I (Kirk) get asked all the time, “How did you get into computers?” and, “How did you get the job you have?” First off, for any would be computer techs (a.k.a. Systems Engineer) I wouldn’t necessarily recommend following my path. In addition, much of the training and education has changed dramatically from when I started almost 15 years ago and so many more opportunities are available to people that were not when I started.
As a kid, I had always enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back together. Well, honestly, sometimes they didn’t get put back together, but I still learned a lot. I also was fascinated by video games – my family got Pong when it came out, then we got an Atari 400 computer. I also would make frequent trips to the city library to play on the Apple IIe’s that you could sign up to use. My parents signed me up for some summer classes programming in BASIC where I learned a little programming. I was around 10 years old at this time. I didn’t do much with computers after that for a while. I used them a little in High School and used LandCAD while at college. I also did some work study at the Universities Computer Lab and also ran a blueprint machine as another work study program. I didn’t even own a computer at this time. So after deciding that I would pursue a career in computers I went to work as a salesman at Computerland in Idaho Falls. I learned a lot while there and eventually worked my way up to being a tech. I also went back to college and took 2 years of C++ programming, but decided that I wanted to focus more on computer hardware and networking rather than programming and no college at that time was accredited in those fields. Unfortunately the company went out of business and I went to work for Microserv also in Idaho Falls. While there I completed my Novell certification and became a CNE (Certified Novell Engineer.) After almost 6 years with Microserv I left and went to work in Jackson Hole, WY for Compunet. I have been there for the last 5 years as the IT Manager and Senior Systems Engineer. Finally, I decided to open my own business and return to the area where I grew up and had many great clients. The best advice that I can give would be Systems Engineers is that if you are really interested in this field you will find the right path. Also, some words to live by that my grandfather told me when I was trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up are, “There is always room at the top!”