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  • #2191200

    What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?


    by mlindvall ·

    I’m a soon to be graduate, year and half left, with a MIS degree and I’m trying to think of jobs that would be avaiable when I graduate. I was also thinking about what is a good place to start in a company to be able to move up within the company.

    So after looking at most of the people’s job description on TechRepublic I was wondering where everyone started off your career and if you moved up from your starting position or if you started where you wanted to be.


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    • #3073759

      Started where we wanted to be ?

      by tony hopkinson ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      Junior Support & Development Technician (Gopher)
      Now Senior Developer (Old Gopher)

      • #3073739

        Learn from basics

        by healer ·

        In reply to Started where we wanted to be ?

        Lots of people start as tester in the field where they want to be. Tester in software if he or she want to be a software developer or a tech support person.

        • #3073695

          I’ve met very few people who were any good

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Learn from basics

          who didn’t start at the bottom rung. If you start at the top, there’s no one to learn off. It would be embarrasing. The first step in learning is admitting you don’t know something. How can you afford to do that if you been parachuted in as a department head.
          People would start thinking you didn’t deserve the job.
          Got my start in IT as a superuser doing acceptance testing from the despatch department when a new IT system was being implemented.

        • #3121686


          by brewerjjb ·

          In reply to I’ve met very few people who were any good

          well truthfully i started cause we needed to redirect com ports on computers to lpt1 (lol old dos days) from there sheesh it goes all up hill! Understand i have a background in engineering i have had 4 computer classes in my entire life. yet i program in multiple languages and can fix or repair anything related to computers on any level.

          Starting with no real background i would suggest just getting a system and playing with it! learn what happens when you do something and go from there! (if on someone elses computer make sure you back up there data though lol!

        • #3145387

          Govt IT Specialist

          by kdrew225 ·

          In reply to Learn from basics

          IT Specialist (Application Software and Database Management)
          Sybase, SAS, .Net

      • #3072977

        At the Bottom

        by mjunderwood ·

        In reply to Started where we wanted to be ?

        Started in ’76 Running Jobs, Mounting Tapes (Reel to Reel) and printing output.
        Get your foot in the door somewhere / somehow and show them what you can do !

        • #3071295

          Spend half an hour a day

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to At the Bottom

          separating up a pile of fanfold prints on 11.5 music rule.
          Two boxes full of it everyday. Proof that you were someone in the management seems seemed to be directly related to how many trees died for you overnight.

    • #3073755

      where to start

      by mjd420nova ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      I started before most I work with were even
      born. I started in the Navy in 1968, repairing
      radios, cryptographic and radar jammer equipment.
      From there it was on to Field service and eventually computers and 1980.

    • #3073711

      Well after nearly 30 years

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      I’m still in the starting faze. Eventually one day I may get things right and be able to walk away completely from computers as a means of making money. But I don’t as yet see that happening.

      I was going to say I started and the bottom and learnt my trade but then I realized that I’m still learning. I actually started off in Electronics and eventually moved to mainframes where Electronic Engineers where all the rage at the time, but that area of the market no longer exists.

      Like Tony I to am nothing more than an Old Gopher I’m continually going for this or that. 😉

      Col ]:)

      • #3073694

        Once did an introductory piece on myself

        by tony hopkinson ·

        In reply to Well after nearly 30 years

        Started learning computing in 1977, expect death to interrupt my studies.
        Wrote that about three weeks ago.

        • #3073689

          Telephone dude USMC

          by njaneardude-30601088 ·

          In reply to Once did an introductory piece on myself

          I was a outside plant telephone cable guy and teelphone installer. One day driving a “Ditch Witch” (trenching machine) laying cable for a token ring cable backbone (circa 1994-ish) I asked someone “Hey, whats this for anyway” and he replied “So a computer in this building can send a message to a computer in that building”, I was amazed, had technology actually progressed this far?

          When I got out of the Marines I saw a job for CAT 5 installers, CAT 5, I know I had seen that stuff somewhere, I think I can do that. Phone interview “What do you know about Windows 95?” Oh, plenty (never seen it). Called the computer folks on base “Do you have Windows 95”, “Yes” So I go over and they give me a nickel tour, and I’m dizzy with all the dialogue. Get the job, doing moves, adds and changes and installs, work my way up the ladder.
          Small company gave me a chance to put me behind the mouse and keyboard more and went from job to job until I make really good money doing hardly any work.


        • #3073583

          I was paper shuffler

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Telephone dude USMC

          with an interest in computers working at a small manufacturing unit. My interest got me the start in IT (1987), not a qualification to my name then or now.
          There are those that are capable of learning and there are idiots who already know it all.

        • #3073676

          Bloody Brilliant Tony!!!!!!

