How I Started

I am writing this as a satisfied customer of Jen and Sean McCown’s DBA Roadmap*. They have included tracks describing how they got their start and it made me think it would be good to share my own story.

Our family got a Commodore 128 for Christmas in 1985 and I had been exposed to computers at school starting in 2nd or 3rd grade. In high school I took two semesters of real college classes on Digital Logic Design and Assembly Language. But I did not choose to study CS or MIS  in college. I got two degrees in Environmental Science and German.

In spite of this, I had jobs during college that set me up for a career in IT .  I spent each summer working at my dad’s company doing a lot of IT tasks under the title of “Clerical Specialist.” I worked in Tech Support for an ISP and as the web editor of my college newspaper. I also worked in the Geography department helping the State Climatologist. One of the things I had done was create an admittedly kludgy way of parsing the data from our rooftop weather station and putting it on the World Wide Web.

Based on those experiences I landed a job at  right out of college for a startup that presented weather data from proprietary hardware on the internet.  I moved to the suburbs of Washington, DC for that job and I am still here 17 summers later.  I was working for the help-desk but got involved in Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5 development after just a few months.

Since the company was just starting out, we had consultants who weren’t quite ready to give up their day jobs. These guys would come in and work for us after they had already finished 8 hours somewhere else. One of those consultants taught me the history of database systems and drilled into my head that the job of everyone involved with the database is to protect the data. He was also not at all shy about emailing book authors or picking up the phone to call someone from a forum who could help him with his issue.

* The DBA Roadmap is on sale this summer at 50% off using the Coupon Code Half2015