to me considering where I started.

Many people make decisions about their careers in high school, or in some cases, not until years later after much uncertainty and numerous changes in education paths. That's not necessarily a bad thing of course, and I think people should take as much time as they need to make sure they get it right.

In my case, however, events that happened much earlier in my life directed my path to where it is today. It was sometime around grade six, making me eleven or twelve years old, when I was introduced to computers for the first time; this one in particular:


My Apple IIc

This computer didn't always belong to me. My aunt and uncle bought it for my cousin when it was the latest and greatest machine, and I only inherited it years later when it was old technology but still a useful programming tool and a source of a lot of fun. I have kept this computer with me ever since, taking it out on rare occasions to re-live some of the memories and play a few old games. The machine itself is in perfect shape, complete with all peripherals, manuals, etc, and compares very well to the one in the Royal BC Museum. Only recently, and much to my disappointment, has it stopped working.

I remember when my Dad told me it was possible to enter instructions into a computer to tell it what to do. I was amazed and intrigued, and this was probably what sparked my interest in the whole thing to begin with. Later, my parents bought an Amiga 500 which I also did a lot of programming on and which I also still have.

My early software development continued right through to high school, winning me the "Computer Student of the Year" trophy in grade nine along the way. When I reached High School, I had already chosen my post-secondary school and program, and the type of career I would pursue. Many things have happened since then, some as I expected, others not at all expected, but my overall focus on computers and programming as a career has stayed constant.

Now, almost 20 years later, I find myself coming full circle, back to the source of my original interest. The company I work for deals almost exclusively with Apple computers, and I own a MacBook laptop and an iPhone, also made by Apple. It is very amusing to sit these pieces of equipment, old and new, beside each other, noting the identical logo but realizing that they are basically a generation apart.

To my parents, aunt, uncle, and cousin who gave me this fascinating start, thank you! Small beginnings have turned into a career which I greatly enjoy, a source of stability for my family and I, and will likely have far reaching effects for many years.

As for the Apple IIc, I will try to fix it someday if I can find the time for it. I will never get rid of it, definitely; a family relic, and an important part of my history.

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10 Smart Remarks:

Anonymous Mom H. said...

I really enjoyed reading this post and we are so glad that you are enjoying your career.

If I remember correctly the first computer in your classroom was in Grade 2. One summer you also took a kids computer course during summer vacation.

As far back as we can remember you were always interested in computers.

Lots of good memories with the Apple IIc. It was a great gift Dean passed on to you. You, Stephanie & Susanna along with Dad had some pretty fun times!

The Amiga 500 was so cool too.
We had alot of fun playing the games.

Winter Games and Summer Games!
Downhill Skiing, Speed Skating,
Cliff Diving, Log Rolling, Weight Lifting. We would have family competitions. So much fun!

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Sandi H said...

I remember bringing this computer home, it truely was the latest and greatest in its time.

I mostly remember playing games on it, but am sure I typed many assignments out on it as well. Playing games on it is a far cry from the color and graphics today, but we didn't know any different.

Glad it started you out on a successful path.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

I actually enjoyed the older games alot better than what they have to offer now.

Mr.Do was my favorite game to play on the Apple.

The Amiga offered so many FUN games...I wish I had an Amiga and all the games we played as kids...so my kids could play them!!

Enjoyed the post!

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Susanna said...

I remember a couple things I programmed on the Apple IIc were a few "choose your own adventure" games, and a program that would randomly pick an outfit for me to wear from my wardrobe. It was so fun!

Apple IIc had fun games too. I don't remember a lot of them, but I think there was a game where you had to make sandwiches with bread and stuff that falls down, but I can't remember the name of it.

7:54 AM  
Anonymous shelley said...

I remember playing 'Where in the world is Carmin Sandiego' on this computer! Lots of fun hours.

I didn't get my own computer until high school so this is where I leart most computer things first!

8:12 AM  
Anonymous e. said...

I sure do remember that Computer...it cost us $1600. A real sacrifice for us at that time ! I am sooo glad you have it Andrew ! I knew absolutely nothing about computers when we bought it for Dean. The only thing I could do was play Pac Man...and I wasn't even good at that. :)

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Rose said...

Glad to learn a little more about you! Rose

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Mr. H. said...

It's funny how an article like this can bring back so many fond memories.

Our family had really nice times with these early computers. There were great games back then like Aztec, Marble Madness, Eagle's Nest to name a few.

Playing games with and against each other is a lot of fun, but what can be learned from using computers lasts a lifetime as in your case.

Glad that things are going well for you!

7:39 AM  
Anonymous CA said...

Wow, thats pretty cool it worked that long!

1:39 PM  
Blogger Mac N' Toes said...

Cool post Andrew! I'm considering making the switch over to the Mac side...it's just that I deal in PC all day at work....I'm very intrigued by the new Mac Book Pro's though! That aluminum body and single glass button track pad! mmmm....

11:16 AM  

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