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Once did an introductory piece on myself

          Can I use it? 😉

          Once when I worked for a Boss I went to a job and the Sys Admin told me that when he first meet me he thought that I was a know all Bar-steward but when he got to know me over the years he realized that I was was a Know All Bar-steward but the difference being that I did really know it all. Despite my protests that I certainly was no super computer tech he wouldn’t have any of it his response was that so far over 5 years or so he had not been able to ask a question that I couldn’t give him a fix for immediately well to him a 5 minute reply while I was thinking was immediate anyway. :^O

          I didn’t know weather to feel insulted or praised. 🙁

          Then things got really bad and I had people ringing me from all over AU asking questions I spent so much time on the phone that I didn’t actually see a new model for 3 weeks let alone get my hands dirty. Then Head Office started refereeing overseas calls to me as well that was when things got way out of hand I hated it being constantly on the spot so to speak. Even after I quit the company handed out my silent phone number to anyone that asked and treated me as an unpaid adviser. 🙂

          With the rate that technology is moving I think I’ve now forgotten more that I’m able to learn in the time that I have left.

          Col ]:)

        • #3073586

          Be my guest

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Bloody Brilliant Tony!!!!!!

          Feel sure I ‘borrowed’ it from somewhere anyway. Sounds like a Heinlein aphorism.

          Do people who use you as a resource instead of thinking about it for approximately 30 seconds really annoy you as well?

          The one I find really hard is someone asks you something and you don’t know the answer. So they shrug and leave it! Whereas we just have to spend some time finding out because we don’t like not knowing.

        • #3073353

          Worse yet

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Be my guest

          are the people that don’t LIKE the answer you gave them so they go talk to someone else that tells them the exact same thing.

          The users don’t seem to realize the geeks talk about them and we find it all out.

        • #3072648

          Reply To: What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

          by roblacy ·

          In reply to Worse yet

          Very well said.!

        • #3071345


          by ldyosng ·

          In reply to Worse yet

          The ones that stand behind you while you noodle around trying to figure it out, then wonder out loud if you know what you’re doing. I tell them I learned my stuff by breaking more computers they have and having to figuring out how to fix ’em. Some folks actually get quiet and start trying to learn something at that point. Others just yell help every time they accidentally change their own Outlook settings.

        • #3072776

          They nearly drive me insane

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Be my guest

          But that isn’t a hard thing to do either. I work with computers so by that very definition I’m Certifiable. 😉

          Currently I’m playing with some I Pod software as the guy who brought it has no idea and I constantly wondering how he gets into such a mess. I’m so interested in those things that I consider them a fashion icon rather than a piece of technology. Until this one I’d never really taken any interest in the things and while I still don’t like them at all I’m getting quite good at loading and programing them now. 🙁

          Latter today I’m delivering a PCMCIA TV/FM card so God only know what problems he will get himself into there. But at least I’m getting a lot more RAM into the thing so at least the NB will stand a chance of actually running something like right. :^O

          Col ]:)

        • #3072742

          totally agree!

          by tink! ·

          In reply to Be my guest

          Doesn’t matter if the person who asked doesn’t care if they ever find the answer, I’m always on it til I, myself, know.

        • #3071343

          You mean

          by ldyosng ·

          In reply to totally agree!

          It’s not just me! Are we all poster children for OCD, or what? I think that’s, by definition, what makes for a good geek. We’re too darned obsessive to quit before we find a solution.

    • #3073685

      In 1993…..

      by roger99a ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      I was working construction and just learning about computers. A local computer shop had installed the new 486DX2-80 in my computer but it wouldn’t function properly. Their star technician mis-diagnosed the problem but I later figured out it was a bad HDD controller. I was given a bench tech job making $6 an hour.

      Six years ago a couple of Microsoft exams got me an MCP and landed me a job as Network Administrator for a medium sized company that was just starting to build itself an IT department.

      Thinking back on it, I wasn’t really qualified for either job.

    • #3073555

      just starting myself

      by no look pass ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      having only finished my CS degree a year now. For me I am not concerned too much with upward mobility within this particular company as I am focused on trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible.

      • #3073270

        Reply To: What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

        by lelliott ·

        In reply to just starting myself

        i started as a help desk call center tech & now a net admin in a non profit company

      • #3072763

        Good move.

        by tony hopkinson ·

        In reply to just starting myself

        Whether you go or you change your mind and stay.

    • #3073516


      by x10nd ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      i was doing my studies back in 1997 as a web designer, i was offered a job before the completion as a web designer, then moved on to become a web developer after a year, learnt scripting languages by myself. then got to learn pki, digital certificates and the likes by 1999, then on to system admin of w2k, linux.


      • #3073474

        Cable puller

        by jrod86 ·

        In reply to began….

        I started as a cable puller because that was the only job I was qualified for after dropping out of a Network Admin program.

        I got interested in computers from the Army. A friend of mine could do anything with them, still can. It amazed me what was available, so a year or two after I got out of the Army I trained for a year and started working. I went from a cable puller to a Help Desk position. From there to Level II support. From there to more of a systems admin position for a small but demanding department. All that in 4 years…so I’m still pretty new at it myself.

