26 April 2010

The History of Computing c. 2030

With all the detail some of my computing courses go into about the history of computing, electrical engineering, and motherboard architecture, I find myself feeling badly for the future generations who will try to break into the Information Technology field. It's bad enough that I've got to hear about ENIAC, the 8088, and Pentium 2 SECC slots, but for those students of IT who are just in their toddler-hood now, I can't even imagine. It'll take two full semesters just to bring them up to speed: "Now back when Windows 18 only supported 200 Terabytes of DDR20 SRAM..."

And all that will be simply to make them current. It'll take years more for them to learn the new routers, switches, VPN applications, hardware, etc., that make up personal computing. Although, by that time, PC techs may all need to have some expertise with neurosurgery just to access components. We'll swap trade secrets and horror stories with surgery residents. "Oh, you think your last spinal reconnection surgery went badly, you should have seen the time when I had to upgrade this guy's hard drive and he almost bled to death!"

I'm at the cusp of taking my CompTIA A+ certification test, which I know no one out there is impressed by, but for me this will be the first tangible land mark of my new career direction. A firm anchor point from which I can proceed. With no job on the horizon, my second Associates degree a year away, and any other certifications in the remote near future, this will be something I can use to bolster my confidence for at least a month or two. As it stands, I have more acronyms floating around in my head than the average U.S. Army laptop. I've read two books of nearly 2000 pages on the subject of PC maintenance and repair, and answered hundreds of practice test questions. I'm 95% ready.

I've loved computers all my life, from the first Commodore 64 we got for an obscene amount of money, with her much-beloved 5 1/4 floppies which included such gems as Q*Bert and Boulderdash. To the Intel 486sx running Windows 3.1 shoddily piggybacked on top of DOS, to the PII running at a blazing 233MHz and Windows 95 (Oh the fond memories of playing Mechwarrior on dial-up). Now I have a chance to get into the field professionally. My ideal is to be with a small company or a medium-sized company with small to moderate IT needs as a Network Administrator. I'd like to run a system from inside each desktop all the way out to the firewall between us and the Internet.

It seems a long way off at this point, but the unemployment clock is ticking, so hopefully the job opening for me coincides with the running out of my benefits.

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