My earliest memories of computers are using my grandfather’s IBM PC at their house in Long Island. You loaded the Disk Operating System with one 5.25″ floppy disk, and then could load programs with the second. This would have been 1986-1989. You would get floppies full of freeware and shareware from PC magazines, and load those programs.
In 3rd grade, I remember using a Commodore 64 to program in LOGO and helping the teacher reboot and recover from errors.
In 4th and 5th grade I was exploring the worlds of early online computer services like CompuServe, BIXNet, Genie, and Prodigy.
By 6th or 7th grade I was using AOL, dialing in to local Bulletin Board Systems, racking up huge long-distance telephone bills, and programming role playing games in QBasic.
In 9th grade, I was on the Internet/World Wide Web in its earliest days, back in 1995. I had a webpage with a guest log that people from around the world signed. My website was mentioned in some Australian PC magazine.
In high school, I built my own computers and explored programming in C, Pascal, and even assembly. I would often assist older folks at my church with setting up and using their computers.
In my freshman year of college, I began working with Microsoft Office and databases in particular. I also created a personal webpage which I titled “my.space”, predating myspace.com by several years.
Around 2000-2001, I began a Cisco Certified Network Associate training course which lasted for 7 months and ended just as the dot-com boom crashed. I had planned to become a Jr. Network Engineer in New York City. Instead, I met my future boss.
In 2002 I became a full-time employee at Rutgers University, working in the information technology department. We had a LAN connection with 1MB/sec download speeds, probably 10x the speed of a home internet connection.
In 2006 I became an application developer and built a Learning Management System from scratch by building a user interface to interact with a database export from someone else’s LMS.
In 2007 I started a masters program in library and information science and took as many interface-focused classes as they offered. Here I discovered usability, human-computer interaction, and user experience.
In 2008 I became manager of an information technology department at Rutgers where we began the process of virtualizing our physical servers.
In 2010 I graduated from the masters program and started searching for jobs outside of the traditional information technology career.