    • #3073428

      No one starts where they want to be

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      unless they have very low expectations or work for daddy.

      You will have to find ANY job in the IT field to build up your resume first. Once your in a company it is easier to do a lateral transfer to the job you want than to get hired in off the streets.

      I started by teaching. What could possibly look better on a resume in IT than to say you TEACH computers? “Wow, you must know a lot”! ;\

      I then got hired in as a programmer for the Y2K rewrite. After that MASIVE task was done (2 years of programming) I started to take on the Administration tasks that the administrator either didn’t like to do or didn’t know how to do. After a while the system became mine as that admin had too much on their plate to do ANY of them well so she “let” me have systems/network. After a while, I added in security.

      I love these three areas, but it is hard as each one is a full time job to stay up on.

      Just remember, the way to advance is to find what no one else wants to do (the “crap” jobs) and take them on yourself. Do them very well. You will get ahead faster that way. If you try to do the jobs that others are already doing, they will feel threatened and geeks are very territorieal.

    • #3073410

      contract position

      by cweb ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      Installing new PC’s. The company I worked at had 3-4 vans and 2-3 people per van and we installed anywhere from 1-4 PC’s per person per day.
      They were configured by one team and delievered and installed by us.

    • #3073404

      Ah… 1967

      by dc guy ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      The IBM 360 was on the market; third-generation computing was here! There was an insatiable need for computer programmers. If you had a college degree in ANYTHING, absolutely ANYTHING, and could pass one of those aptitude tests where they ask you what’s the next number or word in this series and what would this pile of bricks look like from the back side, you were in.

      I just got my degree in accounting and was looking at a starting salary of $400 a month. The university guidance counselor told me, “I just got this flyer from the municipal government for a job called ‘EDP Trainee.’ I have no idea what that means but you’re qualified and it pays $625.”

      I ran down there, took the test, got the highest score they’d ever seen. The HR lady (they called it “personnel” in those days, we were still “persons” and not “resources” like toilet paper) wouldn’t let me leave her office, she dragged me down to the computing center, waited for the boss to show up, and he hired me on the spot.

      I spent two weeks in Cobol school, then started coding. My first program was never implemented. My second assignment was to make enhancements to a bread-and-butter application that was 3,000 lines long; that’s a lot of punched cards. It took half a day to get the cards back from the keypunchers, an hour to compile, then another round of keypunching to correct your own errors, and overnight for a turnaround from operations to test the changes. We had a lot of time to goof off in those days.

      I’m not sure that program ever went into production either. By then two years had passed and I’d received two pro-forma promotions and was making about $800. An absolute fortune when you could rent a really nice apartment for $200, buy a new Volvo for about $3000, fly from LA to San Francisco and back for $25, and go to a Creedence Clearwater concert for $7.50. My buddies who stayed in accounting were making $475.

      I was one of the few people who could understand assembler language, so I was transferred into the systems programming staff. I wrote a special-purpose operating system for a mainframe with 32K memory, yelled a lot at the vendor’s staff, and mostly helped programmers with their debugging.

      Eventually I became a supervisor of systems programmers–back before the PC revolution did away with the supervisor position and there were actually people around to help you get better at your job. Then a project manager, finally an organizational manager (much better job if you ask me, I’d rather deal with two programmers who hate their boss than with a project that’s six months late and a million dollars over budget), still in what was now called IT.

      Then I bailed out of civil service, something to do with being smothered by a quasi-socialistic system and surrounded by people who were there because it was the employer of last resort. Stepped out into the wonderful, empowering, fulfilling world of the private sector and got knocked down, kicked around, run over, and spit on about eight times. Did a lot of training, always my favorite part of the job.

      Still here, counting the years until retirement. I’ve done a lot of different stuff but it’s all IT.

    • #3073378

      How it all started….

      by m_a_r_k ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      My first job out of college was as a hardware developer for a defense contractor. Those were the good old days building missiles and radars and secret stuff I still can’t talk about. If I told you about some of the secret stuff I used to work on, I’d have to kill you.

      • #3073346

        Ah M_a_r_k, I knew

        by surflover ·

        In reply to How it all started….

        there was a connection… perhaps we were sppoks at the same time :^O… Like DC Guy, I started out with the MFs… but started with assembler writing systems software, and moved on to applications later on… you were building missiles, I was writing the TAQ and guidance systems for the missles, (in assembler)… I’ve forgotten all the top secret stuff by now… or maybe they brain wiped me on exit :^O… so no matter what I’d tell you, I wouldn’t have to kill you 🙂

        but I’ve been lucky, unlike DC guy… The private sector has been good to me (for the most part)…

        • #3073295

          Assembly language

          by m_a_r_k ·

          In reply to Ah M_a_r_k, I knew

          surfer, you started off with high-level languages. My first coding jobs were in microcode. I designed the hardware and created my own 80-something bit wide instruction set for the microsequencer. Somewhere along the way I had the misfortune to write signal processing code in assembly languge. Fast Fourier Transforms? Hell, I can’t even spell “FFT” much less write code to do one in assembly language. I did that for a few years and somehow I convinced my next employer that I was a C-programming expert. The rest is history.

    • #3073374

      After 4 years in the Marines …

      by too old for it ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      … doing avionics, I started testing missle guidance systems. HTen Iwas assistant QA manager at a transister manufacturer.

      Took a hiatus on a cattle ranch. Looking back, I should have either stayed with the Corps for 20 (30?) or the cattle ranch.

    • #3073355

      Seems like a lot of started in the Military

      by mickster269 ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      After leaving the Management side of the Restaraunt field…

      I started as a “System Analyst” in the US Army. Was taught “ADA” programming (my, wasn’t THAT usefull!). Part of my tasks was repair of the computers. I ended up spending most of my military career in schools !

      Once I got out of the military, I started working for a small company building computers for thier clients. We sold software , but in 1993 not everyone had a computer to run the software!

      Starting from the bottom rung is often the best way- not only do you learn the basics of your craft, but you also learn the basics of how that company is run. As you get more comfortable with both, you can add YOUR ideas and become a vauled member to your company.

      • #3073331

        Ada… a language withe a REAL future…

        by surflover ·

        In reply to Seems like a lot of started in the Military

        I had 2 “brushes” with Ada when I worked for the Dod… in the early 80’s I was the only OS guy for the Dod’s Remote Network Processor (basically a honeywell version of a PDP 11), and the Dod had contracted with someone to use this platform for the first Ada compiler… the machine had 32k ram, and a single CPU… can’t remember the speed (maybe M_a_r_k knows)… The compile was such a pig, it came on 2 custom build boards, had 4MB ram of its own (unheard of at the time), and I think 4 dedicated CPUs… I was stuck with trying to certify it :-(…

        The first program was about 15 or 20 lines, and included a “private” section, but all it did was go into a loop and display numbers from 1-100 on a crt…

        The first run at the compile ran for over 2 days and aborted with and “unknown error” :^O… every 3 0r 4 months I’d get 2 replacement boards to try, and during the year or so I played with it, it never compiled a program (wonder what Uncle was spending on that, eh?)

        then in 1990 I was asked to write a 2 week intro to ada class while working on a network project for the USAF… (I was the only person on staf that had ever written an Ada program, or knew anything about it… they asked me to move to the school and teach it, but I threatened to resign so they let go back to playing with the cool networking stuff :-)…

        I think Ada was the only language ever designed without any thought of a UI or performing I/O… I also did write a package of utilities that could act as an interface to dBase III/IV databases on PCs while I was there…

        • #3072905

          That reminds me …

          by mickster269 ·

          In reply to Ada… a language withe a REAL future…

          Hearing your problems with Ada makes me feel much better.

          When I was takeing my Ada programming class final at Fort Gordon, I earned a rather noble distinction. I had finished my lovely Ada program, and the Instructor took it to be compiled and subsequently run. It didn’t really run- it actually went into an infinite loop (sighs). This cause the whole school’s network to lock up- the only way they could fix it was by re-booting the machine running the compiling program.

          After the 4th … yes – FOURTH time of this scenario, I found the line of code that was causing the problem. It finally ran, and worked fine. Having had such problems, I was sure I had failed the course.

          Instead, the Instructor gave me a “A” for the course, in, that I was able to debug and fix the bad coding! So, I was the first student to pass the course with flying colors by writing a bugged program!

    • #3073303

      Tech support, where else? :-)

      by billbohlen@hallmarkchannl ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      I clawed my way into the IT industry in 1994 after having been a hobbyist since the Atari days. I started selling PC’s at Best Buy when the 486 was introduced and worked my way to the “in-store technician” position, where I would perform repairs and install modems, soundcards, video cards, those new-fangled CD-ROM drives, etc.. After that, I was a phone support agent for AT&T’s “WorldNet” dial-up internet service.
      Those jobs gave me the experience I needed to join the ranks of the help desk at a small company, where I was then able to take advantage of more training and certification which took me all the way to IT management.

      Then I decided management “wasn’t my bag baby” and found a nice position as a senior systems engineer.

    • #3073291

      My first so-called IT position

      by info ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      Heck, IT position? If you like working for SATAN! My boss: FIRE-RED hair (which takes the place of the hot place known as HELL) and an attitude that will make ANYONE feel like a mouse! Watch out for WHO you work directly for!

    • #3073283

      Not In IT…

      by firstpeter ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      I actually started on the road to IT outside of IT. I started on the Finance side of things, dabbled a little in Product/Marketing, and then moved into IT. The advantage of that is that, in a good company, that “business experience” is valuable.

      I’ll grant that there are companies out there that only care about IT experience, but those are the ones where IT and the rest of the business tend to be at odds. The IT organizations that look at a resume and give credit to someone that’s been on “the other side” are the ones that are MUCH better at partnering and are more effective at helping the business succeed.

      Plus I built a number of relationships with folks in the business that were able to see, first-hand, what I could do (I did a lot of “small” IT projects that IT wouldn’t touch – things like departmental databases, small applications, etc.) so not only do I have a place to go if I want to go back to non-IT, but they’re more inclined to trust my recommendations because they’ve seen me in action.

    • #3072860


      by mygetbiz ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      No one understood the tech manuals and I did so I became the trainer, then the fix it guru. This was way back in the pre-historic times of the IT industry.

      They didn’t even have degrees or certifications like they do today. You had to be a computer engineer, the Biz school wasn’t even in tune with IT yet.

    • #3072824

      Sales manager

      by oz_media ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      I started as a sales manager, after complaining about the computer network for a few weeks I was told that if I could improve the workflow, integrate software etc. to just go ahead and do it.

      I did, then I left.

      My next job was as a Business Development Manager, they too had network issues that I felt could be improved upon to make the workflow more seamless and effificent for the office. I was then reassigned as Network Admin (of course without losing my duties as BDM, funny how that happens).

      After a year, company paid for me to take the Novell learning cruise, wrote my CNE and MCNE, done deal.

      I had no intention of becoming a netadmin or gaining any certs, I had no INTEREST in it either. I had no experience, just a need for things to be changed and as they always say, if you want something done right, do it yourself.

      Needless to say, I now do not do any network admin duties, as I have finally freed myself from that nightmare I took a year off to do my own thing and now am back as a BDM for another company.

      I try not to plan too much, you will be wrong 99% of the time I find, I just take it day by day and do what I feel like doing as time goes on.

      My 5 and 10 year plans include personal goals but not work related goals as to what I will be doing, especially not who I will be working with, I get bored of working for other people too fast and find myself working for myself most of the time.

    • #3072796

      Reply To: What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      by tink! ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      Ok, I don’t have any of the fancy schooling many u guys do, but I started working in the officeplace as a temp when I was in High school. That’s where I learned I had a knack for computers and technology. I learned through experience, by problem solving.
      My big break came when I started for a travel agency that didn’t have any sort of IT dept. I was hired as an admin. asst., but soon they developed an IT dept for me. I was to make sure all the computers, printers, copiers etc. ran the way they were supposed to (including getting them thru y2K).
      Then the office moved to a new building. I really learned alot from that. I had to move all the computers, install a brand new phone system, install network jacks, phone jacks and eventually a new network system too. (mind you i’d never done this before).
      I’m no longer with that company, but presently in a same situation with my “new” company. Hired as office mgr/admin asst., but take care of all their IT.
      I have a talent for learning on the job, literally. New problems present new learning opps.
      I guess my success comes from working for companies that don’t have big IT depts, therefore I AM their IT!
      P.S. how many of u all are women?

      • #3072760

        That’s Tony with a Y

        by tony hopkinson ·

        In reply to Reply To: What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

        not Toni with an I.
        The gurls are all on the ‘Why are there no women in IT’ thread.

        • #3072753

          I figured u weren’t

          by tink! ·

          In reply to That’s Tony with a Y

          lol. I figured u weren’t a woman, Tony (with a Y)

          I was just curious cuz all the women I’ve worked with seemed tech inept. Or they could handle one machine, but everything else wouldn’t work for them.
          Oh, and they don’t like change. Once they get to know something, they don’t want it to change cuz it would mean learning it all over again. (‘Course I do know some men (husband) like that too.) =-)

        • #3072712

          Women can make good techs

          by mjd420nova ·

          In reply to I figured u weren’t

          But they do better software than hardware.

        • #3073213

          Women do seem to be better at software..but

          by shelli_2005 ·

          In reply to Women can make good techs

          I am a woman and have been in IT officially since 1999.
          Self taught hardware geek here actually.
          How I got started in IT..1995..
          After getting a home computer and going totally mad for it, I got “The Internet” wow…it was sooo cool!! I discovered mIRC and made some friends who talked about things like RAM,processors, drivers and networks.
          The more I learned the more I wanted to know. I picked their brains, read books and surfed the internet until I could setup my neighbors new computers (yes I knew how to actually rtfm and follow color coding..I was considered a pc goddess lol!) fix minor hardware probs, add modems and such and troubleshoot Windows problems.
          I still never even dreamed I would ever actually work with computers for MONEY tho..
          At that time I was working in a shop in the mall. I figured out the POS system was just a Windows based computer..I could fix it when it locked up or rebooted and I could even follow the menus back to the actual sales screens!wooooo!! I could fix the printers and fax machines when they went gradually everyone started calling me and not the help desk since I usually answered. I eventually got in trouble when the help desk people found out that I was helping people with their system problems and I got “written up” (I look back and dont blame them, I coulda really mucked something up I supposed).
          So I quit, took a couple of Microsoft classes and got my MCSE and CCNA.
          These got me in the IT professions door.. and a job in a medium sized company as a network admin.

        • #3071339

          Um, excuse me

          by ldyosng ·

          In reply to Women can make good techs

          Speaking as a certified aircraft mechanic, you better hope you’re wrong on that one!

        • #3073245

          I worked with some very good ones

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to I figured u weren’t

          and some very bad ones. %age wise I’d have to say the skill level was more in the fairer sex’s favour, generally they have to prove themselves a lot more often than we do.

        • #3073234

          It wasn’t my intention….

          by noemib ·

          In reply to I worked with some very good ones

          to enter the computer tech world.
          In 1983 I started working for a Chinese run company as an Accounts Recievable clerk. They had no IT department. Back then their “accounting software was DOS based and they decided to move to Windows for Workgroups. Low and behold no one could make head or tails of it and reading any manuals or reference books just baffled them even more, so it all got thrown on my desk.

          With no formal training, I tackled the project successfully and throughout the years I can proudly say that I have managed to stay afloat and in competition. I don’t have a degree, but my home looks like a geeks dream library come true! And you know what??? I LOVE IT!

        • #3071292

          I always wanted to do computers

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to It wasn’t my intention….

          No qualifications myself but a alot of effort and a useful break way back when.
          There’s more of us unqualified types about than we think.

        • #3071340


          by ldyosng ·

          In reply to That’s Tony with a Y

          “I got better . . . .”

      • #3073195

        No fancy school here either….

        by computer_chick ·

        In reply to Reply To: What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

        Joined the US Navy and got 2 months of “school” learning mainframes. Did that for 5 years and became a computer operator in the private sector. Got tired of doing shift work for 24/7 operations and went to “business” school, one of those 2 year places where you pay a lot of money and get a diploma, not a degree. However, it was worth it for the fact that I learned about pc applications like WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3.

        Got a job as an administrative assistant for the VP of a small family-owned company. They needed to upgrade their computer system and automate manufacturing and inventory processes at the same time, so I became their IT person aka the computer chick. I did everything dealing with computers and phones (thank god it didn’t include copiers)and learned the hardware side of pc’s by taking them apart and putting them back together.

        After leaving there and doing another 1 woman IT shop thing, I now work for local government in an IT shop with 6 people – all women. 3 are data entry/QA, 1 network admin, 1 boss and me – business systems analyst officially. Help desk, trainer, project manager, documentation writer, and much more – unofficially.

        I got Expert MOUS certs, but didn’t really have an interest in the network/hardware certs. I’ve thought about getting a degree, but I haven’t really decided what I want to be. Management doesn’t appeal to me because I don’t like whiners. Trainer/teacher is where I get the most satisfaction, so I’m leaning in that direction.

        My advice to the original poster – find out what you like to do best. Do you like managing people, teaching people, don’t like people at all and just want to deal with computers, whatever. Find the thing that makes you happy.

        On the women in IT question – yes, we are few, but we are just as capable and varied as the men. My boss is a cutting edge of technology kind of person and the network admin is of the don’t fix it if it ain’t broke mindset. I go with the flow, resisting change until it’s forced upon me and then I do what I have to do without too much kicking and screaming.

      • #3071341

        Sounds about right

        by ldyosng ·

        In reply to Reply To: What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

        Trial by fire. That’s how I’ve learned too, Tink. And yes, I am female. The deal was, something had to be done, and I was brave/foolish/niave enough to do it. And it’s FUN. I love solving puzzles.

      • #3057665

        dat’s wot I’m talkin’ ’bout

        by sonicbridge ·

        In reply to Reply To: What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

        Nor do they ever have big IT budgets, but they sure expect you to fix it or…… I’m also a pilot. I fly by the “seat of my pants” daily.

        • #3066009

          You must be in one of the better

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to dat’s wot I’m talkin’ ’bout

          Funded places where I’ve been all week we aren’t allowed pants of any kind even if we buy them ourselves. :^O

          Col ]:)

    • #3072711


      by brj1980 ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      In 2002 I Started as a level 1 tech intern in the I.T. department of the college I was attending. They only payed $7.75 p\hr. But they gave me experience with networking and Linux\Windows servers which was priceless. So after working for a year at $7.75 was well worth it.

    • #3072684

      Once I started….

      by mlayton ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      I couldn’t stop. Started as an Admin Asst in a department with no IT personnel. Found out I had a knack and lo these many years later (15 to be exact) I am managing a team of software developers. But in between moved up to Network Admin, to IT Manager, to IT Director for international telecom company, to security analyst, to whatever it took that meant I was still learning. If you are not learning something new every day, you ought to be dead. 🙂

    • #3072607

      once upon a time circa 1969

      by lancedixon ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      Melbourne Australia.
      Company, Herald & Weekly Times.
      Function, Programmer + Sys Op.
      Machines : IBM 1401/1440
      yes – the era of the 80 column punched card, flow charts, hand written Autocoder source decks then object decks, then data testing, then a ‘Live Run’. Average time for a certified ‘working’ program = about 6 months. Training was done at the local IBM service centre ( 2 weeks! ) then in the deep end. The computer room was air-conditioned ‘hallowed ground’ Entry was frowned upon. we finally moved to an IBM 360 system around 1972- what a long weird dream it’s been.

    • #3072594

      Work Study

      by psyjack ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      I got onto the student IT team at the college I attended while learning this computer stuff. I worked my way up from a peon to the manager of the 12 buildings on campus, plus dorms.

      4 years and a lot of headache medicine later, plus the extra time and money for certs, I knew I had chosen the right field when I got selected for the IT job of my dreams.

      The head of the IT department recommended me to one of his friends, and I was chosen to head the IT department for a medical billing company

    • #3072583

      My humble beginning and end

      by jardinier ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      About five years ago I started picking up computers at garage sales for about $AU 20, pulling them apart and tinkering with them.

      With limitless assistance from Patrick Li who owns a small computer business in my area, I eventually learnt to build and trouble-shoot the blighters.

      I registered a business name and sold refurbished computers and did a little tech support and tuition.

      Then I built my first website (no big deal as the hosting company provides Site Studio software which does most of the work).

      And then I built another, and another, and another, and ….

      These are all non-profit and published for my own satisfaction. I earn a crust as a gardener — the trade I have followed for 30 years.

      Now the technology has advanced so rapidly and the price come down so much that I will have to trash my stock of computers-waiting-to-be-refurbished.

      It has all been a lot of jolly fun, but publishing my own websites which cover my various fields of interest is a real buzz.

      I am not registered with any search engines, but frequently receive emails from people who have come across one or another of my websites in a general search.

      Hell, I wanted to check the spelling of a particular word in Hindu philosophy and my OWN website came up second from the top in Google.

    • #3072576

      My First Computer Job

      by hose1 ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      It was in 1983 working for a company called Mitex who installed computers in dental offices. The operating system was CPM and the computer was a Pertec PCC2000. It have two 8.5 inch floppys which one was for the O/S and the other of the dental billing application.

      If a dentist was really big, they could opt for the 10MB drive which was the size of a small refrig and the disk was the size of album LP enclosed in a plastic case. Every once in a while, if the disk was un readable, we would either stick it in the refrig or outside if it was cold.

      The read heads were the size of a quater on the end of a flat metal shaft operated by a very large magnet. Every once in a while, we had to adjust the head adjustment screws with an ocilloscope to get a cats eye pattern to indicate the heads were aligned.

      I’ll never for get when we purchased our first PC. It was a Pertec clone of an IBM XT at a cost of $4,000.00.

      All the printers were serial NEC spinwriters.

      I’ll never forget when I brought the PC home and showed my parents. We played hang man in black and white to the wee hours of the morning.

      Boy how things have changes since then. I am glad I was able to get into this industry during it’s early years. It is something that my kids will never experience. Who knows, in 25 years, what will our kids say about our technology.

      • #3072572

        Web Site Developer

        by rkuhn040172 ·

        In reply to My First Computer Job

        First IT job: worked for a company called IndyFood around the beginning of the dot com era.

        We developed a website where people could order food from just about any restaurant in Indianapolis and have it delivered to their home.

        Company went belly up within maybe a year and a half. But it was my foot in the door…my degree is in Marketing and not IT. But my interest is in IT.

    • #3073098

      Military a good place to start

      by kwells ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      Well, I left college to pursue real world experience, and I got that in the Air Force. I was in three years in an IT career field. I was able to finish my AAS in Information Systems Technology. Now I am out, enjoying civilian life, and finishing my Bachelors in June.

      I don’t think it as easy to get into the career field I was in now. The Air Force is down sizing, and my career field was among the most overmanned Air Force wide.

      They do offer a commissioned position similar to what I do. Perhaps you’d like to pursue a stint as a Communications Officer in the Air Force? The career is wide based, but very likely you will work for an Information Systems flight and get real world IT management experience.

    • #3073010

      Software Trainer

      by kattoon ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      I actually started at a Software Training company ordering manuals and scheduling classes. When my boss was on vacation, one of our trainers called in sick. We didn’t have another trainer to teach the class…and to make matters worse…I had already rescheduled this class 3 times. UGH..I did not want to face those people. I told them that I knew the software and I was familiar with the book and that I could go over it with them if they liked…rather than rescheduling the class. It worked out great, the class liked my teaching style (I made it up on the fly), they told my boss what I did and I was transitioned into a Full time trainer’s position.

      Long story short…because of software training and having to learn a lot of different software packages, I’m now working as an Apps Specialist working on any special projects that come my way. Intranet updates, database creation, photo manipulation, powerpoint presentations etc… I really love the diversity of my job. Each day poses new challenges! — Don’t be afraid to try something new!

    • #3072996

      My 1st IT Position

      by vlpresher ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      My first position was with SPRINT working in the Long Distance internal data center. My responsibilities included all aspects on layer one through layer 3 connectivity.

    • #3071421

      Started as a “PC Tech “

      by jmgarvin ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      I did grunt work of moving, setting up, and pulling cable.

      While it wasn’t a great job, it was a good learning experience and helped me understand that there is far more to IT than the “glamor” of the server room.

      • #3066011

        I could really do with a bit of that

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to Started as a “PC Tech “

        Type of non glamorous work right now. I’ve just spent the best part of a week fighting with one companies File Server which should have been a 30 minute job MAX! But because the darling little owners kids fitted a couple of extra SCSI HDD’s which I thought where part of a RAID ARRAY I’ve had quite a few problems. 😉

        But on the upside no one is claiming those 2 SCSI HDD’s so maybe I’ll just take them away with me to help cover the mental suffering. :^O

        Col ]:)

    • #3071356

      A tangled web

      by ldyosng ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      I started as assistant buyer for a ComputerLand store – because I knew one of the repair techs, and because I had inventory control experience. The owner was keeping the books by throwing register tapes and reciept books in a file drawer. I got some ledger paper and, using the calculator on my keychain, created an accounting system. He thought that was such a good idea that he bought a Fortune mini and some “intigrated” accouting software, and I had to install it, figure it out and key in the data. He went on to change systems every year, including a couple of POS systems. When I left there after 4 years, I had learned a lot. The rest, as they say is history. Every job has given me an opportunity to learn more software, and this last one required that I learn how to run a network as well. The disadvantage of working for a small company is also the advantage – you have to learn how to do everything yourself. Fun stuff!

    • #3057671

      Let me jog my memory

      by sonicbridge ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      US Army, 199th Personnel, Seoul, Korea, 1969. I was a Data Entry Clerk moonlighting as a Systems Operator/Analyst (Punch Card era)on a Univac based
      system. Separate hardware for CPU, Collator, Sorter, Printer… well you get the picture. Programming was done by jumper wire on huge pc boards about the size of half a door. What we can hold in the palm of our hand now is more powerful than what filled up an entire room then.

      I was a draftee so the choice to be in IT was made for me. I vacated the field for 10 years before being enticed once more.

      Have I dated myself?

    • #3057593

      When I bought a C-64

      by pammie ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      I bought a C-64 and learned to program on it & learned the basics of hardware (1984) – I was 18 at the time. Imagine my joy when I got my first real PC (a generic 386) with an actual harddrive & MS DOS (1987). During that same time, while I was working on my Computer Science degree, I worked at a data processing center as a computer operator, then as a programmer (BASIC). I then took a 13 year break as a housewife, then got rid of my boring engineer husband (he hated anything computer), and went back into IT. Starting as software tester, then a tech writer, some desktop support, now an Access database developer (most recent degree is in Oracle DB Development). I’d like to go back into tech writing, or into web development, or a combination.

    • #3069378

      Reply To: What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      by trader919 ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      Started in data processing. Then I got a computer and liked taking it apart and “playing” with it. So I had my job send me to training to join their newly created help desk department. So my first real tech job was “Help desk” I guess.
      And I’m still working to get where I want to be.

    • #3125440

      Started as a volunteer

      by ian lewis ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      I am now System Administrator at the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF) in the UK. Back in 2003 I was looking for a change in direction and when I thought long and hard I knew I wanted to work with computers and people.

      There was an opportunity for an IT volunteer at the DLF which I took. Everything went well and after about 9 months they took me on part time and later full time.

      The job and responsibilities expanded from IT Support Officer to System Administrator.

      I put my success down to amazing support from my colleagues, the desire to learn and never turning down a challenge. I’m also lucky that my background has been quite diverse so I can bring lots of well tested skills to the organisation.

    • #3145202

      Computer Tech for CPA firm

      by mr.wiz ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      I started out as a Computer Technician for a CPA firm. That meant desktop support for people who should’ve learned Excel in college and changing lots and lots of toner cartridges and paper during tax season.

    • #3145137

      A stock control clerk – where else could you start :p

      by deadly ernest ·

      In reply to What was everyone’s first job that started your IT career?

      My first job in IT was as the stock control clerk and storeman in a third party computer mainframe maintenance company in 1979. Learnt a lot pulling bits out of used computers for the techs to use. Then when it came time to automate out stock records I got involved with the guy writing the program – learnt a lot about hey the hardware works in doing that. Then I started looking after my own computer and things progressed from there. Officially, it was hobby work until the mid 1990’s.

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